Mountain Lake Services’ DSP Credentialing Program
Submitted By: James Johnson, Director of Staff Development at Mountain Lake Services, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mountain Lake Services’ DSP Credentialing Program combines Relias coursework with the NADSP E-Badge Academy credentialing system to promote a three-level system. Achievement of each level is accompanied by an increase to the DSP’s base rate of pay and attainment of all three levels makes a DSP eligible to apply to be an Assistant Manager.
“It really reminded me how much I love the work we do and how important it is. It reminded my of my passion.”
– Kim, direct support professional
Impact Of The Program
We started this program on 1/1/20 and at this point approximately 1/3 of our eligible staff have elected to participate. Many staff are reenergized by the learning and appreciate how much they have grown over their careers here. Particularly this year in the midst of COVID-19 it has been a way for many staff to focus on progress and realize achievement in what could otherwise be a demoralizing time. Energized, positive, well-trained staff = Better Service Delivery! The hope is that one of the future impacts will be increased retention as well, but that is yet to be proven.
“It’s such a personal journey for each staff going through it; they find it so rewarding. Even when an E-Badge gets rejected, they enjoy the feedback because it is for them and meaningful.”
– Shelly, manager
The DSPs who participate are increasing their knowledge and skills through learning and practice. The NADSP E-Badge Academy really helps them see how much they have learned throughout their time in the field. It pairs the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of what they do, and ultimately has really reinvigorated some with the passion that they have for their work. They also have an opportunity to earn more money and we all know that DSP wages are a concern. We have at least one DSP who after going through the credentialing levels had the confidence to enroll in the local community college! In some areas we have seen a really healthy competition to get people participating and attaining levels.
Implementing The Program
The steps below list actions that Mountain Lake Services suggests taking to implement your own program:
- Approval of concept and monetary incentive on the part of agency administration
- Identify Relias content associated with each level
- Identify prerequisites such as time working in the field, current evaluation
- Identify excluding criteria such as significant disciplinary action in prior 12 months
- Partner with NADSP to participate in the E-Badge Academy (cost covered by agency for the learner)
- Roll out to staff!
- Ongoing enrollment and tracking
- Celebrate achievements in agency newsletters, Facebook posts, etc.
About Mountain Lake Services
Mountain Lake Services began in 1967 with 15 citizens who were concerned about the lack of support for people with developmental disabilities in their communities. From our beginning, providing vocational training at our work center, Essex Industries, through the development of residential and day services, we now offer a wide array of services to suit any need and capability.
Here at Mountain Lake Services our mission is to enrich the lives of people with developmental disabilities, their families and our communities. By offering a comprehensive range of services we ensure that we are indeed meeting the needs of the individuals we support, their families and our communities.
Help Us Carry Out Our Mission
You can join The National Alliance For Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) through NADSP Membership, and support us to elevate the status of direct support professionals.
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