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PORT HENRY | On Friday, Dec. 1, the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities announced that 50 direct support professionals employed by Mountain Lake Services received credentials through the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) E-Badge Academy.
The E-Badge Academy offers Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) and Frontline Supervisors (FLS) the ability to earn national certification through stackable electronic badges. These badges demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and values that these professionals use every day, recognizing the professional development that might otherwise go unacknowledged.
“It is so important to our direct support recruitment efforts that DSPs be acknowledged for the professionals that they are, while providing a way to demonstrate competency and skill-building in the field,” said Office for People With Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Kerri Neifeld. “We know that DSPs who have this additional training feel more empowered in the support they provide to people. Mountain Lake Services has been a true partner in this effort with their willingness to participate and encouragement of their DSPs to take this next step in what we hope continues to be a rewarding and fulfilling career path.”
As the Chapter of The Arc New York in Essex County, the history of Mountain Lake Services is one of evolution, expansion and individual focus. Beginning in 1967 with 15 North Country citizens concerned with the lack of supports for people with disabilities, deciding to form a committee to address these needs, continuing with the opening of Essex Industries and local group homes in 1974, never looking back from that time forward, Mountain Lake Services is a fascinating story with many chapters, many highlights, all involving inclusion, independence, and success. Mountain Lakes Services’ mission is to partner with people of all abilities to live their very best lives. Its vision is to be an inspirational model for advancing people’s journey through excellence, innovation, and connections.
“The leadership at Mountain Lake Services saw, early on, the value in a career ladders program. In fact, that began their journey well before the OPWDD-funded opportunity became available,” said Joe Macbeth, President/CEO of The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals. “As an early adopter of NADSP’s E- Badge Academy, the organization has clearly demonstrated how critically important it is to recognize the skills of their direct support professionals and they have invested time and resources in making it work – that’s leadership.”
The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) certification program provides national recognition for the contributions and competence of Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) who apply for and meet the certification standards. The DSP certification (DSP-I, DSP-II, and DSP-III) acknowledges direct support professionals for their exemplary work in supporting people with disabilities and recognizes the knowledge, skills and values of direct support professionals, through participation in the NADSP E-Badge Academy. By earning individual electronic badges based on specific core competencies and hours of completed accredited education,direct support professionals have control and flexibility in their path of pursuing Certification.
“At Mountain Lake Services, we are proud to invest in the professional growth and development of our DSPs,” said Mountain Lake Services Executive Director Jack Mudge. “Being chosen for the New York State Credentialing Pilot Program has been a great opportunity for our organization. By participating in the NADSP Credentialing Program, we are ensuring that our team members are further equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to provide exceptional care to the individuals they support.”
The organizations employing credentialed DSPs can provide stronger assurances of quality to people supported and can proudly market their employment of nationally certified staff. People receiving supports from certified DSPs will have the advantage of partnering with highly trained professionals committed to supporting them using theethical and effective interventions that they have mastered. The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) provides high-quality person-centered supports and services to people with developmental disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders and other neurological impairments. OPWDD provides services directly and through a network of over 600 not-for-profit providers. OPWDD’s mission is to help people with developmental disabilities live richer lives that include meaningful relationships, good health, personal growth, and a home within their community.
“It is great to see that OPWDD Commissioner Neifeld is committed to supporting the education and credentialing of our DSPs,” Mudge continued. “I thank her for visiting Mountain Lake Services to recognize and honor them. This recognition is well-deserved as the DSPs play a crucial role in fulfilling our mission of partnering with people of all abilities to live their very best lives. We look forward to seeing the positive impact this program will have on our team members and the individuals we serve.”