FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 19, 2022
Springbrook Announces Organization-wide Salary Increases and Incentives
Oneonta, NY: Springbrook, a leading provider of supports for people with developmental disabilities, is pleased to announce a $4,160 base wage increase for all current employees, as well as $1,500 in COVID-related incentive payments for all current employees and new hires. Springbrook continues to make forward gains in providing for the community by offering regular wage increases, incentives, and promoting the wellbeing of everyone within the organization. CEO Patricia Kennedy praised the strength and dedication of all staff and expressed Springbrook’s commitment to their employees, despite lags in state funding, by saying that, “as a non-profit, Springbrook relies on funding from the state and has endeavored to make every available dollar work for our employees.” This year, in addition to historical increases, the organization has continued COVID-based incentives.
Wade Harman, chief financial officer of Springbrook, gave us a breakdown of the specifics of the organization’s historical increases, outlining that “for twelve consecutive years, Springbrook has increased wages; the organization has attempted to outpace the industry standard of wage and salary increases.” From 2010 through 2016, Springbrook increased wages by 3% each year. In 2017, increases were made to the starting wage for Direct Support Professionals to a level not reached by other organizations until 2019, with a further 6% increase the following year. In those same years, all other Springbrook employees received a 3% increase in wages. In 2020, Springbrook raised wages by another 3% and made COVID-related payments to all essential employees. By 2021, the organization had added $2 to DSPs wages, plus $1 more for weekend shifts; and again, all other employee wages were raised by 3%. Springbrook continues to follow this trend today with the newly announced wage increases.
COVID-19 brought hardship to many and continues to do so through the New Year. And while a countless number of dedicated staff have made it possible to continue providing services for those supported by the organization, the workforce of direct support staff, already at low levels, was further depleted by the pandemic. The statewide loss in the DSP workforce jumped to 25% in 2021, from 9% in 2017, putting further pressure on all staff. In addition to workforce shortages, non-profit organizations like Springbrook are bound to funding constraints and decreases in budgets implemented by the state. However, this year, the organization has worked to raise the starting wage for Springbrook DSPs, with the base rate now reaching $15-$22 per hour.
Springbrook has also offered COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to all current and new employees. New employees and current, fully vaccinated employees are eligible for $500 after completing their COVID-19 vaccine regimen (including boosters for those eligible). In April 2022, a COVID service thank-you payment of $1,000 will be paid to all full-time employees (pro-rated for part-time employees). Kennedy commented, “These incentives are in line with those that have come before and offer all staff the opportunity to take necessary steps in fighting for the health of those for whom, and with whom, they work, and we are grateful to them for that.”
In addition to financial incentives, Springbrook also announced a new payment system. The new system will allow employees access to their wages as they earn them or on the traditional biweekly pay schedule, giving them access to their pay on a schedule that works for their needs. The organization also provides employees the opportunity to go back to school with Springbrook Scholars. This program provides a tuition-free track and a tuition-reimbursement track. Whichever track an employee pursues, Springbrook will pay the tuition for employees interested in pursuing their bachelor’s or master’s degree or continuing their education on a part-time basis.
Kennedy summed up the organization’s mission and commitment to their employees with this statement: “For over ninety years, Springbrook has been a community-focused organization, with supports across New York State for the people who choose services provided by our organization, but also for the direct support professionals who work in these communities. Being community-focused has always meant working together for the health and happiness of those that the organization supports and for our staff. Remaining vibrant throughout COVID has taken a tremendous amount of work on every level, from maintenance staff to DSPs to assistant directors and beyond. We are beyond thrilled to be able to make these wage increases and incentives a reality for our employees!”
For more information and employment opportunities, visit the Springbrook website at: SpringbrookNY.org
This Situation Saturday, we share another heartfelt response from our awesome staff about what they are looking forward to in the new year. Haywood Edwards III, an Employment Specialist at Oak & Elm, gave an answer that made us sit up and take notice:
“A new year means new opportunities, new memories, new challenges, and a new year to take them on. I am grateful for so many things, and am proud how my family is still bravely fighting the battle against COVID. I am grateful to be employed for a company that cares about its employees and am blessed to be a part of an amazing team doing wonderful things!! I am very proud of the individuals I support through Supported Employment and am looking forward to assisting them throughout 2022.”
We are very grateful and lucky to have employees like Haywood!
Today we would like to recognize the Black Family Foundation for their generous support, which allowed Springbrook to hire our Early Child Access Coordinator, Jackie MacDavitt! Jackie joined Kids Unlimited Preschool in October and helps families to access appropriate special education services for their preschool-age children.
Jackie is our liaison between school districts and parents as they navigate the individual evaluation process with their child. This involves having the child meet with a psychologist and with a speech, physical, and/or occupational therapist depending on their needs. It is a complicated process and usually involves multiple meetings in different locations over several weeks.
Since Jackie came on board, she has streamlined the team’s scheduling so that more children can be evaluated. She also coordinates the clinical team’s reporting, which assures that the school district can respond in a timely manner to determine what services are appropriate to the child’s needs—these may include placement in a special education preschool such as Kids Unlimited, specific therapies, or other services. The result? Each week children are accessing evaluation services and their families are receiving assistance in finding appropriate supports to address their child’s developmental needs.
The Black Family Foundation trustees have provided grant support for Kids Unlimited Preschool and other Springbrook programs for many years—even visiting in person to see them in action. We are fortunate to have partners like this who share our mission! Thank you!
This #WellnessWednesday, Wednesday, January 19, 2022, every household in the U.S. will be is eligible to order four (4) FREE at-home rapid COVID-19 tests. Per the federal website, the tests are completely free of charge, there are no shipping costs, and you don’t need to enter a credit card number. Visit covidtests.gov to request yours! Be sure to like and share this post so that as many people as possible can access these essential tests. Be well!
We’re taking a moment to shine a spotlight on the newest addition to Springbrook’s fundraising team: Jamey D’Ambrosio. Most recently a database manager for the Friends of Bassett, with prior experience as a direct care professional, Jamey brings a breadth of knowledge and passion to her new position as our Development Manager. From the age of 15 she has volunteered and advocated for people with disabilities, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to the same values and purpose that guide Springbrook. We’re grateful to employees like Jamey who share their time and talents with our community!