March 1, 2018
By Bradley L. Vincent, CEO
It is a commonly shared opinion that one of the biggest deterrents in implementing the objectives of the department and our system of operations is the staffing crisis, the high need for a workforce that will support completion of these objectives. Community based placements for employment, being able to serve people from the waiting lists, the privatization of the county board workshops and downsizing larger facilities is all dependent on increasing the number of Direct Support Professionals (DSP’s).
The Ohio Provider Resource Association (OPRA) has begun an initiative to address this challenge in the form of DSPOhio. DSPOhio is a statewide effort to educate and inform, and thereby recruit and retain, employees for providers of services to persons with intellectual and physical needs. This effort will use an on-line direct link that can connect potential employees with provider employers. The promotion will include the concept that becoming a DSP can be a favorable career option that is fulfilling, meaningful and can lead to advancement within the system to have even more of an influence in advocating for persons served.
I am a believer in this concept. Of Siffrin’s Supervised Living management staff, those who oversee staff and manage the homes, 100% were formerly DSP’s. In fact, 71% of Siffrin’s administrative staff have worked as DSP’s and of all Siffrin “office staff”, overseeing multiple programs and services, 73% have at one time or another been a Direct Support Professional.
As DSPOhio continues to unfold in the form of branding and improving connectivity between employee and employer, I encourage our fellow staff, vendors and stakeholders to help us promote the concept of becoming a DSP can be rewarding by having a positive impact on people’s lives, including their own, and there is nothing more important than a human life.