Major Ohio Provider Koinonia Homes Signs 3-Year Contract to Use CDS Curriculum and Elsevier Performance Manager Tools


Koinonia Homes Inc., (Koinonia) has signed a three-year contract with Elsevier/College of Direct Support (CDS) to use the College of Direct Support online curriculum and Elsevier’s Performance Manager for staff training and development. Koinonia is the largest private provider of services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout all of Cuyahoga County, OH. Koinonia’s home office is located in Independence, OH serving over 75 locations throughout the county.

Koinonia (coin-o-NEE-yah) is a rich, complex word of Greek origin and when translated to English means “fellowship.” Koinonia employs over 500 employees of which 400 are Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). The agency provides long-term care services to individuals living in 21 group homes (24/7 care); 50 supported living sites; and three Host Homes. In addition to residential services, The Center at Koinonia serves day support, vocational and career needs. Koinonia’s residential, day, vocational, and career programs support 424 participants.

“We are very excited about offering CDS to our DSPs and giving them the tools and experience they need to provide quality supports to the individuals we serve,” said Jason Umstot, Vice President of Programs and Organizational Learning at Koinonia. “We believe that by utilizing CDS in a blended approach with our classroom and compliance training that some of our classroom training will be reduced and our staff will have a more hands-on visual learning experience without compromising the lesson objectives.”

Nancy Disbrow, Koinonia’s Vice President/Human Resources, will use all Elsevier’s Performance Manager (EMP) tools available to track training at Koinonia. “We were looking for a web-based evaluation and tracking system to use along with our training and we discovered that CDS and Elsevier offer that product at a very reasonable cost,” she said.

Disbrow said that Koinonia’s DSP turnover averages 30% to 35%, which is lower than the industry average. “But we think that is still not low enough and with CDS and the Performance Manager it could be lower,” she said. “Everything new we do here involves technology, so having a one-stop shop LMS for our content and performance tracking makes a lot of sense to us.”

Umstot said the quality and the variety of content is one of the main things that they like and appreciate about CDS. “We’ll be using it for our compliance training and in our new employee orientation process and as an additional resource to educate our staff. We have a lot of new young employees coming to work with us and they are tech savvy and like using CDS and this new technology,” he said.

The EPM is an easy-to-use, online performance and learning management solution with tools to streamline communication, as well as identify, track and resolve issues with staff education, performance and competencies. It also is geared toward improving staff by providing tools that streamline day-to-day tasks, help optimize safety, and encourage innovation and collaboration. The EPM offers enhanced performance assessment and tracking, goal management, record keeping, and reporting features and standardizes competencies, allows an agency to conduct peer reviews, and establish development action plans for career growth and personal improvement.

“Our plan is to use all of the tools within the Performance Module to track and improve our staff performance and our communications,” Disbrow said. “We’ve also been moving toward implementing a career ladder and CDS and the Performance Manager will make that a reality now.”

When Koinonia Homes, Inc. first opened its doors in 1974 to eight women at Leans House, its supporters believed that with guidance and assistance, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities could participate in everyday community life and be contributing citizens in a meaningful way. Since then, Koinonia has grown exponentially, increasing the types of services provided and the number of people served.

To learn more about Koinonia Homes, you can visit its website at

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