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Researchers present preliminary findings on state’s human services industry

During the 39th Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Provider’s Council on April 2, 2014, the UMass Donahue Institute previewed findings from a soon to be released report: Beyond Social Value, The Economic Impact of Human Services. Commissioned by the Provider’s Council, a statewide association representing hundreds of health and human services agencies, the report is a follow-up to the Help Wanted report released in 2006, which looked at the size of the human services industry and its impact on the Massachusetts economy.

Since 2003, the human services industry has experienced a significant growth rate of 47.9 percent, outpacing the expected growth of 37.5 percent between 2004 and 2014. The industry now accounts for five percent of the Commonwealth’s nearly 3 million jobs, with 80.9 percent of those positions filled by women.

The presentation highlighted additional characteristics of the human services workforce; including the fact the many of the jobs in this growing industry continue to be part-time and low wage. Nearly one-fifth of human services workers earn at or below 200 percent of poverty, compared to 11 percent of health care workers, and 13 percent of workers in all other industries.

Senior Research Manager Christina Citino of the Institute's Applied Research and Program Evaluation group and Dr. Michael Goodman of UMass Dartmouth co-presented these preliminary findings. Following the presentation, Ms. Citino and Dr. Goodman participated in a panel discussion about implications of the findings with Seven Hills Foundation President and CEO David Jordan and Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Michael Widmer.

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