The past year has redefined much of everyday life, including the notion of the essential worker. On Episode 3 of Where Policy Meets People, host Kristen Rantanen discusses one type of essential worker, the Direct Support Professionals or DSPs, the caring and committed people who support individuals with disabilities, who stayed on the job during the pandemic despite the risk.  Is it finally time that we elevate this workforce with the wages and prestige this critical job deserves? Are heroes worth more than $12.50 an hour?

Joseph MacBeth of the National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals discusses the opportunities to professionalize this work and PA State Representative Stephen Kinsey, a former DSP himself, talks about prioritizing public support for this workforce.  DSP Edward “Gee” Culmer reflects on a 20+ year career in the field and Clara Thompson of JEVS Human Services describes the challenges of finding and keeping the workforce needed for this important work.

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