Institute News

New report details human services workforce demographics

Panel featuring EOLWD Secretary Rosalin Acosta, Sen. Eric Lesser, nonprofit leaders to discuss findings, challenges and workforce solutions BOSTON

A new report from the Providers’ Council, the state’s largest association of community-based human services providers, shows that job growth in the human services industry in Massachusetts is outpacing overall job growth in the state by a rate of nearly 10 to 1, while employing the most diverse workforce.

The report – The Face of the Human Services Sector – produced in partnership with the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute and UMass Dartmouth, will be released on Wednesday, Dec. 5 in Boston, followed by a panel discussion featuring Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta, state Sen. Eric P. Lesser, report author Christina Citino of the Donahue Institute, North Suffolk Mental Health Association President and CEO Jackie K. Moore and AIDS Project Worcester Executive Director Michelle Smith.

“This will be a vital conversation about how we can support the professionals who are out there every day caring for our elderly, supporting our students, providing services to those with mental illness, and making all of us healthier and stronger as a result. I’m looking forward to joining the Providers’ Council forum and will continue to advocate for these workers’ needs at the State House,” said Sen. Lesser.

The Face of the Human Services Sector takes a deep dive into the composition of the human services workforce in Massachusetts and the key differences that set it apart from other industries in the Commonwealth, such as:

  • 80 percent are women – higher than health care (77 percent) and nearly double of all other industries combined (44 percent);
  • The sector is twice as likely to employ persons who identify as black/African American and 1.5 times as likely to employ Latinos; and
  • More than 7 percent of workers have a disability, compared to 4.6 percent in all other Mass. industries.

The report – the sixth such collaboration between the Donahue Institute, UMass Dartmouth and the Providers’ Council – shows that the community-based human services sector in Massachusetts now comprises nearly 180,000 jobs or 5 percent of the jobs in the state.

“In analyzing the report’s data, it reveals a changing demographic profile of our workforce that presents new challenges to our sector’s ability to acquire and develop talent for various positions,” said Providers’ Council
President and CEO Michael Weekes. “We are a sector of diversity and inclusion, not only in our members’ missions, but in the people who are carrying out those vital missions each day – women, people of color, millennials, immigrants and persons with disabilities.”
The event will be held at Suffolk University Law School

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