Pennsylvania State Senator Art Haywood
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 9, 2022
Philadelphia, PA – Today, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Meg Snead and leadership and participants from JEVS Human Services’ (JEVS) celebrated the successful completion of the Work Ready Direct Support Professional (DSP) Innovation Pilot Project, an initiative that connected people participating in the employment and training program with training necessary to secure employment in this essential field. DSPs are individuals who provide direct support to individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities so that they can fully participate in every day live at home and in the community. DSPs are essential to helping individuals with disabilities increase their independence.
“Direct support professionals are the backbone of the human services infrastructure, helping people live at home and in their 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,” said Acting Secretary Snead. “The caring workforce is essential and touches all our lives. By investing time, resources, and training at the beginning, we know that we are not only preparing people to be successful in their jobs, but we are helping to ensure that those in our communities who need direct support will be able to receive it.”
The Work Ready DSP Innovation Pilot Project created a new pathway for a career as a DSP. JEVS Work Ready, also supported by DHS, helps those Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients prepare, train, and connect to family-sustaining jobs and provides skills and social supports to help them prepare for and succeed and in the workforce. Work Ready and other employment and training programs
“JEVS was proud to partner with DHS to build a stronger pathway for our Work Ready participants to join the workforce as a DSP,” said Cynthia Figueroa, JEVS President and CEO. “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 to otherwise qualified individuals. The JEVS pilot project sought to remove those barriers by offering financial incentives to complete various parts of the program, a peer and supervisor mentorship program, and helping trainees navigate requirements like background checks, and much more. When they completed the program, qualified candidates were directly connected to job openings, with starting pay at $15/hour plus benefits.
About JEVS Human Services:
JEVS Human Services (JEVS) is a nonprofit organization, with services in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. JEVS helps people become independent, graduate, get jobs, and live on their own. The organization creates innovative and sustainable solutions to address 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.
MEDIA CONTACT: Heather Keafer, JEVS, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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