News Council President writes article on human services workforce crisis for National Council on Nonprofits

The National Council on Nonprofits published an article on Tuesday by Providers’ Council President/CEO Michael Weekes, in which Weekes emphasized the need for more human services workers as the sector continues to experience severe staffing shortages.

Weekes described how unfairly low wages have fueled the crisis, and noted that the Council and The Collaborative have urged state legislators to use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support workforce recruitment, retention and loan assistance.

“Workers in the community-based human services sector need higher salaries, commensurate with the essential work that they are doing, and right now, fixed contracts don’t allow employers to pay employees a livable wage more befitting their incredible mission of improving lives,” Weekes wrote.

He also highlighted how the consequences of having too few human services workers are far more dire than having too few retail or restaurant employees; a lack of workers at a take-out restaurant might mean a consumer has to wait longer to get their lobster roll or ice cream, Weekes wrote, but a lack of human services workers can put lives and families at risk if people urgently needing vital support cannot access essential services.

“If the helpers aren’t there to help, then essential care is delayed or even denied, compromising health and safety,” Weekes wrote. “We aren’t just saying it’s Help Wanted in our sector – it’s Help Needed.”

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