Frontline Initiative DSP Recognition

Watching the Movement Grow:
An NADSP Chapter President Catches the Spark


Bridget Siljander is president of the Direct Support Professionals Association of Minnesota (DSPAM).

On May 8-9, 2008, partners and members of NADSP attended the National Symposium on Strengthening the HCBS Direct Service Workforce (DSW) in Baltimore. Among them was Bridget Siljander, president of DSPAM, the NADSP chapter in Minnesota. Here are some of her reflections on the DSW Symposium, taken from a piece she wrote on the NADSP blog at

At the DSW Symposium, I discovered there are DSPs in leadership and that we are being invited to the table as valued stakeholders, along with a great variety of other stakeholders, to address the workforce issues that affect our whole communities. 

I was impressed by the growing respect for DSPs as a group that this signified. Now is the time for DSPs to step up, speak up, and join the emerging DSP leadership. Our movement needs momentum and we must call on all DSPs to become part of it.

I also learned that there is tremendous energy gathering around the workforce issues – from DSPs to researchers to policymakers to providers to bureaucrats. We need to take full advantage of the opportunities available to us today by getting better organized, by forming partnerships, and by working together to solve workforce issues. The time for DSPs is now!