The Donahue Institute of the University of Massachusetts was commissioned by the Providers’ Council to provide a comprehensive analysis of the state of the human services workforce in Massachusetts and implications for the future, titled Help Wanted: The Future of the Human Services Workforce in Massachusetts. We are proud to present these findings to our friends, supporters and colleagues.
This report sheds light on the human services sector in two seemingly opposed ways: the industry’s strong economic impact on the Commonwealth and its communities; and the current and future workforce crisis facing human services. Workforce issues have led the Council’s agenda for reform. Our Board of Directors formed a Workforce Committee with the charge “to research, articulate and implement processes and procedures intended to assist member organizations in recruiting, developing and retaining employees.”
Some human services agencies report turnover rates as high as 60 percent for direct care staff. Anecdotal data show a concurrent increase for services coupled with a decline in potential staff; Massachusetts is one of few states with a population currently in decline, a trend that is expected to continue. This report is intended to ferret out the truth and/or misconceptions of the anecdotal data, and to provide a base from which all stakeholders can plan next steps and act accordingly.