The Occupational Development Center (ODC) in Crookston celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of the many direct support professionals working within the organization all throughout the year and would like to highlight them during Direct Support Professional (DSP) Recognition Week, Sept. 8-14.
ODC is a nonprofit organization specializing in employment skills development and support for individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment, working with community businesses to provide options for inclusive and sustainable employment that result in greater independence.
Direct support professionals at ODC go by many titles, such as job coach, program specialist, instructor, or employment specialist. They work directly with individuals to mentor and develop their true vocational strengths and potential. This is dependent on close partnerships with businesses and other community providers to create employment options for clients to experience work in a highly integrated setting.
What qualities make a great DSP?
"Anybody can be a direct support professional. This job is about compassion and passion. It's about caring for individuals. It's about wanting to see others become successful," said Beth Green, ODC employment specialist. "The best part of my job is when I meet a new person and I get to find him or her a job and they become successful in community employment for the first time ever."
"I think to be a direct support professional, it’s important to have patience," said Angela Newman, ODC job coach. "To be able to see things from many different points of view ... and to be able to talk to very sensitive, vulnerable people very directly. Nobody's pushed them like this before ... you're usually playing a different role than what they've really ever had in their lives. But when they start to build skills and realize that they can do so much more than what's ever been expected of them, and start being appreciated for things they've never been appreciated for before—they get so much confidence. That's my favorite part of the job."
ODC employs over 75 DSPs to serve 800 individuals across 11 communities in northern Minnesota.
“We wouldn’t be able to do what we do as an organization if it wasn’t for some of the hardest working DSP’s I have ever met,” said Tori Peterson, Vice President of Programs at ODC. “Thank you for spending time supporting the dreams, visions, goals, and ambitions of the people we serve.”
The Crookston division is located at 310 S Broadway, Suite 7, Crookston, MN 56716 and partners with local businesses and organizations to create employment options for people with barriers to employment.
The Occupational Development Center provides life skills, vocational and employment development services. The organization works closely with community businesses to offer individuals with disabilities an option to experience work in a highly integrated setting.
Comprised of nine divisions located throughout northern MN, ODC is a diversified organization that adapts to regional needs and opportunities. In addition to work preparedness programs, ODC has several production sites offering manufacturing and subcontracted services. To learn more about the organization, please visit odcmn.org.