Maryland DSP Training Consortium for direct care staff

Jan 31, 19 Maryland DSP Training Consortium for direct care staff

From Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration

Maryland DSP Training Consortium for direct care professionals

The Maryland DSP Training Consortium was awarded an EARN Grant by the state of Maryland in July 2017 to develop professional competencies, pilot a curriculum, and create a credentialing process based on existing industry accepted standards for DSPs. The Consortium is a collaboration between SEEC, Jubilee, The Arc Howard County, Compass, the Spring Dell Center, and the DDA. The Consortium’s advisory group also includes a representative from the Maryland Association of Community Services (MACS).
EARN Maryland is a nationally recognized, industry-led program administered by Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (DLLR) supporting targeted training for Maryland’s workforce. Through the grant program, employers are challenged to identify skill gaps in their industry and develop innovative solutions for improving workforce readiness in real time.
In Maryland, there more than 11,000 DSPs employed by providers who report an average turnover rate of nearly 50 percent. Low wages and limited career pathways are typically identified as two primary reasons for lack of retention. The EARN grant has provided the necessary funding to pilot implementation of a DSP II program to serve as the foundation of career pathways for DSPs that until now have not existed. Consistent professional competencies could lead to industry standards that can be used by the DDA to improve career outcomes and promote DSP retention throughout the state.
The program uses a hybrid of in-person and online learning module, with the addition of mentoring to achieve identified competencies. The Consortium received such significant positive feedback on the impact of the mentoring component that, the advisory committee recommended the Consortium request supplementary EARN grant funding to further strengthen the mentoring portion of the curriculum. In October 2018, the funds to enhance mentoring were granted. To date, 61 DSPs have participated in the pilot training program in three cohorts. The fourth cohort of DSPs will begin their work in late January. The Consortium plans to scale the program and provide opportunities for other organizations to participate beginning in mid-2019.
“Our DSPs are excited about both the content and format of this process. It allows them to obtain and retain important skills via multiple modalities which speaks directly to the diversity of strengths and learning styles within our workforce,” said Joan Whitney, Director of Human Resources at Compass, Inc. “Mentoring has been the highlight- creating a framework for staff to model and encourage excellence among each other.”
For more information on the Maryland DSP Training Consortium, please contact Lori Sedlezky at 301-576-9040 x240 or



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External Resources

Support program: Autism Sibling Support Initiative

Support program: Sibling Support Project

Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council

Maryland Early Intervention and Special Education Services

Administration for Community Living

Pathfinders for Autism

Disability Scoop

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

National Center for PTSD

Wounded Warriors PTSD Project

Warriors Journey Post Traumatic Stress

The Blue Ribbon Project: supporting victims of child abuse and youth in foster care

Faces of PTSD

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