State Recruitment Initiatives
State Loan Forgiveness Efforts
Increasingly, states are considering loan forgiveness or tuition reimbursement plans to attract qualified SLPs. Maryland passed legislation in 2005 that requires the state Higher Education Commission to award Economic Development Grants to eligible SLP applicants. Wyoming passed legislation in 2006 ensuring that SLPs and other health care providers would be eligible for loan repayment of up to $10,000 per year. See Act 25 [PDF] for more information.
Other State Financial Initiatives
See ASHA's Salary Supplement Legislative Success Chart [PDF] to learn more about the 10 states which currently offer a statewide salary supplement for certified SLPs working in education settings.
The state of Connecticut provides incentives including a Teachers' Mortgage Assistance Program [PDF] and rehiring of retired SLPs. Contact Vernice Jury at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has awarded a total of $10 million over the past four-years to fund the state-wide Ohio Master's Network Initiatives in Education (OMNIE) project. The project has several components including providing distance learning post-baccalaureate courses and graduate programs, tuition reimbursement for a commitment to school-based employment, graduate intern program with financial support, sign-on bonuses, other financial incentives to graduate students, use of telepractice and telesupervision pilot programs, high school and college recruitment activities, state guidelines to improve working conditions, and an expanded Web site of employment opportunities. For more information contact Nada Allender, OMNIE project coordinator at email@example.com or visit OMNIE's Web site. See The ASHA Leader online article " Ohio Adds $5 Million to Address Shortages."
The South Carolina Department of Education has implemented Project SLP-RRS: Speech-Language Pathologist Recruitment and Retention in Schools. The purpose of this project is to address the critical need for school-based speech-language pathologists in South Carolina. The initiatives include enhanced recruitment of SLPs who have a Master's degree from a state approved program through scholarship funding, and to increase retention through improved working conditions and financial incentives in the school setting. To read more about the rationale, goals and activities of Project SLP-RRS: Speech-Language Pathologist Recruitment and Retention in Schools [PDF]. Contact Susan Floyd at SWFloyd@sde.state.sc.us.
The Virginia State Department of Education (VDOE) offers financial incentives to recruit qualified speech-language pathologists to Virginia's public schools which include sign-on bonuses, tuition assistance and loan forgiveness. Some local school districts offer payment of ASHA dues, recognition of CCC-SLP, payment for continuing education workshops and conferences as well as relocation expenses and separate salary scales to attract speech-language pathologists. Contact Marie Ireland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
State Association Initiatives
In New York there have been a number of efforts underway to address personnel shortages. Some of the activities include: Regularly scheduled stakeholders meetings, working with the New York State Licensure Board to accept clinical supervision of clinical fellows towards licensure renewal requirements, expanding adult practicum sites, working with the upstate new York consortium to recruit bilingual students, and offering full scholarships to master's SLP students through the New York City Department of Education to work in New York City schools. For further information contact Cate Crowley at Crowley@tccolumbia.edu.
The Oregon Speech-Language-Hearing Association has established an ad hoc committee on shortages. The committee has reviewed literature on recruitment and retention of SLPs, published a survey on available distance education programs in the state, surveyed school districts to determine the extent of the shortage, and developed career fairs for SLPs at university training programs. It is also planning to develop a "grow your own" recruitment packet and foster a cooperative arrangement with Nova Southeastern University. For more information, contact John Tracy at email@example.com.
The Minnesota Speech-Language-Hearing Association has developed a six-part DVD to promote SLP practice in schools. It is intended for use at high school career fairs and in presentations to boards, regulatory agencies, and legislative committees. For more information, contact Meredith Boo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Under the 2006 and 2007 ASHA Focused Initiative for Personnel Issues in Health Care and Education, and in 2008 under the Strategic Pathway to Excellence, states were awarded an ASHA state association grant for maintenance of standards to address the personnel shortage issue in their state. The following states have been awarded grants: Alaska, Indiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, New York, Utah, and West Virginia. Other state associations have worked with ASHA staff to develop state action plans, and create state advisory groups that will help them develop long-range plans and collaborate with decision-makers around the state on the issue. Some examples of successful state advisory groups are below:
In Nevada, a Coalition on Addressing Personnel Shortages in Special Education and Related Services has been established by the Nevada State Speech-Language-Hearing Association. ASHA worked with Nevada to help establish the coalition. The Coalition's goal is to begin and sustain a statewide discussion among the representatives on the need for and value of recruiting and retaining highly qualified providers of special education, related services and early intervention services to children throughout Nevada. The Coalition is comprised of approximately 50 stakeholders, who include but are not limited to representatives from the Nevada Legislature, Nevada Department of Education, Nevada State Board of Education, Nevada Board of Examiners, State Special Education Advisors, University Department Chairs, State Education Association, School District Administrators, school district personnel, parent groups, private practitioners, and state and national associations. The Coalition has created a "Get the Word Out" campaign focusing on recruiting middle school, high school and college students into one of the seven identified professional areas in need of future employment in Nevada school districts and early intervention programs to meet their personnel demands in various special education positions.
The Vermont Coalition to address personnel shortages in speech-language pathology met between 9/26/06 and 10/10/07 to define causes of the shortage, prioritize strategies, and begin to implement solutions. Committees focused on the following strategies: increasing the annual number of Masters level SLP graduates from Vermont programs; improving effective/efficient use of SLPs, and improving recruitment/retention efforts.
An additional resource developed through the ASHA Focused Initiatives and continued through ASHA's Strategic Pathway to Excellence, is the creation of a cadre of experts available to assist states with personnel shortage issues. Six ASHA members with knowledge and experience in state strategies related to personnel shortages were selected and paired with state associations. They are: Cherry Wright (Texas), Nancy Creaghead (Ohio), Tom Linear (North Dakota), Cate Crowley (New York), Nancy Alarcon (Washington), and Charlette Green (Georgia). These ASHA members have agreed to serve as a resource for states addressing personnel shortages.
For a complete listing of state initiatives and resources developed under the Focused Initiatives and currently under the Strategic Pathway to Excellence contact Eileen Crowe at email@example.com or contact your state association president.
In 2007, ASHA's state advocacy team received approval from the Board of Directors to develop a state outreach initiative. The model, designed to increase communication and collaboration between ASHA and recognized state speech-language-hearing associations (SSLHA), divided the country into 4 regions; the northeast, south, central/midwest, and west. Assigned liaisons from the state advocacy team communicate regularly with state association leaders providing information, resources, and onsite support on legislative, regulatory, and state administrative issues. For more information contact Janet Deppe, ASHA's Director of State Advocacy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
** The State Action Toolkit for Use by Qualified Personnel for Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology Services provides an overview of the issue regarding qualified personnel, data to frame the issue, approaches to resolving the issue and additional resources.