Frontline Initiative Credentialing

PATHS- Ohio's Voluntary Credentialing Program

PATHS Mission

To create a competency-based and credentialed career path for direct support professionals (DSPs).

PATHS Vision

A sufficient, highly-skilled human service workforce encouraging and supporting people with disabilities to lead self-directed lives.

What is PATHS?

  • A collaboration of providers, advocates, individuals with disabilities, family members, state and county representatives, and others committed to improving the direct support workforce in Ohio.
  • Ongoing funding and support from the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council. Additional funding from The Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, The Ohio State Apprenticeship Council, and The Department of Labor.
  • An opportunity for individual and organizational providers to participate in a high-quality affordable training and development program for DSPs.

What is the current status of PATHS?

  • Training and credentialing activities in four regions in Ohio.
  • Agencies and individual providers participate in classes, develop portfolios, and receive support from skills mentors.
  • Instruction, support, portfolio evaluation, and instructors provided by regions.
  • Statewide PATHS provides organization, funding, coordination, and administration.
  • Curriculum developed for Certificate of Initial Proficiency (CIP) and Certificate of Advanced Proficiency (CAP).

Why is PATHS important?

  • Candidates report a change in their attitude toward their work and the people they support.
  • The cost of DSP turnover continues to rise, and is currently over $2,500 per leaver. Candidates are likely to remain with their agency as they become credentialed. Such programs thus provide cost benefits to government, funders, and providers.
  • Such programs foster the development of a professional identity for DSPs and skills mentors.

About the PATHS Credential

  • Based on the Community Support Skills Standards, The NADSP Code of Ethics, and the Minnesota Frontline Supervisor Standards
  • Competency and performance outcomes
  • Clearly articulated guiding principles
  • Skills mentor and portfolio
  • Credential at three levels: DSPRegistered, CIP, and CAP. Advanced certificates in development.

PATHS Outcomes

  • Over 160 DSPs have been awarded CIP or CAP credentials (as of September 2005).
  • Over 100 candidates currently in training.
  • Promotions, pay raises, and increased competency.
  • The program received the 2004 Moving Mountains Award from NADSP for exemplary practice in direct support credentialing efforts.
  • Enhanced status and professional identify for DSPs and frontline supervisors.
  • Collaboration and recognition by the U.S. Department of Labor for apprenticeship.
  • Changes in the lives of the DSPs, frontline supervisors, and people being served.

PATHS Next Steps: Working Together

  • Increased collaboration with other government and private organizations committed to a highly-qualified DSP workforce.
  • Increased accessibility by people needing support, family members, independent providers, and those with other disabilities and needs.
  • Increased awareness and acceptance of apprenticeship.
  • Development of a long-term, sustainable funding base.
  • Increased collaborations with community colleges, vocational high schools, and Workforce Investment Boards.