March 7, 2023

New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities Announces Initiative to Help Improve Recruitment & Retention of Direct Support Professionals

New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities Announces Initiative to Help Improve Recruitment & Retention of Direct Support Professionals

The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) today announced a new partnership with the NY Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation to help reverse the impact of the workforce crisis on nonprofit service providers through a technical assistance project in partnership with the McSilver Institute for Poverty, Policy and Research at New York University.

“The greatest challenge our provider partners currently face is maintaining and adding to their direct support workforce,” said Kerri E. Neifeld, Commissioner of the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities. “We are grateful to be able fund this important project that will create tools and guidance for our service providers to help build a sustainable direct support workforce to meet the needs of New Yorkers with developmental disabilities. The Alliance is a valuable partner, and I am confident that they are well-equipped to provide meaningful support for building our service system’s direct support workforce.”

Laying the foundation of the project are two key components. First, an Organizational Self-Assessment (OSA), will give providers an opportunity to assess their current recruitment and retention practices and related agency culture. At the same time, Direct Support Professionals (DSP) employed by service providers will complete a DSP Questionnaire that will provide insight into DSPs’ perspectives on workplace well-being and support within their organizations as it relates to recruitment and retention strategies. 

 

Based on the input received and best practices identified, the NY Alliance will create helpful resources and tools that can be shared among provider agencies so these best practices can be replicated. At the completion of the grant, the tools and resources developed through this project will be sustained by the Regional Centers for Workforce Transformation.

“The Recruitment and Retention Technical Assistance project is timely and will be of great benefit to the field of disability services where employment opportunities in direct support are numerous, but met with challenges in recruitment and retention,” stated Michael Seereiter, President & CEO of the New York Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation. “We are eager to work with OPWDD and NYS providers to address this area of need by assessing the situation, convening the field, and creating resources to strengthen our workforce and continue exceptional services and supports for individuals with I/DD in New York State.”

The funding for the project comes from OPWDD’s share of monies New York received through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). OPWDD has dedicated roughly 76 percent of its ARPA funds to initiatives designed to recognize the work of DSPs (including bonuses and incentives), support recruitment and retention, and enhance workforce skills and capacity.

For questions about the technical assistance project contact [email protected]For questions about the upcoming webinar, contact Monica Robinson at [email protected]

###