Imagine engaging an architect to create plans for the perfect house to fill all your needs.... You are excited about turning this dream into a reality…but then discovering there is no one to do the excavation for the foundation. Also, there is only one carpenter to work on the frame...and that craftsman can only work 12 hours a week on your project. There is a shortage of plumbers...so you will have to make do with an outhouse until one is available. And an electrician? Sorry...only one is available, and she can work on your house for only a few hours a week. How will your house ever get built? But wait! It gets worse! You see, in the previous example we are merely talking about inconveniences affecting a construction project. The worst case is...you cannot move to your dream house anytime soon. But what if instead of a carpenter, an excavator a plumber and electrician we are talking about Direct Service Professionals needed to help you get out of bed in the morning because your disability prevents you from doing so yourself? What if there is no DSP to help you bathe, dress, or transport you to work? What if there is no one available to help you into bed tonight? Now "inconvenience" becomes "existential,” and you are faced with a huge obstacle to…just living! This is where hundreds of thousands of Americans living with disability find themselves today. They are in desperate need of help, and there is an extreme shortage of individuals trained and qualified to provide that assistance. Our conversation today is with Joseph MacBeth President and CEO of the National Alliance of Direct Service Professionals (NADSP). Joe has worked in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1983 – beginning as a Direct Support Professional. We will hear what his organization is doing on the state and national scene to help alleviate the DSP Crisis.
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