Grant Funding Expanded for Direct Support Professionals Initiative
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Grant Funding Expanded for Direct Support Professionals Initiative

Published: March 29, 2024

The partnership between New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and the State University of New York (SUNY) has expanded to further support the academic and career success of Direct Support Professionals across New York State. Jefferson Community College (JCC) is a participating SUNY College, with the grant-funded Direct Support Professional 1 (DSP1) and newly launched Direct Support Professional 2 (DSP2) microcredential. Classes are set to begin fall semester - August 26, 2024. Prospective students may submit their microcredential registration form now. 

Direct support professionals (DSPs) work one-on-one with developmentally or intellectually disabled people, assisting with the daily needs of their lives. They may also be employed in childcare centers, residential treatment facilities, eldercare and respite programs or other human service settings. Students not yet working in the developmental disabilities field will be offered work-based learning opportunities with OPWDD or OPWDD-certified service providers. 

The DSP1 microcredential at JCC prepares students to enter the workforce having received education in human services, ethics in helping professions, and interpersonal communication. The DSP2 microcredential at JCC prepares students for potential career advancement within human services’ organizations. A microcredential typically consists of three or four credit-bearing college courses with many of the classes being offered online. 

In February 2023, OPWDD awarded SUNY $5 million to upskill, through microcredentials, the current DSP workforce, enabling direct support professionals to secure national certification and college credit toward a certificate, associate or bachelor's degree. Early this year, New York State invested an additional $20 million in the program.  

Grant funding for this initiative covers the cost of tuition, books, course materials and National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) credentialing for students and educational supports. The program offers a $750 incentive to eligible students who successfully complete a microcredential and earn NADSP certification. Furthermore, students enrolled part-time in a DSP1 or DSP2 microcredential program may apply for the part-time New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).

Successful completion will lead to: 1) SUNY microcredential(s), college credentials, 2) one or more national certifications, 3) college credit toward a certificate, associate, or bachelor’s degree and 4) a $750 incentive.

Registration is ongoing for fall semester classes beginning August 26, 2024, at JCC.  

For more information, complete the microcredential registration form and an Educational Planner from the College will contact you or call JCC at (315) 786-2233. 

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