Hochul Celebrates New $5 Million OPWDD & SUNY Partnership

J.M. Lesinski

A shot of Interstate 90 near downtown Buffalo, New York.Photo byPhoto by J.M. Lesinski

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul recently celebrated a new partnership between the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and the State University of New York, expanding on a program that helps enable professionals to secure a microcredential directly associated with developmental disabilities support.

"New Yorkers with developmental disabilities deserve to have the right people with the right training supporting them so they can thrive in their day-to-day lives," Hochul stated of the partnership. "This partnership will further strengthen and professionalize New York's direct support workforce and is yet another example of the actions we are taking to offer career advancement and growth opportunities in this crucial field."

The program will receive $5 million in federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act, enabling it to provide an estimated $750 stipend for qualifying students that successfully complete the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) microcredential and receive certification.

"This investment helps to address our current staffing crisis and in particular the shrinking field of available direct support staff that is adversely affecting people with developmental disabilities and their ability to live fulfilling lives,” remarked Office for People with Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Kerri E. Neifeld of the funding. “By providing needed training, we'll be better able to retain staff and draw from a steady stream of new, highly qualified candidates who are ready to work in direct support and provide the expert services people with developmental disabilities need and depend on."

Participating SUNY campuses will include SUNY Corning, Dutchess Community College, SUNY Empire State College, Finger Lakes Community College, Jefferson Community College, Mohawk Valley Community College, SUNY Morrisville, Niagara County Community College, Onondaga Community College, SUNY Schenectady, and Tompkins Cortland Community College.

"SUNY is proud to partner with OPWDD and National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals to support New York State Direct Support Professionals,” SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. commented of the partnership. “Through our suite of microcredentials, adult learners have access to high-quality education and training, coupled with access to tutoring and other resources to succeed. We recognize the invaluable work our direct support providers do every day, and we are pleased to create new pathways to enter the field, advance careers, and help realize academic goals."

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I have worked as a professional journalist for over five years now, covering the arts, music, food, politics, and culture up and down both coasts of the United States. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY

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