The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities (NJ UCEDD) to make Career Path Available to Direct Support Professionals State Wide

February 24, 2008

New Jersey, like many other states, is facing a workforce crisis. By 2016, the demand for direct support workers in home and community based settings will outstrip supply by 30% (PHI, 2007). Low wages and high demand on workers leave agencies with high turnover rates and challenges to providing quality supports. The NJ Direct Support Professional Workforce Development Coalition developed the NJ Career Path for DSPs to increase their skills and enable them to earn more money through the completionof coursework provided by The College of Direct Support (CDS), mentoring, and the development of a portfolio documenting job competency. The NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities funded a pilot of the Career Path project for two years. In 2009, The NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities will subscribe to the College of Direct Support, making the Career Path available to all DSPs who work with people and agencies who receive HCBS waiver funding. Agencies will be able to make the courses in both Level I and II of the Career Path available to all DSPs. In addition, they will be able to use the CDS to assign courses of their choosing to their staff. Participation in the Career Path is voluntary, and the amount of salary increase given is determined by the agency. Participation is highly recommended to reduce staff attrition, increase morale, and recognize the professionalization of DSPs. There will be no fee for agencies to access the CDS.

Technical support will be provided by the CDS System Administrator and training will be provided by The Boggs Center. All agencies will submit a list of current staff to DDD for bulk upload into the CDS, have a representative attend a training on CDS Administration, and enter new hires into the CDS. Agencies will be given access to the CDS through the regional rollout process taking place in 2009. Informational sessions on the statewide rollout of the CDS will be held at all of the membership associations and are available by request.

Learn more about this initiative here.