Heading to Utica today to meet with advocates!

Nice work Kim Zoller for this story in the Daily Herald.


 Caregivers are leaving their jobs for higher pay in fast food, retail

Kerry Lester


Some Ray Graham Association workers in DuPage County are leaving their posts for higher-paying jobs in fast food or big box stores as the clock is ticking on GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign or veto a bill raising pay for caregivers for those with disabilities. Workers statewide average $9.35 an hour.

President and CEO Kim Zoeller recalls an email she got the other day highlighting the placement of a disabled resident in a part-time job. “I’m so excited for this, but check out this wage,” the email read. It was higher than the email’s sender — the employment specialist.

Zoeller says 50 of Ray Graham’s 300 or so caregiver positions are open and the agency is experiencing higher turnover than ever. With those gaps, she says, the agency no longer is able to devote time to take residents into the community for such things as going to church or grocery shopping. Ray Graham serves 2,000 disabled children and adults in the suburbs and operates 23 group residential homes.

Falling behind

Illinois last increased reimbursement for such nonprofits in 2008. Efforts to increase reimbursements have fallen short with some arguing the state, faced with a multibillion-dollar bill backlog, must take care of existing obligations before taking on new ones.

But this year, a bill that was sponsored by a number of suburban lawmakers — including Democratic Reps. Marty Moylan of Des Plaines and Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg and Republican Grant Wehrli of Naperville — passed the legislature. It’s been on Rauner’s desk since the end of June, and spokesman Andrew Flach says it’s under review. Rauner has until Aug. 29 to sign or veto the legislation or it automatically becomes law.



tony signature

Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)
815-464-1832 (CELL)