National Core Indicators-Aging and Disabilities (NCI-AD) State of the Workforce in 2021 Pilot Report

Aug 1st, 2023

The service systems providing long-term services and supports (LTSS) to older adults and people with disabilities are currently struggling with challenges recruiting and retaining Direct Support Workers (DSWs). Without an adequate workforce providing support, people receiving services from these systems do not have the quality or continuity of supports they need to live and thrive in their homes. However, to date there is a gap in uniform data collection on the DSW workforce within states and across the nation.

The National Core Indicators-Aging and Disabilities (NCI-AD) State of the Workforce Survey aims to collect crucial indicators of stability and quality of the workforce such as turnover, length of employment, vacancy rates, and more. In addition, the survey collects data to describe the workforce and workforce circumstances, such as demographic information, information on the types of supports provided, wages, benefits, etc. Information collected through this effort is critical to understanding the true scope of the workforce crisis and to provide better a context to support state efforts to recruit and retain DSWs.

In 2022, National Core Indicators-Aging and Disabilities (NCI-AD) launched a pilot to test the NCI-AD State of the Workforce Survey (SotW), which was administered to provider agencies employing direct support workers (DSW) within the aging and disabilities LTSS sector. The survey was piloted with five participating states: Missouri, Washington, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Indiana. The goal of the pilot was to assess the feasibility of collecting this information and to finetune the survey instrument.

The pilot survey and analysis found that the NCI-AD State of the Workforce effort can reliably collect data from provider agencies on the DSW workforce supporting the AD population. Several lessons were learned from the pilot that will facilitate data collection in the future.


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