Like most of the nation, NJ faces a crisis-level shortage of Direct Support Professionals who provide critical services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In 2022, NJ passed legislation to establish an education and career pathway program for DSPs to be administered by the Consortium.
The Direct Support Professionals Career Development Program includes:
- The NJ DSP Career Center, housed at the New Jersey Association of Community Providers, which provides resources to help current and prospective DSPs across the state learn about careers, education and training opportunities, and programs like the Community College Opportunity Grant to support enrolling in community college to earn degrees and credentials to support career advancement.
- The DSP Fellowship Pilot Program, located at Bergen Community College and Rowan College of South Jersey, which combines the National DSP Certification Program with college-level courses, work-based learning experiences, and agency partnerships to ensure job placement upon program completion. The DSP Fellowship Pilot Program is available to high school students, community college students, and individuals pursuing a career change, with tuition and fees covered by state funding, as well as $5,000 stipends available to students who become DSP Fellows when they enroll in the program.
Both components of the DSPCDP provide existing and prospective DSPs educational programming and experiences that help them build skills and competencies while working in the field and furthering their educational and professional development.
For more information on the DSP Career Center, click here.
For more information on the DSP Fellowship Program at Bergen Community College, click here.
For more information on the DSP Fellowship Program at Rowan College of South Jersey, click here.
The Direct Support Professionals Career Development Program is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education.