Partnership between NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and SUNY supports the academic and career success of Direct Support Professionals across the state

Dutchess Community College is participating in a grant-funded initiative, which covers educational costs for a Direct Support Professional (DSP) credential program for new and incumbent workers. The first cohort will start classes on August 28, and registration is currently underway with limited spots still available to prospective students.

Designed to advance statewide efforts to retain and grow New York’s direct support workforce critical to providing quality care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the three tiered credential program aligns with national certification standards set forth by the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP). In addition to earning one or more national certifications, students receive college credit that can be applied toward a certificate and/or associate degree in DCC’s Human Services program.

In partnership with NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), SUNY has secured grant funding, which pays for students’ tuition, books, course materials, NADSP credentialing and educational supports. Participants who successfully complete one of the microcredentials are eligible for a one-time $750 incentive.

Instructor and Chair of DCC’s Human Services program Lacie Reilly said, “This is a very exciting opportunity to be able to offer people already pursuing or considering a career in the human services field. By removing financial barriers to education and incentivizing current DSPs, more people will have the support they need to start and continue doing this important work.”

DCC President Dr. Peter Grant Jordan said, “We’re proud to introduce this new program, which stands to make a difference in the lives of many in our community and throughout New York State. As a community college, we are committed to making education accessible and meeting the needs of our students and the broader society. The DSP program does just that.”

For more information about the DSP microcredential program, visit or email Lacie Reilly at