Investing in our Direct Support Professionals - Access Services

Investing in our Direct Support Professionals

Part of creating better outcomes for those we serve is creating better pathways for career development and the future of our employees. Last year we launched our Direct Support Professional (DSP) Credentialing program with this in mind. As frontline staff, our direct support professionals are essential to the services we provide to those we serve. Investing in them is investing in our community. In March 2023, twenty-two employees embarked as a cohort to complete the credentialing program. As of January 2024, eleven participants reached varying levels of credentials within the three tiers of the program with six graduating with all three tiers of the NADSP credentials completed. The first person to graduate from the program, Ashlee McCuen, shared her story of how it has contributed to her career pathway at Access Services.

Ashlee first started with Access Services in October of 2022, she had some experience within the intellectual disability and autism field. The one thing that drove her above all was her passion for helping others. After meeting different clients and other employees at Access Services, she quickly fell in love with her job and decided she wanted to make this her career. This challenged her to find ways to grow in her position at Access Services. Around the same time, the announcement was made about the DSP credentialing program. Ashlee’s supervisor persuaded her to apply. Ashlee knew that it would be a challenge in a lot of ways. She was working full-time, raising her two children, and decided to start pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work in June of 2023. Ashlee was accepted to the program along with twenty-two other Access Services employees.

The DSP Credentialing Program cohort launched in March of 2023. Ashlee had twelve months to earn fifty badges through the National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals (NADSP), which included completing one hundred hours of Relias training and writing forty-two testimonials according to the requirements. Ashlee was determined to complete the credentialing program before her college classes started in June. She ended up getting all three tiers of the program, DSP I, DSP II, and DSP III, completed in just over two months. She was pleasantly surprised to find out that she was the first member of the cohort to complete the entire program. She had achieved her goal!

“Completing the DSP Credentialing program not only helped me to better myself as a DSP for the individuals I support, but it also helped me to realize that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. My supervisor believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. She helped to push and challenge me…” 

After Ashlee’s one-year anniversary of working at Access Services, a new Assistant Supervisor position opened within our In-Home Supports office in Orwigsburg. Ashlee’s supervisor brought the position to her attention and encouraged her to apply. Ashlee applied and interviewed for the job. She hoped to be chosen but knew there were ten other applicants. To her surprise, she was offered the job and immediately accepted. The hiring manager said that her completing the DSP Credentialing program was part of this decision.

“I am so appreciative and grateful for all of the friendships, working relationships, opportunities to further my career, networking, experiences, and support from everyone at Access Services. I never thought I would find a company that cared about its employees as much as they do, and employees who are so friendly and accepting. I am enthusiastic to continue my career with Access Services and work with all of the individuals that are supported by Access Services!”

Share This Post


Get these sent to your inbox.

Subscribe to get these stories emailed to you as soon as they’re posted. Plus, stay up to date on everything happening at access and learn how you can get involved.

More Stories

Subscribe To Our Monthly Newsletter

Stay up to date with what’s happening at Access Services, read inspiring stories, and discover how you can get involved.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.