Employment & Community First

Watch this video to find out what it means to be a direct support professional.

Employment and Community First CHOICES

Employment and Community First CHOICES is an integrated and person-centered program that aligns with incentives toward  promoting and supporting integrated, competitive employment and  independent living as the first and preferred option for individuals  with an Intellectual Disability and/or Developmental Disability.

Currently there are 3 Benefit Groups

  • Group 4- Essential Family Supports – focus on people who live at home with their families
  • Group 5 – Essential Supports for Employment and Independent Living- focus on people who are 21 or older who are living or want to live independently and pursue employment and community living goals
  • Group 6 – Comprehensive Supports for Employment and Community Living - focus on people who are 21 or older who need a more comprehensive level of support to meet their employment and community living goals

The employment supports target a “pathway” to employment and career planning, focused on services that meet people wherever they are in their employment: from exploring their interests and skills, to on-the-job supports, to career advancement. Also, there are supports to individuals and families toward independence and integration and accessing decision-making supports.

People who need more comprehensive supports, there are benefits that recognizes exceptional medical and behavioral needs, and offers residential services that may include up to 24-hour support, in addition to the employment and community services offered in the other benefit packages.

Employment and Community First CHOICES is an integrated and person-centered program.

Example of a Direct Support Professional (DSP) Job Summary

We are looking for a responsible, caring, and compassionate direct support professional (DSP) to join our growing team. The ideal job candidate will be highly dependable and have a passion for helping those with physical and/or mental disabilities live a more fulfilled and happy life. Working one-on-one with each client, you will assess his/her needs and tend to them accordingly with the goal of fostering a positive, encouraging environment.

Direct Support Professional Job Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Be a personal companion to your clients and act as a supportive friend serving their needs and working to build their independence
  • Encourage and foster individuals’ preferred hobbies and interests
  • Assist with and work to strengthen the individuals’ many daily living needs including but not limited to: nutrition, hygiene, exercise, communication and socialization skills
  • Help individuals to bathe, groom and dress, eat and drink if necessary, always working to improve self-reliance
  • Create daily schedules and plans for clients
  • Help set individual goals and track client progress, noting any drastic changes; report findings to superiors
  • Make phone calls and drive clients to appointments, meetings, events, etc.
  • Encourage individual skill development and work towards community integration
  • Develop meaningful relationships and connections with your clients to make them feel cared for and included in the community
  • Follow all health and safety protocol
  • Help clean and tidy home for the individuals
  • Attend continued education courses, training and get further certified as the job requires
  • Be a compassionate, patient and encouraging support professional at all times; you are a caregiver, cheerleader and advocate rolled into one and your work can change the lives of many for the better

Direct Support Professional Requirements and Qualifications

  • Minimum high school diploma or GED equivalent
  • Valid driver’s license
  • CPR certification
  • Pass state background check (dependent on state requirements)
  • Comfortable working independently and can consistently make good judgements that benefit the client
  • Flexible, with a keen ability to handle stress well
  • A friendly disposition with a positive ‘can-do’ attitude
  • Computer literate and technologically savvy
  • Experience tracking and recording information
  • Enjoys working with developmentally disabled individuals to improve their quality of life
  • Can quickly manage stressful situations responsibly and effectively
  • Strong interpersonal skills and passionate about helping those in need
  •  Ability to move and stand for prolonged periods and frequently perform physically demanding tasks

Below is the list of Direct Support Professional (DSP) job opportunities in Tennessee by region   

Statewide

Middle

East

West

East and Middle

West and Middle

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