Multiple area agencies will be on hand to meet with and interview potential employees, aged 18 and over with high school diplomas or G.E.D. certificates, who may be interested in providing home and community-based services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“Direct support professionals ensure that people with disabilities have the help they need in order to live, learn and earn as independently as possible in their community,” said Superintendent Kari Smith. “Their day-to-day support of the people we serve is critically important, and we work very closely with the provider agencies to see that those supports make sense for everyone involved. Many staff who work in the area of direct support form long-lasting and life-changing relationships with individuals and their families. We want them to know how much that matters, and how much they’re really needed.”
Direct support staff may help people to prepare meals, take care of themselves and their homes, go shopping or to medical appointments or take part in activities in the community like volunteering or attending sporting events or concerts. While most direct support professionals work for provider agencies, some may opt to become independent providers of services, registered through the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. HCBDD administrative staff will be on hand at the recruitment fair to provide information for attendees interested in pursuing that career path, Smith said.
Direct Support Professional Recognition Week is part of the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) National Advocacy Campaign, whose mission is to enhance the lives of all people with disabilities who rely on long-term supports and services by obtaining the resources to recruit, train and retain a highly qualified and sustainable workforce. Nationwide, there are approximately 1.4 million individuals who require professional support in order to live and work in their own communities rather than an institution. There is a significant deficit in the number of direct support professionals needed to support these individuals, with the demand for such staff having increased by almost 35 percent in the past 10 years — a trend that is likely to continue.