The State of America’s Direct Support Workforce Crisis 2022

The longstanding direct support workforce crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to closures of critically needed services and a denial of access to community-based supports.
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Connections - 04.29.21

GoodLife U: Class of 2021

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By Megan Todd, GoodLife Innovations

GoodLife U is excited to recognize the Class of 2020, its first graduating class, made up of more than 12 home- and community-based service providers who adopted and implemented GoodLife’s workforce schedule and pay strategies in 2020 and saw almost immediate impact. Explore the impact that the Class of 2020 experienced to learn more about these inspiring change-makers.

The GoodLife U research team has worked for over three decades on the development and use of innovative solutions for helping community service providers effectively manage direct labor cost, while providing best-practice support for a variety of dependent populations. “We’ve found that agencies who hold tightly to traditional approaches for scheduling and compensation often experience DSP instability,” says GoodLife’s President and CEO, Dr. Mike Strouse. “Now more than ever, agencies cannot afford any instability within the workforce.”

Labor costs are on the rise fueled by a rapidly shrinking DSP workforce, increases in functional minimum wages, and now the COVID-19 pandemic. “Organizations face turnover rates exceeding 50% and nation-wide reliance on part-time staff is excessive,” Strouse says. “Therefore, new considerations must be made for sustainability and organizations must urgently learn how to reduce the number of different people involved in care in order to make a difference in the lives of people we serve.”

These challenges are what inspired GoodLife Innovations to develop GoodLife U. GoodLife U’s solutions include innovative front/back schedules and premium pay strategies that powerfully and positively impact DSP wages, capacity to work extra, stability, consistency, overall costs, and more.

The results have been dramatic. In a nine-agency analysis where GoodLife U’s strategies were implemented, organizations experienced an average increase in the number of full-time staff from 69% to 92%. Part-time staff was decreased by 400%. Average pay went up about $1.20 per employee (not including any PTO savings, which could generate savings sufficient to add another 50 cents per hour). Additionally, GoodLife U schedules increased the capacity of DSPs to work extra (without additional overtime cost) to an additional 73,000 shifts per year while still allowing two days off each week per DSP. These gains were possible while keeping DSP payroll costs under control.

Given the overwhelming success of GoodLife U, we are now opening a limited number of seats for providers who would like to experience the additional capacity and stability facilitated by GoodLife U. The GoodLife U research team is looking for approximately 15-20 new community service providers to partner with in 2021. To learn more, contact Megan Todd at [email protected]; we look forward to partnering with like-minded community-based service providers to put more margin in your mission!