October 27, 2023

Vibrant Brands, Inc. Selected to Design Statewide DSP Marketing Recruitment Campaign

Vibrant Brands, Inc. Selected to Design Statewide DSP Marketing Recruitment Campaign

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I am excited to share that OPWDD is beginning our work with Vibrant Brands, Inc. to develop and launch a statewide marketing recruitment campaign to elevate and grow the direct support workforce.

No challenge before us is more urgent than the need to make sure OPWDD and our non-profit provider partners have the staffing required to support New Yorkers with developmental disabilities.

Through a Request for Proposals issued earlier this year, we have selected Vibrant Brands, Inc. to help us research and design an effective campaign to inform the public about the value Direct Support Professionals bring to our communities and connect qualified, compassionate job seekers to this rewarding field. Vibrant brings 20 years of experience in marketing for non-profit organizations, with an extensive focus on helping them recruit for Direct Support Professionals, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

Working with a diverse group of advisors made up of self-advocates, non-profit provider agency representatives, family members and OPWDD staff, Vibrant will develop a statewide media campaign that promotes the field of direct support for people with developmental disabilities. Its purposes are two-fold ─ to grow a common understanding and appreciation for this meaningful work and to develop an interactive website that will connect new workforce candidates to job opportunities with service providers throughout the state.  

Workforce shortages continue to impact the lives of people with developmental disabilities. I know these shortages are impacting all of you. Over the last year, OPWDD has launched several initiatives aimed at supporting the direct support workforce, including direct bonus payments to workers for their service during the COVID pandemic and working with The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals and the State University of New York to launch, and engage students in, new educational opportunities across the state.

In addition, OPWDD is working with the New York Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation to provide technical assistance to service providers throughout the state. This effort has engaged service providers in organizational self-assessments to help them become more effective in their recruitment and retention and a community-of-practice that will support enhanced workforce practices.

The marketing recruitment campaign will complement these efforts in an important way by directly reaching job candidates in all parts of the state with a compelling invitation and opportunity to join our mission and embark on an impactful career. The campaign will engage new pools of job candidates, including New Americans, high school students, college students seeking part-time work or careers in human services, second-career job candidates and others.

Our work to strengthen and support the direct support workforce will continue every day. There is much more to do. As OPWDD recognized National Direct Support Professional week last month, it was my privilege to meet and speak with many DSPs. As always, I was heartened and humbled by their tremendous personal commitment to their work. Hearing the stories of their challenges and their accomplishments encourages me to continue advancing the work we need to do as an agency – in partnership with all of you - to support people with developmental disabilities and the dedicated professionals who work passionately to help them succeed.


Kerri E. Neifeld Commissioner