SUNY Morrisville partners with ACHIEVE to help strengthen New York’s direct support professional workforce

Published date
1:30 p.m.

SUNY Morrisville’s Norwich Campus has partnered with local organization, ACHIEVE, to help strengthen New York’s direct support professional workforce.  

The move follows a recent announcement from SUNY regarding schools partnering with the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) through a direct support microcredential program that will provide training leading to national certification in the field of developmental disabilities. 

“SUNY is proud to participate in this partnership with OPWDD to support the state’s existing direct support professionals and provide a pathway for individuals new to the field to start out grounded in certification from the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals,” said State University of New York Chancellor John B. King, Jr. in a news release.  

Participants will earn national certification from the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) through NADSP-accredited microcredentials. 

“This grant gives SUNY Morrisville the opportunity to take a leadership role in providing education to direct support professionals across the Southern Tier through our partnership with ACHIEVE,” said Julanne Burton, assistant professor of social science and coordinator of the Human Services Program and the Human Services Institute. 

A chapter of The Arc New York, ACHIEVE’s mission is to advocate for an enhanced quality of life through skill advancement, inclusion, integration and independence of persons with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities through services provided in Broome, Chenango and Tioga Counties.

“Within the SUNY/OPWDD grant we can offer free courses to 35 students per semester for the next four semesters,” Burton said. ACHIEVE has filled all 35 spots for this semester and currently has a list of employees waiting to register for future openings.  

About the grant

The SUNY/OPWDD grant is designed to provide education to professionals who are providing direct support to vulnerable populations, including children, youth and adults, diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  

“This partnership provides college courses that will enhance the knowledge, understanding and skill levels required to provide high-quality services to individuals who are dependent on others to achieve their highest level of functioning and best quality of life possible,” Burton said. “Their quality of life is dependent on the high-quality support they receive from direct support professionals.”  

Supported through $5 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan, the microcredential program aims to assist direct support staff already working in the profession and those new to the developmental disabilities field in earning college credits that meet requirements for certification from  NADSP. Students will be able to secure national certification and college credit toward a certificate or associate degree in human services, or a bachelor’s degree in human services leadership at SUNY Morrisville. The grant program covers tuition, certification, fees, books and student support, and students can earn a one-time $750 stipend.

“This is the first of what we hope will be many multi-campus applications of SUNY’s microcredential program to help address an urgent workforce need,” Chancellor King said. 

About SUNY’s Microcredential Program

This fall, SUNY will offer nearly 600 microcredentials at 51 of its 64 campuses. Microcredentials are smaller, academic- and skills-focused credentials that can be completed in months, not years. SUNY’s program is designed to provide earners with immediate workforce-ready skills, knowledge and experience, while also providing a pathway to additional credentials, certificates and degrees. Recognized with the inaugural Business Council of New York State Workforce Innovation Award in Higher Education, SUNY microcredentials increase access to higher education by providing another pathway for New Yorkers to earn the credentials they need to meet their academic and career goals, all while collaboratively meeting the needs of New York businesses and industry.