New York Enters Agreement to Expand DSP Credentialing

The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities entered a $5 million agreement with the State University of New York to expand credentialing for direct-support workers, Governor Kathy Hochul announced in late February. The funds will go toward a program that allows the workers to obtain national certification, as well as get college credit toward a certificate, associate’s, or bachelor’s degree, the governor’s office said in a news release. The micro credential program was designed to teach workforce skills to professionals already in the field, as well as those who are newly working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Professionals who complete the program will get a SUNY micro credential, college credit and a certificate from the National Alliance for Direct Support Providers.

SUNY anticipates that the $5 million in funding, originating from the American Rescue Plan, will allow the micro credential program to support around 400 students. The state said it will provide a $750 stipend to workers who complete the program and obtain certification, as well as fund tuition, books, course materials, NADSP credentialing, and other educational resources. Those enrolled in the program will receive work-based learning opportunities with OPWDD or OPWDD-certified providers, as well as training and mentorship from the Regional Centers for Workforce Transformation—the state’s leading resource system for OPWDD providers.

The SUNY partnership expands on the state’s efforts to build the direct-support-provider workforce and address shortages. Last year, the administration announced a $10 million partnership between OPWDD and the NADSP to expand credentialing.