The New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (NYACH) has partnered with Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) to enhance the college’s credit-bearing Direct Support Professional (DSP) program, which prepares individuals to provide direct care services to people with intellectual and physical disabilities. The enhanced DSP curriculum is being developed with direct input from DSP employers. NYACH and BMCC also worked to align the new curriculum with National Centers for Medicare (CMS) and New York State Office for People With Disabilities(NYS OPWD) recommendations.
Thirteen students graduated from the BMCC Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development program in November 2015 and another cohort started class in February 2016. All 13 students in the first cohort were offered full time employment with a DSP job agency.
NYACH plans to work with BMCC to scale the new enhanced DSP curriculum model to other CUNY schools.
According to NYACH, DSP job responsibilities have grown more complex as a result of increased standards and competency demands from NYS OPWD.
Another factor motivating the enhancement is the seismic shift in the DSP industry towards independent living, which has left many developmental disability job agencies struggling to find qualified candidates.
“There is a huge shortage of these kinds of providers. The big challenges are a lack of training capacity, in what has become an increasingly complex role,” said Sunil Gupta, Dean of the BMCC Adult Continuing Education and Workforce Development.
The new program curriculum also focuses on human growth, anatomy, developmental disabilities, treatment services, communication skills and professional writing for DSPs. The course also prepares students to obtain certifications in CPR, Strategies for Crisis Intervention, Nutrition and Choking Prevention and the didactic component of Approved Medication Administration Personnel (AMAP). Students are required to have a New York State Driver’s License to work in the industry.