Gov. Hochul Invests in SUNY Microcredential Program

Photo Courtesy of SUNY

On March 20, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a $32 million investment towards the Direct Support Professional (DSP) micro-credential program offered by the State University of New York (SUNY) system in partnership with the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). 

The announcement, made at Dutchess Community College (DCC), included SUNY Chancellor John B. King Jr., OPWDD Commissioner Kerri E. Neifeld and President Peter Grant Jordan with the DCC community for a recognition ceremony of the college’s first DSP cohort. The investment lets SUNY grow the program on participating campuses and add programs to new campuses, assisting New Yorkers with developmental disabilities  and helping expand the Direct Support Professional (DSP) micro-credential program.

“Every day, direct support professionals help New Yorkers with developmental disabilities thrive in their day-to-day lives,” Gov. Hochul said. “Through this $32 million expansion, we are helping to grow this crucial field and ensure students have the training they need to pursue this vital career path and care for their fellow New Yorkers.” 

The DSP is a program offered by SUNY schools that allows students to earn professional credentials from the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) through accredited micro-credentials. It is a three-tiered program that, upon successful completion, leads to SUNY micro-credentials and college credentials, one or more national certifications and college credit towards certificate, associate and bachelor’s degrees. 

The degrees that benefit through this program include psychology, sociology, addiction and human services. There is also a financial incentive, with $750 being rewarded for students who successfully complete the micro-credentials and earn certification. The separate-grant funding also covers books, tuition, course materials and NADSP credentialing for students and educational support.

The program, which receives federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, has its main goal set on helping to train and keep people who already work in the profession, and those who plan on doing so.  

With $5 million being invested in February 2023 to upgrade the DSP from Gov.Hochul and $20 million invested earlier this year by New York State, the program has been extended to six more SUNY campuses, allowing for more students to enter the program and more New Yorkers with developmental disabilities to feel the benefits. 

SUNY Canton’s President Zvi Szafran said “SUNY Canton is excited to be a partner in SUNY’s expanding partnership with OPWDD. By developing and offering micro-credentials and other stackable credentials designed to expand employment opportunities for the developmental disability community, we enhance skills, unlock opportunities and address workforce needs in our area.” 

The program had 15 students complete the microcredential during the Fall 2023 semester and 173 students participating in the program as of the Spring 2024 semester. Through this expansion, the DSP plans on educating 6,000 students through 2030.