Program Profile

Impact Feature Issue on Direct Support Workforce Development

Using CDS at Starkey, Inc.

The crisis of workforce development continues to be a challenge: the challenge of hiring the right people, training, nurturing, celebrating and keeping them. Carolyn Risley Hill, CEO at Starkey Inc. in Wichita, Kansas, and her staff are doing everything they can do to make the College of Direct Support (CDS) a significant part of their workforce development efforts. Starkey has 265 employees to support approximately 400 persons with disabilities. Judy Leiker, Starkey’s Training and Development Supervisor, says the CDS is a part of the recruiting and interviewing process for prospective employees. “We tell them about the CDS and our training and let them know up front it will be available for them,” she says. In 2006 Starkey introduced a new incentive program for employees – $25 for completing the first half of the learner’s assigned CDS lessons, $25 for completing the second half, and entry into a drawing for $20 upon completing a module in a calendar month. The workforce is responding. “We really haven’t formally announced this and people are already signing up for the training,” Leiker says. “We are currently not restricting the amount of overtime DSPs work in order to encourage them to complete assigned lessons.” In addition, Starkey is working to institute hourly pay increases and bonuses in the next fiscal year as incentives for more and more employees to complete the CDS training as well as the training in the College of Frontline Management and Supervision. “We’re proud to have the CDS and it continues to make a difference for us,” says Leiker. “A trained workforce is a more stable workforce.”

Contributed by Tom King, CDS, and Judy Leiker, Starkey, Inc. Tom can be reached attking@collegeofdirectsupport.comand toll free at 877/353-2767. Judy can be reached atjleiker@starkey.organd at 316/512-4161.