Penn-Mar raises hourly wage for support professionals

Penn-Mar Human Services, a nonprofit provider of services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs), will be raising the starting hourly wage for its Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) to $15.50.

Freeland, Maryland-based Penn-Mar offers supportive services such as career placement and independent living assistance to nearly 2,000 clients in southern York County and five counties in Maryland

The nonprofit announced last week that it will be raising the hourly wage for its DSPs by $2.50, bringing its starting wage from $13 to $15.50. The increase further strengthens the company’s wage over the state average of $10.72 per hour according to the National Association of Direct Support Professionals.

DSPs are specialized health care professionals who work with individuals with IDD to help them live independently through tasks such as personal care, cooking, cleaning and transportation.

Penn-Mar employs 502 full-time and part-time DSPs.

Compensation for DSPs is mostly dictated by state and federal funding, making it common for a DSPs wage to be low and difficult for organizations to retain, the company said in a press release.

“Not everyone is suited for this type of work and competition for talent in this industry is extremely high,” said Greg Miller, CEO of Penn-Mar. “But our mission is fundamentally tied to how many DSPs we have on staff and in order for us to succeed and grow as an organization, we need to attract and keep the best talent.”

Along with offering competitive pay, Penn-Mar also operates its Career Ladders program, a professional development plan meant to retain skilled employees by assisting them with credentialing, training and continued education.

Yanavitch named YCEA board chair

William T. Yanavitch II. (Photo: Submitted)

The York County Economic Alliance (YCEA) has appointed its leader for 2020, along with four new board members.

William T. Yanavitch II, chief human resources officer for York-based Kinsley Construction, was named chairperson of the Board of Directors at a recent meeting. Yanavitch also serves as chairman elect for the Cultural Alliance of York County, vice chairman for Penn-Mar Human Services and a director on Wellspan’s York Health Foundation Board.

Yanavitch will succeed Claire Forbush, vice president of commercial business banking with Pittsburgh-based FNB Bank. Forbush became the first ever female chair of the YCEA when she started her two-year term in 2018, and she will continue to serve on the board as immediate past chair

“I am honored and humbled to accept the role of chair for this dynamic organization focused on economic growth by leveraging collaboration, resources and expertise to create sustainable prosperity for York County residents,” Yanavitch said. “I’m following a wonderful leader in our past chairperson, and am grateful for her service.  I look forward to working with our strong YCEA team and board to advance our mission.”

Also joining the board as new members are: Abe Amorós, president of Amorós Communication; Taylor Groff, CEO of Groff North America; Bev Mackereth, Penn State Executive in Resident & Consultant; and York County Commissioner-elect Julie Wheeler.

Completing their board terms are: Doug Berman of RKL LLP (past chairperson); York County Commissioner Susan Byrnes; Joseph Clark, Esq. of The Stewart Companies; and Lynda Randall of New Level Advisors LLC.

New YCEA board members are (Top, l to r): Abe Amorós, president of Amorós Communication; Taylor Groff, CEO of Groff North America; Bev Mackereth, Penn State Executive in Resident & Consultant; and York County Commissioner-elect Julie Wheeler. (Photo: Submitted)

“We are honored to welcome this dynamic slate of leaders to our Board of Directors,” said Kevin Schreiber, president and CEO of the YCEA. “Each brings a unique perspective and set of talents to lead our organization in continuing to ‘Make Things Happen in YoCo,’ and our ‘Historically Edgy Downtown.’”

Penn-Mar expands with Maryland merger

A nonprofit provider of services for adults with developmental disabilities is growing its reach in Maryland via a merger with a similarly focused nonprofit.

Freeland, Maryland-based Penn-Mar Human Services expects to finalize an agreement with Change Inc., a smaller mental health service provider in Westminster, Maryland, next month.

Penn-Mar splits its resources between Pennsylvania and Maryland, serving approximately 250 individuals with developmental disabilities in each state. The nonprofit’s programs focus on helping people find work and provide in-home support to help them live independently.

Penn-Mar offers services in York County, as well as in Baltimore city and Carroll, Baltimore and Harford Counties in Maryland.

Change offers similar programs but focuses its efforts on Carroll County, Maryland, where it serves 160 people. Greg Miller, CEO of Penn-Mar, said a merger will strengthen two organizations that are similar in mission and services.

“It wasn’t that they had something we needed or we had something they needed,” Miller said. “We are flying in similar directions and … this was a way for us to be more cost-effective and mission-effective together.”

Change’s CEO, Mike Shriver, was CEO of Penn-Mar from 1984 to 2000. Shriver said that he and Miller stayed in contact over the years and have regularly discussed the future of the human-services industry.

Like Penn-Mar, Change offers personal support services and day services like community volunteering, aquatics and social enrichment to help its clients gain independence.

But Penn-Mar also operates 50 residential homes that allow its clients to live on their own. It has 24 homes in Maryland and 26 in Pennsylvania.

Change, on the other hand, does not offer residential space. Its clients live in their own homes or with family.

The organizations expected to be fully integrated within the next year. Change’s 120 employees will be employed by Penn-Mar, which employs 500 people. But the smaller nonprofit will operate under its current name for the foreseeable future, Miller said.

Both organizations receive some funding through Medicare and Medicaid – and they have been responding to regulatory changes calling for supporting people with developmental disabilities in a community environment instead of offering support in locations closed off from other people.

Changes at Penn-Mar include having its clients use public gyms like YMCAs and other services offered by their communities instead of private gyms operated by Penn-Mar.

“If the opportunity exists in the community, let’s get them into that type of program as opposed to bringing them in-house,” Miller said.


Penn-Mar names COO to oversee Pa., Md. operations

Jackie Steven. (Photo: Submitted)

Penn-Mar Human Services has promoted Jackie Stevens to the position of COO overseeing programs and services in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Stevens previously was COO for Pennsylvania, according to a news release.

The promotion is part of a move to consolidate the COO positions in Maryland and Pennsylvania and streamline resources across the two states, according to the release.

Stevens joined Penn-Mar in 1993 and has served as a support professional at a group home, residential program manager for Pennsylvania and Maryland homes, day program rehabilitation specialist, administrator of Pennsylvania programs and director of Pennsylvania programs, including vocational and day services, supported employment and residential services.

“Stevens brings to her new role a track record of successful and innovative leadership with the organization and a deep passion to transform life into living for the men and women we support, Gregory Miller, Penn-Mar president and CEO, said in the release.

Stevens has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Juniata College and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

A representative from Penn-Mar could not be reached for comment.

Freeland, Maryland based-Penn-Mar Human Services was founded in 1981 by a group of families from Maryland and Pennsylvania who were concerned about the future of their children with intellectual disabilities.

The nonprofit assists individuals with disabilities in developing life skills, identifies their talents to match them with appropriate jobs, and if necessary, provides a home.

The program works with individuals and families on both sides of the Maryland-Pennsylvania line and serves more than 400 adults with intellectual disabilities.

York County is the only Pennsylvania county that Penn-Mar serves. A total of 169 York County residents use its services and fifty-two workers and 33 employees are enrolled in its employment program.