The Utah Workforce Augmentation and Integration Taskforce (UWAIT) is a statewide project targeting the workforce for home and community services provided to the Utah’s citizens who are aging, have intellectual or developmental disabilities, and/or who have physical disabilities. The foundational components of this initiative include building a web-based training module that utilizes Utah’s web-based training and learner management system and gaining a better understanding of the adequacy of direct support professional (DSP) wages in Utah in the context of current provider rate structures, economic factors, and surrounding states. The goals of this project were to:

  • Understand the needed competencies of DSPs who work in community services.
  • Create a web-based module to pilot and use with providers.
  • Undertake a series of provider and family “roundtable” meetings hosted in cooperation with Utah’s Department of Workforce Services (UDWS) in order to convey to its disability and aging services providers and families best business practices for direct service workforce recruitment and retention.
  • Complete a wage study that reviews current DSW wages in Utah within the context of current rate structures, comparable industries, economic factors, and surrounding states.

The TA provided to Utah by the DSW Resource Center focused on 1) developing a web-based module and identifying additional competencies required of DSWs; 2) assisting in the development of content for provider roundtables to convey best business practices; and, 3) assisting with the wage study. The TA team:

  • Conducted statewide workshops for providers on the workforce situation and possible solutions.
  • Conducted a statewide workshop for individuals and families of individuals with disabilities on direct support workforce challenges and solutions.
  • Conducted data gathering and information sharing at statewide workshops and wrote up findings that identified participant priorities.
  • Met with advisory group members and presented the results of the workshop prioritization activities.
  • Conducted a literature review on training competencies for direct support workers. Wrote a white paper on training competencies and practices in supporting direct support workers.
  • Identified key elements of effective online training and wrote a brief on this topic.
  • Conducted focus groups with providers of services in four locations in the state and wrote up summary findings of these focus groups.
  • Provided “Find, Choose and Keep Good DSPs” workshop for individuals and families in Utah that self-direct services; this was done through the parent association.
  • Designed a statewide study on DSW workforce issues related to wages, recruitment, and turnover. The study includes a statewide survey of all providers of services in Utah that employ DSWs and a review of labor and economic indicator data. The report is still in progress.

The provider focus groups were productive in gleaning information about the workforce from that perspective. They also brought public attention to the issue via a newspaper article and made information available to the state agencies involved. Commitment to participate in the Utah DSW study was solidified at these meetings. The Utah DSW study will provide an independent look at the issues related to the DSW workforce issues in Utah. This information will be used by the provider organizations, family/self advocacy organizations, and the state for policy advocacy. The training with individuals and families that self-direct was well-received and as a result this curriculum is being used by the family support organization with families in this state.

For More Information Contact:

Tonya Keller, RN
Director, Long Term Care Bureau
Division of Health Care Financing
Utah Department of Health
288 N. 1460 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84103
(801) 538-9136 (ph)
(801) 538-6412 (fx)

Chuck Broder
Program Administrator
Division of Services for People with Disabilities, Utah Dept. of Human Services

Tammy Wood
Division of Services for People with Disabilities, Utah Dept. of Human Servcies

Created by: admin. Last Modification: Wednesday 25 of March, 2009 14:56:45 EDT by admin.

What's New?

The DSW Resource Center closed effective August 31, 2014. The site is being maintained as a static archive of resources through December 2014.

Please visit the CMS Workforce Page (external link) and visit our partners’ websites for additional information on or after December 31, 2014.

Check out the Winter 2014 edition of the DSW Resource Center newslettter!

The DSW Resource Center has published a White Paper summarizing this summer's webinar series.

The US Department of Labor (external link) announced a new rule to the Fair Labor and Standards Act which focuses on guaranteeing minimum wage and overtime for home care workers including those in the Direct Service Workforce. This rule will go into effect January 1, 2015. The DSW Resource Center created a Home Care Rule Page with information and resources related to this announcement.

We released two new Starter Kits for NWD/SEP Systems including ADRCS. Starter Kit for No Wrong Door/ Single Entry Point Systems Working to Strengthen the Home and Community-Based Direct Service Workforce and Starter Kit for NWD/SEPs: Design Considerations for Publicly-Funded Matching Service Registries for Home and Community Services.

We published Coverage of Direct Service Workforce Continuing Education and Training within Medicaid Policy and Rate Setting - A Toolkit which presents strategies and methods for covering the cost of continuing education and training for the DSW.
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