Options For All

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Increasing Wages For 75% Of Their Workforce

With its headquarters in San Diego and offices throughout Northern and Southern California, Options for All (OFA) is the region’s leading provider of training and support services for San Diegans living with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

“We have strong values,” OFA President and CEO Ken Barnes shared with GB Magazine. “We believe in the dignity of hard work. We believe in providing value to our customers. And we are dedicated, at every level of this company, to showing respect and promoting dignity for our customers, our employees and our participants.”

OFA was founded to help members of the I/DD community experience living independent and self-sufficient lives. It exists to enrich their lives and promote inclusion in the professional and personal lives of our participants. Part of that means erasing the stigma of minimum and subminimum wages for the professionals who work at OFA and the participants we serve.

OFA recognizes equity in not only those they serve, but their employees that make services possible. In February 2020, during his first week on the job, Barnes shared his goal to increase the OFA’s wage floor to $20 an hour. Later that year, OFA made its first investment in this goal, when it raised the company’s minimum to $15 an hour, effectively raising wages for 75 percent of OFA employees.

In 2021, OFA made a second investment in its workers and participants by increasing the minimum OFA pays its workers from $15 to $17 an hour, bringing the average hourly wage to $17.97. Three-quarters of OFA employees and 98% of participants are impacted by this increase, improving equity for all OFA staff and creating a new standard for employees who work with a disability.

OFA has championed equity for those they serve by leading the charge, alongside Senator María Elena Durazo, in fighting for fair wages in the I/DD community. Senate Bill 639, her legislation eliminating the sub-minimum wage for persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities, passed the Legislature with large, bi-partisan majorities and was signed by Governor Newsom last year. This is a giant win for California!

Options For All offers a highly attractive career path with a starting wage for Direct Support Professionals of $17 to $19 per hour, and day-one access to a comprehensive suite of no-cost benefits and a retirement plan. Benefits include top-quality health, dental, and vision plans to ensure staff can receive the care they need. Every employee, from the entry-level worker to the C-suite, receives access to the exact same health plans. Please visit their website to learn more.

www.optionsforall.org

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Esteban Villanueva
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