Michigan Employment First Initiative –Direct Support Professional / Recruitment and Retention

Since 2015, Michigan has been the recipient of technical assistance (TA) from the US Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (EFSLMP), to support the objectives stated in Executive Order No. 2015-15 titled Employment First in Michigan, which established an Employment First policy priority.

In 2019, the ODEP TA will provide two regional full-day general awareness-raising and knowledge acquisition trainings providing a comprehensive overview of research-informed best and evidence-based organizational practices to maximize retention and recruitment of direct service professionals (DSPs). The TA will also provide targeted intensive technical assistance on provider transformation, to ensure it incorporates DSP stabilization and investment, to three community rehabilitation organizations which currently provide services which include facility-based employment services, and which serve persons with mental illness and intellectual/developmental disabilities. The technical assistance will result in development of a workforce stabilization and investment plan with immediate, short-term, and long-terms goals. This plan will be incorporated into the overall provider transformation plan and will result in specific changes in organizational culture, model and/or practices which are correlated with increased retention, recruitment, job satisfaction and job performance among the DSP workforce, including specifically the direct support professionals who provide competitive, integrated employment supports.

Vision Statement: All persons with disabilities in Michigan will realize their fullest employment potential through the achievement of individual, competitive integrated employment outcomes.

Mission Statement: The purpose of Employment First is to maximize opportunities for persons with disabilities to achieve independence and economic self-sufficiency, promoting individual competitive integrated employment through a collaborative, seamless service model.

Values: Employment First partners believe that employment:

  • Results in independence and economic self-sufficiency;
  • Create inclusion in other community activities;
  • Enriches local communities through a diverse workforce and promotes economic development; and,
  • Enhances purpose, dignity, self-esteem, a sense of accomplishment and pride;

Employment First Initiative DSP stabilization and investment goals:

  • increase competitive, integrated employment for persons served by 5%
  • increase the number of youth and adults receiving CIE and community-based individualized non-work services by 5%.
  • decrease the turnover rate of the direct service workforce providing employment services by 10%

DSP-Flyer (PDF)

DSP-Flyer (Word)


DSP-App (Word)