Employment and Community First CHOICES Workforce QuILTSS Initiative Survey 2021: Year Four Report

Tennessee East
2021 Direct Support Workforce State Overview

Organization Characteristics

95% of services are provided in the East region, 4% in the Middle region, and 1% in the West region. Services are provided in 1631 service sites, including 55% family or individual homes, 26% agency or facility sites, 15% job sites, and 4% other sites. 4016 people received services, and 3883 Caregivers/Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), 229 Frontline Supervisors (FLSs), 218 managers, 497 administrative, and 469 other employees than those previously listed were employed. Service types include 61% ECF CHOICES, 29% Vocational Rehabilitation, 56% DIDD Waiver, and 80% CHOICES (non ECF CHOICES).

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Employment

Of the 37 organizations who responded to employment types of caregivers/DSPs, 3% were on call or temporary employees, 29% were part-time, and 68% were full-time. 58% of caregivers/DSPs worked across more than one service type.

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Vacancy

The overall vacancy rate for caregivers/DSPs in 32 organizations was 22%. 24% of part-time positions and 23% of full-time positions were vacant.

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Turnover

Overall, there was 60% annual caregiver/DSP turnover in 31 organizations. Of those who left their positions in 2021, 57% of caregivers/DSPs left within 0-6 months of hire, and 20% within 6-12 months of hire. The top reasons caregivers/DSPs left their positions were as follows: 76% no call/no show, 54% found another job at another company, and 53% pay too low, needed better pay.

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Wages

39 organizations reported wage data. The hourly starting caregiver/DSP wage was $11.98, the average caregiver/DSP wage was $12.66, and the highest caregiver/DSP wage was $14.95. 15% of organizations paid caregivers/DSPs different wages across service types.

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Benefits

On average, 38% of caregivers/DSPs were enrolled in health care plans. 54% of organizations offered paid time off, 42% offered sick leave, 40% offered paid vacation, and 70% offered health insurance to all or some of their caregivers/DSPs.

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Overtime

A total of 1,282,498 hours of overtime were paid out to caregivers/DSPs in 2021 in 37 organizations in the East region, costing organizations a total of $8,678,158.

Frontline Supervisor Wages

Of the 35 organizations reporting, the average starting frontline supervisor (FLS) annual salary was $33,564. The average FLS annual salary was $36,559. The highest FLS annual salary was $42,192.

Frontline Supervisor Turnover

Overall, there was a 45% FLS turnover rate in 33 organizations reporting. Of those FLSs who left their positions in 2021, 33% of FLSs left within 0-6 months of hire, and 41% left within 6-12 months of hire.

Frontline Supervisor Vacancy

The overall vacancy rate for FLSs in 31 organizations who reported was 16%.

COVID-19 Experiences

In East Tennessee, of the 40 organizations who reported, COVID-19 experiences during 2021 included 20% closed due to government mandate. 5% of organizations furloughed or laid off staff, 5% of organizations eliminated staff positions, and 8% of organizations cut staff hours. 28% relocated staff to another setting and 18% of organizations had staff living in residences to slow COVID-19 spread. 20% of organizations listed another experience during the pandemic.

Of the 41 organizations reporting, 88% of organizations were short-staffed due to the pandemic in 2021 and 76% hired new staff due to the pandemic. Of those new staff, 10% of organizations gave staff regular training, 87% reported additional COVID-19 training, and 3% reported that staff received no training at all.

In 41 organizations, 44% reported that they gave a monetary bonus to all DSPs during 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those that gave DSPs a monetary bonus, 22% gave a $0.01-$1.00 per hour bonus, 39% gave a $1.01-$2.00 per hour bonus, 11% gave a $2.01-$3.00 per hour bonus, 6% gave a $3.01+ per hour bonus, and 22% gave a lump sum bonus. 47% of organizations report that there is an end date for the wage increase.