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

Tennessee West
2021 Direct Support Workforce State Overview

Organization Characteristics

92% of services are provided in the West, 5% in the East region, and 3% in the Middle region. Services are provided in 44 service sites, including 69% family or individual homes, 19% agency or facility sites, 4% job sites, and 9% other sites. 4179 people received services, and 4777 Caregivers/Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), 220 Frontline Supervisors (FLSs), 152 managers, 230 administrative, and 469 other employees than those previously listed were employed. Service types include 33% ECF CHOICES, 4% Vocational Rehabilitation, 20% DIDD Waiver, and 85% CHOICES (non ECF CHOICES).

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Employment

Of the 43 organizations who responded to employment types of caregivers/DSPs, 3% were on call or temporary employees, 62% were part-time, and 35% were full-time. 61% of caregivers/DSPs worked across more than one service type.

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Vacancy

The overall vacancy rate for caregivers/DSPs in 38 organizations was 21%. 22% of part-time positions and 25% of full-time positions were vacant.

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Turnover

Overall, there was 61% annual caregiver/DSP turnover in 37 organizations. Of those who left their positions in 2021, 58% of caregivers/DSPs left within 0-6 months of hire, and 27% within 6-12 months of hire. The top reasons caregivers/DSPs left their positions were as follows: 74% no call/no show, 55% found another job at another company, and 42% pay too low, needed better pay.

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Wages

42 organizations reported wage data. The hourly starting caregiver/DSP wage was $11.69, the average caregiver/DSP wage was $12.09, and the highest caregiver/DSP wage was $13.07. 16% of organizations paid caregivers/DSPs different wages across service types.

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Benefits

On average, 10% of caregivers/DSPs were enrolled in health care plans. 47% of organizations offered paid time off, 9% offered sick leave, 17% offered paid vacation, and 48% offered health insurance to all or some caregivers/DSPs.

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Overtime

A total of $1,117,812 hours of overtime were paid out to caregivers/DSPs in 2021 in 34 organizations in the West region, costing organizations a total of $7,046,695.

Frontline Supervisor Wages

Of the 32 organizations reporting, the average starting frontline supervisor (FLS) annual salary was $33,427. The average FLS annual salary was $35,617. The highest FLS annual salary was $45,030.

Frontline Supervisor Turnover

Overall, there was a 46% FLS turnover rate in 26 organizations reporting. Of those FLSs who left their positions in 2021, 27% of FLSs left within 0-6 months of hire, and 54% left within 6-12 months of hire.

Frontline Supervisor Vacancy

The overall vacancy rate for FLSs in 24 organizations who reported was 22%.

COVID-19 Experiences

In West Tennessee, of the 40 organizations who reported, COVID-19 experiences during 2021 included 13% closed due to government mandate. 10% of organizations furloughed or laid off staff, 25% of organizations eliminated staff positions, and 43% of organizations cut staff hours. 18% relocated staff to another setting and 5% of organizations had staff living in residences to slow COVID-19 spread. 28% of organizations listed another experience during the pandemic.

Of the 44 organizations reporting, 98% of organizations were short-staffed due to the pandemic in 2021 and 70% hired new staff due to the pandemic. Of those new staff, 10% of organizations gave staff regular training, 83% reported additional COVID-19 training, and 7% reported that staff received no training at all.

In 42 organizations, 71% 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, 30% gave a $0.01-$1.00 per hour bonus, 17% gave a $1.01-$2.00 per hour bonus, 20% gave a $2.01-$3.00 per hour bonus, 10% gave a $3.01+ per hour bonus, and 23% gave a lump sum bonus. 32% of organizations report that there is an end date for the wage increase.