SUNY Orange receives $1.21M SUNY DSP grant

Middletown. The funds will support the development of a direct support professionals microcredential.

| 02 Apr 2024 | 04:54

SUNY Orange has received a nearly $1.21 million grant from the State University of New York (SUNY), in partnership with the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP), to create a “microcredential.”

“SUNY Orange recognizes the shortage of available credentialed direct support professionals throughout New York State, and we are excited to join with community college colleagues across SUNY to support this statewide initiative to assist those in our community who are most reliant on access to direct service professionals,” said Dr. Erika Hackman, SUNY Orange provost.

On March 20, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the award as part of a new $32 million round of statewide DSP investments.

Pending final internal approval this semester, SUNY Orange will begin offering online courses in the DSP microcredential this summer. The curriculum will reportedly be a blend of college-level coursework and hands-on experiential learning opportunities with agencies that serve the greater Orange County community. It will help direct support professionals who serve those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

According to the collage, students will earn a national certification from NADSP for DSP-I and DSP-II courses. Following the rollout of DSP-I and DSP-II curricula, the college will seek necessary approvals to offer DSP-III certifications as well. Credits earned through the DSP microcredential will be transferrable to degree and certificate programs at participating academic institutions within and outside of New York.

“I also applaud Cory Harris and Nolly Climes from our Human Services Department, as well Academic Associate Vice President Stacey Moegenburg and the rest of our academic affairs leadership, for quickly developing a proposed curriculum that will lead students through the three levels of nationally recognized DSP certifications.”

SUNY Orange says this microcredential will provide students with “a comprehensive understanding of: the foundation of human behavior; treatment; psychological disorders; the helping process; person-centered practices; crisis intervention; therapeutic relationships; safety; respectful verbal, non-verbal and written communication; cultural competency; empowerment and advocacy; and ethical decision-making.”

Grant funding for this initiative, totaling $1,209,949, will cover tuition, books, course materials, NADSP credentialing for students, and educational support. In addition, the program will offer a $750 incentive to eligible students who successfully complete each level of the microcredential and earn a certification.

The following courses will be offered: DSP-I, Introduction to Human Services and Introduction to Psychology; and DSP-II, Human Services Field Experience, and Technical Writing.

For more information, contact SUNY Orange Human Services Coordinator Nolly Climes at or 845-341-4139.