In the fall of 2020 the ACL launched a competition to strengthen the direct support professional (DSP) workforce to increase the overall stability of home- and community-based services (HCBS) for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD). The Blazing New Trails for Community-Based Direct Support Professionals Challenge called on innovators to develop and pilot models that will transform the DSP workforce.
The challenge is divided into a series of phases that include proposal, testing, and review. In Round 1, teams submitted concepts that describe their proposed solution, approach, and team experience. Five teams advanced to Round 2, where they conducted small-scale feasibility testing on their proposed solutions.
The winners of the second round of the prize challenge are:
- Able South Carolina: Reimagining the Role of Direct Service Professionals
- The Collaborative for Citizen Directed Supports - NJ: Mapping the Way to Self-Directed Services
- RCM of Washington, Inc.: The DSP Academy – Building an Inclusive Direct Support Professional Workforce
From August through October 2021, these organizations will compete for the Grand Prize in Round 3 by examining the long-term sustainability of the solution models. The Grand Prize winner will be announced in October 2021, during National Disability Employment Awareness Month.