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I love my job because it affords me the opportunity to serve our most vulnerable citizens and ensure they lead a fulfilling life with dignity, respect, and the best and most comprehensive care possible. Despite having an extensive work background across several industries in two states, I’ve never been so proud to go to work and have never been as fulfilled in my profession as I am, knowing I’m making a difference every single time I clock in.

But this means I’ve made sacrifices.

I still need to pick up every extra hour I can to make sure I can pay my rent while keeping food on the table and gas in my vehicle so I can get to work.

What this means is that more and more qualified staff are leaving the industry, forcing whoever remains to pick up the slack and stretching an already thinning workforce in search of higher-paying, less stressful employment. In other words, there’s no reason to keep being a direct support professional (DSP) when you can earn $3 to $4 more an hour to work at a dispensary or upwards of $9 more to be a bus driver.

DSPs are some of, if not the lowest paid yet most highly trained professionals in the medical field, and to continue to allow them (us) to be under-compensated for what the work entails does a disservice to those we entrust to take care of our sick, our elderly, and our children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, but also the clients we serve.

I love my job. I admire my colleagues and take pride in advocating for those without a voice. But in August my rent is going up.

Value the work. Raise the wage!

Please contact your local legislators to help prioritize budget decisions. You can participate in the Oregon Resource Association’s “Voter Voice” campaign with just a few clicks to send a pre-written email. Click here to send an email today!