Direct support professional training brings new career prospects to Isabella County

A new training program developed by Mid Michigan College to address the growing need for direct support professionals has one local nonprofit pledging to hire any of its qualified graduates.

Mid Michigan Industries (MMI) is a private nonprofit organization based in Mt. Pleasant that employs nearly 120 staff servicing Clare, Gratiot, Ionia, Isabella, Mecosta, and Montcalm counties. The organization offers a broad range of services focused on programming, employment opportunities, and other forms of support for people with mental or developmental disabilities.

MMI has committed to hiring any students who complete Mid Michigan College’s Direct Support Professional Short-Term Training. The program is designed to help give students the skills needed to work in direct support professional roles, a field focusing on supporting those with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Amanda Lawson, Communications Specialist for MMI, says working as a direct support professional is a rewarding experience, whether or not people choose to make being a direct support professional (DSP) a lifelong career.

“You know that the work we do here makes a difference every day,” says Lawson, “It’s an incredible opportunity to learn something new, to get to explore things from a different perspective than you’re used to.”

The pledge comes amidst a growing need for more trained direct support professionals in Michigan. A forecast by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy reported that the employment outlook through 2029 for DSPs is predicted to have a rate of growth of 34%.

In a news release, Cherie Johnson, CEO of MMI says that Mid Michigan College listened to the needs of a local business and created a perfect solution to meet the demand for trained, skilled, and professional employees.

The training is available to people new to direct service work and to staff already working in the field. Mid Michigan College partnered with the National Alliance for Direct Service Professionals to assure the training received is nationally recognized.

“Having a recognized credential means better outcomes for the people served at MMI and it helps to professionalize the role of the DSP,” says Johnson. “Too often, the critically important work of these staff is taken for granted.”

To learn more about Mid Michigan Industries Inc., its programming, and other services, visit
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