The average starting salary for a DSP at DDI is $13.04. DSPs may serve as mentors, caregivers, friends, and teachers to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) is building a nationwide coalition to issue a petition to the US Office of Management and Budget, demanding that the office Establish a Direct Support Professional Standard Occupational Classification.
As Macbeth (2018) notes:
The code for a Certified Nursing Assistant is 31-1014. The code for a Home Health Aide is 31-1121. The code for a Personal Care Aide is 31-1122. But these six digits aren’t just numbers. These codes unlock endless information and very practical possibilities for those who have pursued that career. So how does this relate to Direct Support Professionals?
They don’t have one. They work anonymously.
These are Standard Occupational Classifications (SOC) that are designated by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
With the insight gathered through a SOC, governmental agencies, individual organizations, and everyday citizens can uncover otherwise unavailable information about that occupation. How do wages compare with similar industries? Where are employment trends heading in the future? How are external issues impacting employees?
The answers to these questions will impact your work, your career, and the quality of lives for people you support.
As Direct Support Professionals face increasing demands and piling job responsibilities – despite inadequate wages and insufficient recognition – they need acknowledgement at the federal level to make dramatic change for their workforce.
This SOC can be used to set reimbursement rates for services that compensate Direct Support Professionals, improve data analysis for issues like workforce shortages, and demonstrate the contributions of the occupation (Direct Support Professionals Don’t Have One. They Work Anonymously, n.p.).
Please join us and sign the petition to establish a Direct Support Professional Standard Occupational Classification.