Here at the Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities, we rely on our provider partners to support the people that we serve. Our employees at the board oversee and coordinate the services, while direct support professionals, either employed through an agency or as an independent provider, work with people with developmental disabilities directly. These services can vary from taking someone to the grocery store to learn about shopping for healthy food, to assisting with personal care tasks, or even supporting them as they learn a new job.
These direct support professionals are front-line workers, just like other healthcare professionals, but their jobs are not based in hospitals or nursing homes. Their work takes place in apartments and homes in our community, and at workplaces where people with disabilities are working alongside everyone else. We are so grateful for each and every person who has dedicated their careers to working with people with disabilities.
As we continue through this pandemic, we see our direct support professionals work tirelessly and creatively to continue to meet the needs of the people they are tasked with supporting. They know that even with the pandemic, they are essential workers, and vital to the people that rely on them for everyday support.
The Shelby County Board of DD and our provider partners across the region are desperately searching for more direct support professionals. As this pandemic continues, so does the need for people who support individuals with disabilities in our community.
I started my career in this field as a direct support professional over 20 years ago. I’m grateful for where my experiences have led me, and grateful to have been a part of so many lives. If you are interested in this rewarding career path, the Shelby County Board of DD can help you get started. Please call Amy Berger, provider and employment support coordinator, at 937-658-6740, and we will assist you. Make sure to follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/shelbydd.org.
The writer is the superintendent of the Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities.