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Dear Editor:

Nationally, there is a shortage of Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). These are the frontline staff working day to day with the elderly and the disabled. The Bureau of Labor & Statistics reports that by 2026, there will be 7.8 million DSP openings.

Having a highly-qualified and stable workforce will be essential in keeping people healthy and safe. People who require assistance with personal care needs, have communication barriers or need assistance with other daily living skills make them vulnerable and more likely to be abused in comparison to the rest of the population. We should encourage our younger generations to consider this as a career path for the future. Compassion, kindness and empathy are not traits that can be automated.

The week of Sept. 8, is nationally recognized as Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week. At The Arc of Cumberland & Perry Counties (CPARC), our DSPs support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to increase their independence, help them gain employment and live a fully included life in our community. Shortage of staff means our DSPs are working excessive hours which comes at great personal sacrifice.

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The CPARC Board of Directors, leadership team and I would like to thank our DSPs for their commitment to our mission of empowering, inspiring and educating people with intellectual disabilities.

Anne M. Couldridge

Executive Director of CPARC

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