Workforce Initiatives

Earn up to $1250! Discover how with our DSP Training Stipend Program. For information click here: English | Spanish

DDS’s Workforce Initiatives aim to recruit, train, and retain workers from diverse communities who support individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. Several Workforce Initiatives are being implemented to promote career advancement for Direct Service Professionals (DSPs) through competency-based training, stipends, pay differentials, and ongoing professional development.  These efforts are designed to build a more sustainable workforce, enhance person-centered supports provided by DSPs, and create career pathways for regional center (RC) consumer service coordinators.

DDS Workforce Initiatives Overview

Workforce Initiatives include the following six programs:

  1. RC Employee Tuition Reimbursement Program
  2. DSP Training Stipend Program
  3. Bi-/Multi-Lingual Pay Differential
  4. DSP Internship Program
  5. DSP University & Associated Wage Differentials
  6. Technology Pilot Program

Under the tab for each program on this page, you will find:

  • Eligibility Information
  • Links to RC Guidance on the program
  • Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) documents

The Regional Center (RC) Employee Tuition Reimbursement program provides tuition reimbursement for eligible RC employees to enhance RC services received through increasing subject matter expertise, career advancement options, and improving RC employee retention rates. Qualifying RC employees seeking a degree or certification in a health or human services-related field are eligible to receive up to $10,000 annually, for a maximum of three years. RC employees can maintain program eligibility if they are hired at a different regional center from the RC they originally started with.

Launched March 2023.

Eligibility

  • Who Is Eligible: Regional center employees in good standing, including newly hired employees currently enrolled in an accredited degree or certification program.
  • Eligible Academic Programs: The program shall be from an accredited institution in a health or human services-related field or a degree or certificate that the regional center determines will support or expand their employee’s current employment and career advancement options at the regional center.
  • Concurrent Regional Center Work Requirements: At minimum, participants shall be active part-time employees and meet the regional center’s employee performance standards.
  • Postgraduation Regional Center Work Requirements: In exchange for tuition reimbursement, the employee shall be required to work at the regional center for no less than one year for each year of tuition reimbursement following completion of their degree or certification. The regional center providing the tuition reimbursement shall notify the Department within 30 days of a participant requesting completing this work requirement at a different regional center.  The participant’s new regional center is responsible for subsequent reporting to the Department.

  • Regional Center Employee Tuition Reimbursement Program: English | Spanish PDF

Beginning September 1, 2023, DSPs may receive up to two $625 (before taxes) stipends when they complete online training courses approved by the Department of Developmental Services available in the ARCA Learning Center.  The DSP Training Stipend Program runs through June 30, 2024, and all courses must be completed by that date.

Department approved courses:

Code of Ethics, (required as 1st Training) produced by the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals

An Introduction to Informed Decision-Making for Direct Support Professionals

DSPs and the Home and Community Based Service Settings Rule (HCBS): What You Need to Know

Soft launch April 2023 and fully launched September 2023.

Eligibility Requirements

Participation in the DSP Training Stipend Program is voluntary for the DSP. To be eligible for the training stipend, DSPs, including some frontline supervisors and clinical staff, must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Work as a paid DSP an average of 10 hours or more per week;
  • Perform direct support tasks like skills development, guidance, and personal assistance to individuals served by a regional center as a regular part of their job duties;
  • Spend at least 50% of work hours doing direct support tasks; and
  • Are employed by a regional center vendor, or by a participant in the Self-Determination Program.

For the purpose of this training stipend program, the following are not eligible even if a portion of their work involves providing direct support:

  • Staff paid through a funding source other than the regional center, such as Medi-Cal, health insurance or a school district; with the exception of DSPs working in ICF/DD, ICF/DD-H, and ICF/DD-N, and ICF/DD-CN.
  • Those who only provide intermittent service such as home modification, and/or meal delivery services;
  • Staff hired through temporary personnel agency;
  • Contract or 1099 workers;
  • On-call or PRN workers;
  • Volunteers; and
  • Administrative or supervisory staff, unless they spend 50% or more of their time doing direct support work.

If you are eligible to participate in the DSP Training Stipend Program and wish to participate, please scan here:

QR Code to ARCA

DSP Training Stipend Program Fact Sheet: English | SpanishPDF

DSP Training Stipend Program FAQs: English | SpanishPDF

DSP Training Stipend Payment Inquiries PDF

Workforce Development and Training: Direct Service Professional Training Stipend Program – Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF): English | Spanish PDF

Workforce Development and Training – Direct Service Professional Training Stipend Program: English | SpanishPDF

DDS recognizes the value of effective communication between DSPs and the individuals and families they serve. As such, DDS has established a program that promotes equity in access to services for individuals and their families served through regional centers, by providing a pay differential to DSPs who communicate with individuals in a language or medium other than English.

Initiated Fall 2023.

The DSP Internship Program is a three-month training and internship program that provides standardized, new direct care workforce entry-level training and practical work experience. This program will focus outreach efforts on populations that reflect California’s diverse population and do not traditionally have a pathway towards jobs in the field of providing services to individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Initiated Phase 1A: Fall 2023.

Direct Service Professionals (DSP) University is a competency-based training and certification program for DSPs tied to wage differentials. The DSP University is designed to have three different tiers of enhanced training aimed at promoting services that are person centered, culturally and linguistically sensitive, and that improve outcomes for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.

The DSP University differs from the Direct Support Professional Training (DSPT). For additional information regarding DSPT, visit Direct Support Professional Training, or email ccfdsp@dds.ca.gov.

Anticipated in Spring 2024.

The Department of Developmental Services is developing an exciting new pilot program that will explore the use of technology to deliver remote services and supports to individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities.

Technology services are intended to provide supports and services necessary for individuals to access services remotely and meet the goals identified in their Individual Program Plans. The goal of the program is to provide support of the participant’s individual program plan goals, reduce the need for a direct support person and enable the participant greater independence, inclusion, and quality of life.

Initiated 1st Cohort March 2024.

The Regional Center Employee Tuition Reimbursement Program is for regional center employees who seek a degree or certification in a health or human services-related field. Qualifying regional center employees are eligible to receive up to $10,000 annually for up to three years and may maintain eligibility if they are hired at a different regional center from where they originally established eligibility.

  • Who Is Eligible: Regional center employees in good standing, including newly hired employees currently enrolled in an accredited degree or certification program.
  • Eligible Academic Programs: The program shall be from an accredited institution in a health or human services-related field or a degree or certificate that the regional center determines will support or expand their employee’s current employment and career advancement options at the regional center.
  • Concurrent Regional Center Work Requirements: At minimum, participants shall be active part-time employees and meet the regional center’s employee performance standards.
  • Postgraduation Regional Center Work Requirements: In exchange for tuition reimbursement, the employee shall be required to work at the regional center for no less than one year for each year of tuition reimbursement following completion of their degree or certification. The regional center providing the tuition reimbursement shall notify the Department within 30 days of a participant requesting completing this work requirement at a different regional center.  The participant’s new regional center is responsible for subsequent reporting to the Department.

  • Coming Soon


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Last modified: May 29, 2024