The Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD) in partnership with the Medina County Career Center (MCCC) and the Ohio Alliance of Direct Support Professionals (OADSP) is proud to support a new Direct Support Professionals training program for MCCC students who have a desire to make an impact on the lives of people with developmental disabilities.
The program, known as DSP-U (Direct Support Professional University), affords each MCCC student who enrolls an opportunity to learn about a career in a field that is in desperate need of quality professional workers. It helps students learn how to provide services and daily support to help people with disabilities succeed in meeting their life goals and dreams. According to US Department of Labor statistics, direct service professionals are one of the most in-demand jobs in America and the need for qualified professionals to fill a large number of full-time jobs will only continue to increase over the next several years.
“DSP-U is such a great opportunity for our agency to work with local educators and service providers to ignite a passion for the opportunities and rewards young adults can find in helping people with disabilities,” said Annie Finnerty, MCBDD Assistant Superintendent. “We fully believe in supporting this program to help students prepare to work with individuals with developmental disabilities as their careers, the experiences they will be involved in will be invaluable to them.”
DSP-U is nationally recognized, and accredited in Ohio by the Department of Education, as a pathway to graduation. Students participating in the DSP-U program experience specialized training, on-site, hands-on internships, and the opportunity to earn their professional credentials while receiving credit toward high school graduation requirements. DSP-U offers those who complete the training a Certificate of Initial Proficiency (CIP) which requires the completion of 20 courses for a total of 60 classroom hours, in addition to a minimum of 100 internship hours. Upon completion of the program, graduates will have the credentials they need to immediately apply for jobs as direct service professionals.
By aligning this project’s internships with existing direct service provider agencies in Medina such as Intervention for Peace and the MCBDD’s own Windfall School, the program creates a win-win environment. Provider agencies will have access to a pool of qualified candidates who have already been specifically trained and certified. This will help address the existing direct support professional vacancy gap while increasing the quality of service providers available in Medina County.
“The greatest benefit that these students receive is the mentoring from professionals already in the field,” said Pam Wheeler, MCBDD Health Services Coordinator and the person responsible for bringing this program into Medina County. “Individuals with disabilities need quality, caring professionals to help them reach their goals in life and we are committed to finding opportunities, such as the DSP-U program, to make this a reality in Medina County.”