2024 NADSP Advocacy Symposium

April 30 - May 1, 2024
Logo for 2022 NADSP Policy Event

About the Event

​This spring, the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) will embark on its third national advocacy event to bring the direct support professional (DSP) perspective to the forefront of Congress and the Administration during a time of unprecedented workforce challenges. Hardships from the pandemic and recent legislation has provided new insights and opportunities for the direct support workforce that supports people with disabilities.

The NADSP recognizes the previous absence and critical importance of lifting the voices of DSPs to federal policy-makers, so that public policy can be informed by the people who are on the front-lines of supporting people with disabilities to live, work and thrive in the community. Throughout the spring, the NADSP will provide DSPs from all across the country comprehensive advocacy virtual trainings. This will lead up to the 1.5-day virtual event in May that will culminate with virtual meetings with Congressional leaders and staff to educate and advocate on NADSP’s public policy priorities for 2024.

Advocacy Symposium and Legislative Meetings Training

    • Tuesday, April 30, 2024, 2:00 p.m – 4:45 pm ET
    • State Team Meetings will extend beyond 4:45 pm ET

Legislative Meetings

    • Wednesday, May 1, 2024, Time will vary by state and district
    • After registering, all individuals will receive a confirmation that they have registered. Final meeting times will be shared on March 4th from Soapbox Consulting. Please note that your meeting time will depend on your Zip Code and Congressional District.

Event Sponsors 

Our sponsors share our values and our commitment to promoting a robust and highly qualified direct support workforce.


NADSP’s 2024 Policy Priorities

  • Enhance federal Investments:

    • Build upon federal investments to expand access to, and strengthen the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) system, including expanding the workforce.
    • Assure effective implementation of new HCBS funding directed at expanding the workforce so that it leads to wage increases commensurate with the level of responsibility and complexity of the work of DSPs.
    • Assure that federal investments create career ladders and pipeline programs to expand the workforce and lead to opportunities for professional growth for all DSPs.

    Create a Standard Occupational Code (SOC) for DSPs:

    • Currently, there is no standard occupational code or SOC for DSPs, this limits the ability to gather data on numbers of DSPs and their wages. DSPs are often inaccurately classified in labor reports under other positions, such as a nursing assistant (CNA), home health aide (HHA) or personal care assistant (PCA).
    • Pass the Recognizing the Role of Direct Support Professionals Act to ensure that the Department of Labor collects the data on the work and wages of DSPs. This bill passed the Senate in March 2024, we must pass HR 2941 the House of Representatives version of the Role of Direct Support Professionals Act, so the bill becomes law!

    Increase flexibility for states

    • Promote flexibility by allowing states to use funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to support the growth of the DSP workforce through
      • Training and Certification programs like NADSPs E-badge academy.
      • Bonus payments to new and existing DSPs
    • Grant states flexibility to create pipeline programs to address the DSP shortages in their states.

    Promote economic mobility of DSPs by reducing systemic barriers and promoting career pathways

    • Provide funding to increase management training for DSPs moving into supervisory roles to support career growth.
    • Expand data collection in the states to ensure that rate changes are tracked to go directly to wage increases for DSPs.


    • Provide innovation funding for states to develop and explore emerging technology solutions to improve service delivery and optimize the experience of DSPs and the people with disabilities they serve.



Attendee Expectations

    • Attendance is free and mandatory on April 30 in order to participate in congressional meetings on May 1st. On Tuesday, April 30th, part of the programming will include the messaging for the legislative meetings as well as training on materials and state team coordination.
    • Participants are expected to attend every meeting on their May 1st schedule as part of their subgroup team. These meetings are not optional.
    • Please set aside an entire business day up to 6:00 PM in your time zone on May 1, 2024. The best times to secure Member-level meetings are early in the morning and late in the afternoon. We are at the mercy of individual legislative offices as to the time they offer. We wouldn’t want you to miss out on these opportunities.
    • Participants should not attend meetings not on their schedules. Offices on the House side are small and staff can become frustrated with large groups and unexpected participants.
    • Everyone will go to both House and Senate meetings, but not everyone will have an opportunity to speak. NADSP has designated state leaders who will organize 3-5 of participants to speak in each meeting.
    • The NADSP Code of Ethics is the basis for everything we do. All conduct in meetings should remain professional and on message as directed by State Team Leads.
      • Integrity and Responsibility: As a direct support professionals, I will support the mission and vitality of my profession to assist people in leading self-directed lives and to foster a spirit of partnership with the people I support, other professionals, and the community.

Register for the 2024 NADSP Advocacy Symposium

Click the link below to register via JotForms. Once completed, a confirmation email will be sent to all attendees.Registration closes April 23, 2024.

2:00 PM – 2:10 PM ET  Welcome 

Speakers:  Chester Finn, NADSP Board Chair, Special Assistant, NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

Kick off the 2024 Advocacy Symposium with NADSP’s Board Chair, Chester Finn.


2:10 PM – 3:10 PM ET Mobilizing Direct Support Professionals to Engage in Public Policy by Building a Grassroots Movement

Speaker: Malachi Cereghino, National Domestic Workers Alliance

Malachi Cereghino is a seasoned advocate who currently serves as the Digital Organizing Director at the National Domestic Workers Alliance. In this opening presentation, they will bring expertise in coalition building, grassroots organizing, and leadership development to our Advocacy Symposium. This critical discussion will help us understand the current landscape as it relates to direct support professionals and share effective strategies for advocacy that includes communicating with policymakers, organizing grassroots efforts and prepare us to build strategies that empower the direct support workforce that comes from actively participating in their own advocacy efforts.


3:15 PM – 3:30 PM ET  NADSP’s Message to Congress

Presenters: Nicole Jorwic, NADSP, Joseph Macbeth, NADSP

This briefing will highlight NADSP’s national initiatives that are the spotlight for this year’s ask of Congress. Investments in Medicaid Home and Community Based Services: Past, Present Fight and Future goals. Though Medicaid has different names in many states, it is the system that provides access to home and community-based services AND the system that determines and pays the wages of direct support professionals. This over forty- year old system needs updates and investments, as the pandemic exposed the cracks in this system. Attendees will learn the basics of Medicaid, about the current legislation that coulf improve wages and how you can advocate at the state and federal level. Additionally,  attendees will learn the most important facts about effective implementation of workforce development initiatives authorized through legislation and about how to secure a Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) that would yield necessary data that will lead to professionalization of the field and help with recruitment and retention. This session will highlight the importance of these messages effectively being communicated in legislative meetings.

3:45 PM – 4:30 PM ET – Hook, Line and Sinker: Soapbox Interactive Legislative Hill Meeting Preparation with Christopher Kush

Presenter: Christopher Kush, MPP, CEO, Soapbox Consulting , 

In this 60 minute presentation, Christopher Kush will prepare advocates to get energized, motivated and ready for action. Whether you are a seasoned veteran, or this is your first advocacy day, this session will prepare you for a would be Capitol Hill day. Christopher will provide an overview of logistics of the advocacy day (March 10) with instructions on how to use Soapbox Mobile to access all materials. In the “Hook, Line and Sinker,” Chris will go over the three vital parts of an effective legislative meeting. Advocates will end this meeting understanding the common pitfalls of a meeting and how to avoid them along with how to localize and personalize your meeting.

Soapbox Mobile Tool®

The Soapbox Mobile Tool® provides a real-time, custom experience for each advocate that allows them to see accurate schedules before they come to town, and then provides push notifications, easy feedback, and other tools to support your efforts.

The Soapbox Mobile Tool® is not an app; there is nothing to download or install. A cloud-based tool accessible from any web-connected device, the Soapbox Mobile Tool® can usually be incorporated seamlessly with other conference apps.

Legislative Meetings – Thursday, May 1, 2024

After registering, all individuals will receive a confirmation note and a separate email with a zoom link. Meeting details will arrive from Soapbox Consulting by Friday, April 26, 2024.  Please note that your meeting time will depend on your Zip Code and Congressional District.