By Pat Kessler

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota caregivers rallied at the State Capitol Tuesday to call for higher wages. They’re warning state lawmakers that an already serious workforce shortage is getting worse.

Tens of thousands of Minnesota caregivers are making an average of about $11 an hour. That’s at, or just above, the minimum wage to care for people with disabilities and older adults all around the state.

There are 99,000 caregivers in the state, and the need is growing fast as baby boomers age. Yet 8,700 job vacancies remain because few people can afford to raise a family.

They’re asking for a 5 percent pay hike — that’s about 55-cents an hour.

“We know how important it is for caregivers, for people with disabilities, all across the state of Minnesota, that we get a 5 percent rate increase in 2016,” Bruce Nelson of Best Life Alliance said at the rally.

Republicans are proposing a 5 percent pay hike for workers, many of whom are in rural Minnesota. Democrats set aside almost nothing in their funding bills.

Pat Kessler

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