Rally highlights impacts of low pay for those working with individuals with intellectual, developmental disabilities

SYRACUSE — On Thursday, members of New York Disability Advocates, Access CNY, the Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York, and the Arc Chapters of New York, Onondaga, Oneida-Lewis and Madison-Cortland held a rally to address the state’s workforce crisis of direct service professionals.

Direct service professionals provide critical life support and services to more than 140,000 New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including thousands in the central New York region, the advocates said. Joining the groups were state Sen. John Mannion, D-50, Geddes; Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter, D-128, Syracuse; Assemblyman Al Stirpe, D-127, North Syracuse, as well as direct support professionals, self-advocates, and parents.

“We must take drastic action now to recruit and retain more direct service professionals because the workforce crisis is dire and getting worse,” Mannion said. “While we need Washington to act, I am totally committed to building support with our new governor and my legislative colleagues to finally commit the resources necessary to deliver a decent wage and benefits for those seeking a career working with” those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

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