Bancroft is offering its Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) the opportunity to obtain a national certification through a new program with the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP), a nationally-recognized organization that works to increase the professionalism and recognition of the DSP role.
The certification provides national recognition of the contributions of direct care staff, and the high level of training and professionalism of those who have completed the program.
Three certification levels are available: DSP I, DSP II and DSP III. Each takes a year to complete, through a combination of rigorous continuing education, facilitated group support and on-the-job mentoring. Those who complete each level receive a pay increase, as well as a DSP Apprenticeship Certificate from the US Department of Labor for those in Bancroft’s New Jersey programs.
“We are extremely excited to be offering this program,” says Jim Carlino, Bancroft Chief Human Resources Officer. “Our DSPs do incredibly important work for those we support and their families. It is not enough to say thank you, we knew we needed to do our part to professionalize this role and help DSPs grow their careers, and be recognized in the field for the important work they perform.”
Some 30,000 DSPs work in New Jersey, and they make up over 65 percent of Bancroft’s workforce. They are vital to supporting and empowering people with disabilities to increase their independence and live the most meaningful lives possible. They wear many hats: caregivers, companions, advocates, medication administrators, cheerleaders and supporters. They are the daily caregivers for those living with disabilities, and the eyes and ears for the clinicians.
“The DSP certification program will offer new ways for me to help the individuals that I serve,” said Felicia Strickland, a DSP working at Bancroft’s Welsh Campus. “I’m delighted to be within the first group to explore new opportunities for change.”