Governor Shapiro Announces Data Update for DSP Week

Today, Governor Josh Shapiro announced that he has directed the Department of Human Services to update the data used in the rate setting process.  We are grateful for the Governor’s commitment to DSPs.  Earlier this month, PAR joined our partner associations in sending a letter to request an immediate update to the data used for the rates.  The current rates went into effect in January of 2022, meaning the latest that new rates would go into effect would have been January of 2025.  There is no timetable for when new rates would become effective, and we will continue to provide updates during this process. 

Please consider sending a letter below, and sharing the appropriate links with DSPs and other members as well.  Thank you for your efforts over the past year, this is certainly a result of our continued advocacy. Together we can continue to achieve higher wages for DSPs while improving the system, and most importantly the lives of those you support.  

Please send the Governor a thank you for his recognition of DSP week and for his announcement today.  Follow the links below and take 5 minutes to say thank you!

Here is a link for DSPs to send a thank you!

Here is a link for others to send a thank you!

Let’s get as many people to thank the Governor for his support!

Bob Casey proposed Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act to phase out sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities.

Many adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities will be displaced from work if this bill is passed.  To be clear, Prospectus Berco fully supports the individual’s right to realize their full potential and to seek competitive employment. In fact, Prospectus Berco embraces the Employment First initiative and has an Employment program to assist individuals in obtaining and maintaining gainful employment in the community. However, it is unrealistic to assume that all individuals with disabilities are the same and need the same type of support; not everyone will be successful in obtaining competitive employment. 14C programs offer individuals an alternative for meaningful work in an environment that supports them.  It is our position that it should be the person’s right to choose the employment program that matches their ability and fosters an environment for growth and development. By eliminating 14C programs, people with disabilities will no longer have the right to choose a program that supports them in being employed.  Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities should have the right to choose a workplace that provides them with a safe environment and the accommodations they need to be successful.

Let’s unpack the myths of 14C programs; for example,  did you know that individuals can earn above minimum wage and work in community settings?

Information provided by Coalition for the Preservation of Employment Choice

Learn more about Senator Bob Casey’s TCIEA proposal here

Vocational Program
  • The Vocational Program is looking to connect businesses with talent based on the unique needs of the company and the worker(s) with a disability. Our program provides reliable, effective, and timely services whereby Vocational staff train and support workers on-site at the job.
  • Requirements include:
  • Minimum wage paid of $7.25
  • Only 3 to 5 production workers at the site
  • We are also interested in training production workers to become an employee of an off-site business. We can provide the training but ultimately the individual would become an employee.
  • We will also consider volunteer opportunities for the production workers to get out in the community and for obtaining additional job skills.
Adult Training Program
  • We are looking for more outside connections to fulfill life skill opportunities which would need to be during the week from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and within ½ hour distance of our facility.
  • Opportunities are geared toward relationship building with community members and in giving back to the community. Program participants have been active with Meals on Wheels, shopping for senior citizens with Berks Encore, working on activities at local churches, visiting senior centers, stocking shelves at ReStore etc.

If you have any ideas to share, please contact Jessica Penchard, Development & Public Relations Director, at 610-372-4637, ext. 103, or

PAR (Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources
for Autism and Intellectual Disability)

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PAR (Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources for Autism and Intellectual Disability) proudly represents provider organizations whose mission is to serve and support Pennsylvania’s children and adults with autism or intellectual disability. 2020 will mark our 50th year as the only statewide provider association in the Commonwealth with this exclusive focus.

PAR Members provide the full range of supports and services for individuals with Autism and Intellectual Disability in Pennsylvania. With a workforce of over 50,000 Pennsylvanians supporting tens of thousands of individuals and their families, the association promotes the highest standards of service through advocacy, information, training and education, and the resources provided by our members.

You can help to increase awareness about the importance of this industry by contacting your legislature and government officials. Visit  to stay current on issues and to provide you with the necessary talking points, tool kits and materials to be an advocate.

Currently, PAR has undergone a campaign to support legislation to increase wages for Direct Support Professionals (DSP) in order to attract better quality workers and to provide greater stability to the industry.

Pennsylvania is facing a DSP crisis and is in need of qualified caring individuals to provide 1:1 care for individuals with special needs. Because reimbursement rates to service providers are so low, many organizations are unable to offer competitive wages and full time status with benefits for DSP professionals.

Learn more at