State Recruitment Initiatives
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. Mississippi instituted the Speech-Language Pathologists Loan Forgiveness Program in 2012 to help SLPs who plan to work in a Mississippi school to be eligible for loans to acquire a master's degree in the profession. Texas passed legislation in 2013 to provide repayment assistance to SLPs and audiologists working in the schools.
See ASHA's Salary Supplement Legislative Success Chart [PDF], under Increasing Salaries in the Schools, to learn more about the 11 states, and the branches of the military, which currently offer salary supplements for certified SLPs working in education settings.
The state of Connecticut provides incentives including a Teacher's Mortgage Assistance Program. Contact the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) for more information.
Many school districts in Virginia offer 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 the 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
The Oregon Speech-Language-Hearing Association had an ad hoc committee on shortages. As a result of the work of this committee, more seats in training programs in the state have been added. Through a grant from ASHA, the shortage committee completed a recruitment and retention notebook for school districts in the state. Representatives from all school districts in the state that employ SLPs were given a copy of these materials. Through a cooperative relationship between the state association, the Oregon Department of Education, and Nova Southeastern University the Oregon Cohort was established. This is a hybrid program with faculty coming to the state for a long weekend at the beginning of each semester and the remainder of each course is delivered online. The Department of Education has established a $10,000 scholarship for those completing this program and working for a school district for 2–3 years (depending on the district) post receipt of the master's degree in SLP. For more information, contact John Tracy at email@example.com.
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.
ASHA's state advocacy team initiated a state outreach initiative to increase communication and collaboration between ASHA and recognized state speech-language-hearing associations. The team has 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.