Essential Human Service Workers Campaign

The Caring Force is leading a campaign to thank human service workers in Massachusetts, who are working to care for the vulnerable on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An Essential Caring Force Deserves Our Gratitude 

 

During this past year, we have seen a number of workforce sectors celebrated for their heroic and steadfast commitment to their respective professions.  One of the quiet but dependable and essential sectors that has had less publicity is our human service workforce.

In Massachusetts, workers in more than 180,000 human services jobs kept providing critical services throughout the pandemic, and cared for the most vulnerable of the Commonwealth’s residents, 24/7, no matter what.  Human service workers care for adults with substance use, mental health and developmental disabilities; they serve adolescents, veterans and domestic violence victims who need additional supports. They work in group home settings, outpatient clinics, food pantries, shelters and drop-in centers and even go into the homes of individuals and families who need extra support navigating life’s challenges. They help people to remain in the least restrictive, most independent settings possible, and they have long been undercompensated, in part because the general public is not aware of how essential these services are.  They are disproportionately women and people of color.

We are launching a two-stage campaign to thank human service workers and bring public awareness to this workforce, as well as to advance legislation that will improve compensation and benefits to these selfless and dedicated individuals.  Improved compensation will result in reduced turnover, more experienced staff on the frontlines of our industry, and eliminate the need for so many of our workers to have two full time jobs just to make ends meet. One job should be enough, especially when it is so important; there are lives in the balance.

Thanking human service workers and raising public awareness

Yard Signs

As a first step, we have created an eye-catching yard sign and distributed an order link to agencies. Costs are reasonable and the signs are high quality. We want to pepper the landscape to provide this visual “shout out” to our staff. This is a great way to fully engage your workforce, board and other stakeholders in thanking and recognizing human services workers across the Commonwealth while raising awareness of our sector.

Please reach out to Ravi Simon (rsimon@providers.org) if you would like to purchase lawn signs for your workers.

PSAs and “Caring Force Ambassadors”

Next, we will plan to create public service announcements that will provide information about the essential work done in our sector – see the attached campaign outline. We are asking for your help in identifying “Caring Force Ambassadors” – staff, clients, family members, board members and even celebrities who may have a connection to our sector – that you might approach and ask permission to share their contact information with us. We want to have all subsectors of the human services community represented, and we will ask ambassadors to share their personal stories about the human services sector and why it is critical to their life and our Commonwealth.

We also hope our “Caring Force Ambassadors” will testify with us at the State House in support of our fair pay for comparable work and student loan repayment legislation that we will file in January 2021. Please think about who you might approach to be a Caring Force Ambassador and if they agree, you can share their contact information with Ravi Simon (ravi@providers.org).

Media Contacts

Finally, we are seeking media contacts to help as we launch this campaign, especially if the contact has written about the human services sector and is familiar with your organization and/or issues. We need all the help we can get to secure earned media coverage. We are also willing to explore paid media coverage (e.g., TV and radio spots, newspaper or magazine ads, billboards, etc.). Please pass along any contacts you have and any innovative ideas to get the word out about our workforce and what we do.

Our workers on the front lines get the mission accomplished – day in and day out. They absolutely deserve recognition, respect and the designation of “Essential Workers.” Let’s do everything we can to put human services on the map and on the minds of every resident in the Commonwealth!

Legislative advocacy

To recognize human service workers beyond our gratitude, we will work vigorously to promote support of two bills. You can learn more about our two bills by clicking here

We will be seeking workers to submit written, video and in-person testimony about what these bills would mean for them.

We will hold a rally, if safe and consistent with public health guidelines, involving members of our workforce and speak to legislators and the public about the importance of these bills to our sector and to the people we care for.

We will cap off the campaign with a celebration of our workforce in a forum to be determined.

 

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