Direct Support Professionals’ Training

Chapter

Polus is in the process of developing a comprehensive virtual “Direct Support Professionals” training program that will prepare people who are unemployed and underemployed in central MA and greater Boston to obtain one of the thousands of Health Care & Social Assistance positions in these regions. The goal is to increase the number of diverse and qualified candidates to fill critical human service job openings.

These entry level positions offer excellent training opportunities and career pathways and meaningful, rewarding work that is critical to thousands of MA residents, including seniors, people with developmental and physical disabilities, and those who receive housing and homelessness, mental health, and addiction services. Health Care and Social Assistance is one of the top priorities in both the Central MA and Greater Boston Regional Blueprints.

The Direct Support Professionals course is a 6-week virtual training to be offered six times, that equips graduates to reach the main goal of supporting people to live independently and to remain connected in their community.

Each week includes two days on topics such as Medication Administration Program (MAP) Overview; Respecting Human Rights; Communication; Privacy; Incident Prevention; De-escalation and Management, COVID-19 Safety Protocols, First Aid/CPR/AED Certification, Professionalism and Ethics, Disability Awareness, Case Note Management; Neutral Writing; Mandated Reporting; General Safety Awareness; Fire Safety; Defensive Driving; Bloodborne Pathogens and Infection Control; Ergonomics; Patient Lifts Life Skills; Cooking and Nutrition; Financial Literacy and Budgeting; Computer Basics and Online Security. The Core Competencies for direct support human service professionals are broken down into seven goal areas (Putting People First; Building and Maintaining Positive Relationships; Demonstrating Professionalism; Supporting Good Health; Supporting Safety; Supporting Individuals in Their Homes; and Being Active and Productive in Society).

The 3rd day each week includes modules taught by Keystone Human Services (link to https://www.khs.org) entitled "The Power of Roles," introducing the critical constructs of person-centered planning and Social Role Valorization (SRV), important human services theories seldom taught before people are hired which give candidates a distinctive hiring advantage; presentations from MassHire; and presentations by a variety of human service professionals, including opportunities for job seekers to introduce themselves to hiring managers.

This program will help job seekers overcome barriers, build professional skills, and transition successfully into entry level positions in behavioral health/human services. It is a chance for Polus Center to help fill critical jobs and provide a pathway for job seekers interested in this type of work, and as importantly, we can share with new direct care professionals the philosophies of social role valorization that are fundamental to the work that we do.