Department of Social Services Celebrates Success of Employment and Training Pilot Program

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Meg Snead and JEVS Human Services (JEVS) management and interns celebrated the successful completion of the Work Ready Direct Support Professional (DSP) Innovation Pilot, an initiative that connected pilot participants with the training needed for secure employment in this vital field.

DSPs are people who provide direct support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities so that they can participate fully in daily life at home and in their community. PSDs are essential to help people with disabilities increase their independence.

“Direct support professionals are the backbone of the social service infrastructure, helping people to live in their homes and communities with dignity and independence. However, like so many other sectors, the direct support profession has been hit hard by the effects of the pandemic,” Acting Secretary Snead said. “Caring workforce is essential and touches all of our lives. By investing time, resources and training upfront, we know that not only are we preparing people to succeed in their jobs, but we are helping to ensure that members of our communities who need direct support can receive it. ”

The Work Ready DSP Innovation Pilot has created a new pathway for a DSP career. JEVS Work Ready, also supported by DHS, helps Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients prepare, train, and connect to family support jobs and provides skills and social supports to help them prepare for and succeed in the job market.

“JEVS was proud to partner with DHS to create a stronger pathway for our Work Ready participants to join the workforce as DSPs,” said Cynthia Figueroa, President and CEO of JEVS. “This innovative project helped remove barriers to becoming a DSP and helped connect qualified candidates to jobs.”

The minimum qualification for entry-level DSP roles is a high school diploma. However, other requirements such as a driver’s license and computer skills present barriers for otherwise qualified individuals. The JEVS pilot sought to remove these barriers by offering financial incentives for completing various parts of the program, a peer and supervisor mentorship program, and helping trainees navigate requirements such as background checks, And much more. Upon completion of the program, qualified applicants were matched directly with job openings, with a starting salary of $15/hour plus benefits.

JEVS Human Services (JEVS) is a nonprofit organization, with services in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. JEVS helps people become independent, graduate, find a job and live on their own. The organization creates innovative and sustainable solutions to meet current and future needs, prioritizing efforts that grow the economy and make our communities safer.

More information about working as a direct support professional can be found on the DHS website.

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