Nineteen of Bancroft Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) made up the first graduating cohort of Bancroft’s DSP Certification Program. On June 29 we celebrated them with a ceremony held at the Bancroft Employee Center. The ceremony included remarks from Bancroft CEO Toni Pergolin, NJ State Senator Troy Singleton and Deputy Labor Commissioner Julie Diaz as well as graduate Sandi Oliver and mentor Brelyn Williams.
Bancroft is one of the only organizations in the region that offers the DSP Certification. This rigorous program provides Direct Support Professionals the opportunity to obtain a certification through the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals, a nationally-recognized organization that works to increase the professionalism of the DSP role. In addition, through Bancroft’s partnership with the New Jersey Department of Labor, the graduates who work in New Jersey have also earned a US Department of Labor DSP Apprenticeship Certificate.
There are 2,000 DSPs employed by Bancroft. They are vital to the care of those living with autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities and brain injuries. They respond to an endless array of basic and complex needs with compassion and grit – helping those with severe challenges build life skills, access work or education, and communicate with the world around them. They are trusted protectors and fierce advocates. They are cooks, drivers and companions. They are the backbone of our organization and play a critical role in changing lives.
Level I of the program involved a combination of comprehensive continuing education, on-the-job application of that knowledge, and one-to-one mentoring. Most will be taking what they learned to begin Level II of the program, furthering their skills and deepening their commitment to their important role. There are three levels in total.
“Our job is to support people,” explains Matthew Hender, a graduate of the program, “not from our values but from theirs. I feel like I’m in the right place. I’m ready for Phase II.” Click here to read Matthew’s story.