EP!C (a non-profit serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities) raised their pay rate for Direct Support Professionals (DSP’s) in the Peoria area recently to almost $11 per hour. The increase in wages came about through advocacy efforts by the Workforce Coalition which involve various statewide organizations including the network EP!C supports and a number of state legislators. The state legislature approved the increased pay rate for the FY18 State budget. The intent of the wage increase is to improve wages and/or benefits for DSP’s, compassionate caregivers who assist individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, in every aspect of their lives. DSP’s empower persons with challenges to live full, meaningful and active lives by encouraging independence, inclusion and individuality.
This state reimbursed increased rate went into effect in August 2017. Agencies like EP!C last received an increase in wages for DSP’s in 2008. “This rate increase is long overdue and important to everyone within our community,” stated Kim Cornwell, EP!C’s Chief Executive Officer. “We advocate for a living wage for DSP’s who dedicate their lives to ensuring the people they support live the lives they want, regardless of their challenges.”
“Though we are not where we’d like to be with this funding, we are happy that the state has taken a step forward in properly compensating our team,” said Cornwell. “This increase will also allow EP!C to be more competitive in the market in recruiting and retaining people who have a natural passion for helping others.”
EP!C is a community of families, staff, volunteers, and community members working together to support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families with unique educational, residential, employment, and care programs tailored to each individual’s abilities and needs. We began as a small, community-organized network of Peoria families in 1950 who took an innovative approach to disability by emphasizing ability over disability. We have since grown to serve more than 400 individuals of all levels of ability in Peoria and Tazewell counties from funding to finding the best program and service match.