DD Council Connection - September 2017

logo of dd council connection newsletter bannerWelcome to the September 2017 edition of the DD Council Connection newsletter!

DD Council Connection is a way for the Ohio DD Council to introduce to you our amazing Council members, grantees, staff and entire statewide community of self-advocates and others who work tirelessly on behalf of people with disabilities and their families. We hope you enjoy this e-newsletter. Please share your thoughts, story ideas and calendar submissions with us at DDCInfo@dodd.ohio.gov.

This month's articles include:

DSP Week Honors Professionals, Calls to Attention Need for More

On Sept. 13, the Ohio Alliance of Direct Support Professionals (OADSP) hosted a daylong celebration for Direct Support Professionals (DSP) in Columbus, OH. The event was during Direct Support Professionals Week, a national awareness week that highlights the importance of DSPs and the work they do for the disability community.

The week also allowed leaders to bring attention to an employment crisis in the field. 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) called attention to this need for fulfillment.

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, but also ensure that they are provided with the resources to succeed in their profession.”

Currently, providers are facing high vacancies and the demand for DSPs 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.

DSPs 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.”

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.

Council Member Spotlight: Dara Walburn

Dara Walburn, from Athens, Ohio, is a strong advocate whose enthusiasm has been an immediate asset to the Council. She explains why she advocates for people with developmental disabilities in Athens, Ohio; and what being on the Council means to her. Meet Dara by clicking on the video below:

Want to apply to become a member?

If you are interested in applying for appointment to the Ohio DD Council, visit ddc.ohio.gov/Council-Members/New-Member-Application.

Grantee Spotlight: Strengthening the Voices of Direct Support Professionals

As a part of its Community Living goal in the Five-Year Plan, Ohio DD Council awarded the Ohio Alliance of Direct Support Professionals (OADSP) with the “Strengthening the Voices of Direct Support Professionals” grant. The goal of this initiative aims to have over 800 direct support professionals (DSP) who support people with disabilities and their families be provided information to improve support by encouraging a better trained, more respected, and more involved workforce.

In response to the direct support workforce shortage, organizations in Ohio created a career path by building a DSP credentialing pathway. Called Professional Achievement through Training & Education in Human Services (PATHS), it incorporates the Community Support Skills Standards, the National Association of Direct Support Professionals Code of Ethics and the Minnesota Front Line Supervisor Standards. Participants work with a skills mentor as they complete training and prepare portfolios to document their skills.

The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council has provided funds to support DSPs since 2001. In 2001, OADSP was funded for six years to design a volunteer credentialing program for DSPs working with people with disabilities in collaboration with other disability organizations, especially the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, in a selected region of Ohio.

In 2007, Council funded the OADSP to engage in sustainability planning, so the PATHS credentialing program for direct support professionals will be sustained statewide through consumer and employer demand. In 2012 Council invested funds to directly benefit DSP to:

  • Attend conferences.
  • Create opportunities for networking.
  • Participate in webinars.
  • Receive funding for classroom training and/or on-line training.

OADSP created the DSP Council, which meets in person at least four times per year in order to discuss issues facing DSPs to make recommendations for improved support systems.

What else is the Ohio DD Council funding? See a complete list of current projects at http://ddc.ohio.gov/Grants/Current-Projects.

Participate in the Assistive Technology Loan Program Survey

Do you run an Assistive Technology (AT) loan program in Ohio? The program may include AT equipment, adaptive toys or medical equipment. If so, your assistance is requested to participate in a short electronic survey to identify these programs. And if you know of an AT loan program, please share this information with them.

Please take the short survey here: AT Lending Programs Survey

The survey is part of the Ohio DD Council initiative, Identification of Assistive Technology Lending Programs in Ohio, through a grant awarded to the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI).