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OPWDD entered a $5 million agreement with SUNY to expand credentialing for DSP workers

March 3rd, 2023

The funds will go toward a program that allows the workers—professionals who support individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities—to obtain national certification, as well as get college credit toward a certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree, the governor’s office said in a news release.

The microcredential 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, the state said.

Professionals who complete the program will get a SUNY microcredential, college credit and a certificate from the National Alliance for Direct Support Providers, the administration said.

SUNY anticipates that the $5 million in funding, originating from the American Rescue Plan, will allow the microcredential 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.

Campuses participating in the microcredential program include Dutchess Community College and SUNY Empire State College, the state said. —A.D.

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