Session Overview

Discover more about an innovative program aimed at training people with disabilities to become certified Direct Support Professionals (DSP). “The DSP Academy”, is a customized vocational training program that creates opportunity at the crossroads of two critical issues facing our field: the workforce shortage of DSPs & high unemployment rates for people with disabilities. RCM was facing high DSP turnover rates while hearing from self-advocates that they wanted meaningful employment. Through a partnership with the DC Department of Disability Services the DSP Academy was realized. The academy models theories of employment first, demonstrating through actions that people with disabilities are workers & contributors. RCM used principals of customized employment to create a program that starts with discovery, uses individualized training techniques, & ends with intentional job matching & job development. 

Presented By: Susan Brooks

Susan Brooks is a graduate of Bowling Green State University and is the Chief Innovations Officer at RCM of Washington. Prior to taking on this role Susan served as the Operations Manager for 5 years. Growing up with a sister who had Cerebral Palsy, she found her passion supporting and advocating for people with disabilities early in life.  

Currently, Susan runs numerous customized programs within RCM such as The DSP Academy, Guided Group Discovery, #ReadytoWork, and others. 

Susan is actively involved with the Coalition of Disability Service Providers, the ANCOR Leadership Academy and the Person-Centered Thinking Community of Practice. She currently sits on the Restrictions Control Review Committee (RCRC) at the Department on Disability Services and Special Olympics DC Family Engagement Committee.  


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