Press Release from the Ohio DD Council

Direct Support Professionals Week Brings Attention to Employment Need for Ohioans with Disabilities

September 12, 2017 (Ohio) – With over 20% of the direct care positions in the State unfilled, the Ohio Provider Resource Association (OPRA) and the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council (Ohio DD Council) are calling attention to this need for fulfillment as they recognize Sept. 10-16 as Direct Support Professionals Week in Ohio.

Direct Support Professionals (DSP) assist and ensure that people with disabilities have the necessary supports that enable them to live, work and enjoy life as independently as possible in the community of their choice.

“DSPs are the backbone of the efforts to provide inclusive, independent living opportunities for people with disabilities,” said Mark Davis, president and CEO of OPRA. “It is important to recognize the value that DSPs bring to individuals with disabilities and their families, and also ensure that they are provided with the resources to succeed in their profession.”

Currently, providers are facing high vacancies and the demand for Direct Support Professionals is expected to increase by 35% by 2018. Direct care is also expected to be the number one job in demand over the next 20 years, according to the US Department of Labor.

To bridge the gap, OPRA and the Ohio DD Council are preparing to launch DSP Ohio, a statewide recruitment effort that will connect potential employees with job opportunities in direct care support across the State.

“There is a critical need for more DSPs in Ohio, and we hope DSP Ohio will provide a coordinated, centralized process to increase awareness of the importance and value of this role and help people understand who it supports,” added Davis.

Direct Support Professionals work in a number of different settings and often have opportunities to share their own passions and talents with the people they support. The workforce is made up of over 3.6 million workers in the United States.

“We are excited about partnering with OPRA to launch DSP Ohio,” said Carolyn Knight, executive director of the Ohio DD Council. “We think this effort will have an immediate impact on improving the employment rate of DSPs. Our hope is that this initiative will improve opportunities for people with disabilities to live, work and play in the community, just like everyone else.”

On Wednesday, Sept. 13, DSPs from around the State will gather for a celebration of the DSP Week in Ohio. Ohio Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (OADSP) will host a one-day conference to kick off its "Be A HERO" campaign. The campaign is designed to get current DSPs talking about their profession with others to help recruit more people to the field.

The DSP Ohio campaign will feature statewide multi-media marketing efforts and a dedicated website for job seekers and creators in the developmental disabilities field. DSP Ohio will launch in November 2017.

About DSP Ohio:

DSP Ohio is a unique, statewide DSP recruitment effort that connects potential employees with Developmental Disability provider employers. The campaign is in direct response to the number one challenge facing Ohio’s Developmental Disabilities System – the workforce crisis.

About the Ohio Provider Resource Association (OPRA):

As a statewide association of service providers, OPRA is a leader in efforts to collaboratively build a statewide service system that meets the needs of its ultimate customers: Ohioans with developmental disabilities. Currently, OPRA’s membership consists of more than 150 organizations, both for-profit and not-for-profit, providing services to more than 15,000 Ohioans with developmental disabilities.

About Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council:

The mission of the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council (Ohio DD Council) is to create change that improves independence, productivity and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities and their families in community life. The Ohio DD Council is one of a national network of state councils, committed to self-determination and community inclusion for people with developmental disabilities. The Ohio DD Council advocates for people with developmental disabilities and their families; initiates programs that enrich their lives; demonstrates a consistent commitment to our mission; and educates about disability rights and the importance of self-determination.