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In an effort to help individuals and providers around the state who are hampered by the Direct Support Professional shortage, the Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities has joined forces with Oakmont Schools, the Ohio Alliance of Direct Support Professionals, and the Ohio Provider Resource Association to launch a program that introduces high school seniors to the field of developmental disabilities services.
The program, known as the Community Connections Career Partnership–Ohio (C3PO), combines classroom education and a year-long internship to teach students competencies and skills needed to work in the field. It will do so using the nationally-recognized DSPaths (Direct Support Professional Advancement through Training and Education in Human Services) curriculum, which helps students:
- Develop proficiency in direct care practices
- Learn professional and ethical standards
- Develop skills in communication, crisis management, advocacy and reporting
- Gain training in conflict resolution, stress and anger management, and professional responsibility
Students who successfully complete the program will earn a Certificate of Initial Proficiency, which is a credential approved by the Ohio Department of Education as a means of satisfying high school graduation requirements.
This pilot program will start at Liberty High School in Dayton and initially serve 10 students. These students will alternate between classroom instruction and on-the-job learning experiences with Montgomery County-based providers. Nancy Banks, who retired as MCBDDS Superintendent in June of this year, will serve as one of two program instructors, and Laryssa Ingebo of Toward Independence will serve as the other. Students will also be paid for the time they spend in their job shadowing experience, thanks to a grant from the Dayton Urban League.
“Our goal is to grow the program to serve more youth, and eventually expand it to other schools in our region in an effort to increase the number of Direct Support Professionals locally,” said MCBDDS Provider Development Manager Mitchell Snyder. “We believe that this professional training will provide students with a path to success that will serve them well after high school.”