MACON, Ga. — Georgia workers who care for disabled people are in line for a pay raise
*if the state lifts the hourly wage. Caregivers would receive about a $5 per-hour salary increase. It's not new most businesses are dealing with staffing shortages, caregivers are no different.
Patricia Duncan is the CEO of 'Wonderland International Training School in Macon. Her school focuses primarily on training certified nursing assistants-- or "CNA's." Duncan says a lot of caregivers that train in Georgia end up taking contracts in other states.
"There's money coming from somewhere in these other states, and it's because the other thing is because of their shortages. So they know they're having to pay more so that they can entice our folks, or anybody else to come to them to work," Duncan said.
Duncan's been a nurse for nearly 30 years, and has taught medication aides across the state for the past nine years.
Duncan opened 'The Wonderland International Training School' about six months ago. She's using the facility to do her part in fulfilling the need for care givers in Georgia.
"A lot of times all the things that we give and all the things that we do. We don't get paid for it but it's our passion," Duncan said.
Duncan says its that passion that keeps caregivers going.
"We're community servants. You don't know you need it until you go to the hospitals and they're short. You feel it," she said.
Currently, the hourly wage of caregivers in Georgia is $10 dollars. Duncan says that's simply not enough to survive off of.
"Some of these folks are single parents. You know they need a little more money to just even go to the grocery store," Duncan said.
According to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities it could be sometime next year before workers see the pay increase. Duncan hopes to see the new rate sooner rather than later.
"Please please please give us this money. The community needs it. These people want to stay in their homes, and this is the only way they can stay in their homes by us being able to provide caregivers to go to the home as well," she said.
Before caregivers can see the pay raise-- there's a few hurdles to get through: the state department of behavioral health needs to finalize the rate study then send it over to *another department before finally submitting it to the federal government. The pay increase would cost the state about $91 million dollars.