Research Shows Benefits of Training Include Decreased Turnover Among DSPs


At a recent Leadership Summit sponsored by the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), researchers from the Institute of Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Minnesota presented their findings from a five-year study to evaluate the effectiveness of comprehensive competency based training intervention that utilized the DirectCourse/College of Direct Support (CDS).

The study, The Effects of a Competency Based Training Intervention for Direct Support Professionals on Site Level Organizational Outcomes, Learner Outcomes and Service Recipient Outcomes was conducted at the University of Minnesota’s Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC). It was funded by the National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation Research.

The study was broken into two groups, the “control” and “intervention” group. Both were observed over the course of one year. The direct suppoort professionals (DSPs) in the control group received the training traditionally provided by the organization. The intervention group of direct support professionals (DSPs) accessed CDS on-line training modules in conjunction with individual mentoring and group discussion. Among other revelations, the study found that turnover rates among DSPs dropped significantly during the study.

“Among DSPs, turnover is very high,” observes Dr. Amy Hewitt, Director at the RTC. “Because of this, organizations are forced to allocate a lot of financial and human resources to find new people. It can be a constant drain.”

Hewitt points out that finding stability is important. Not just from a budget perspective, but the existing staff become overburdened. “Because they’re short-staffed, they’ll have more responsibility,” Hewitt says. “They still have to provide the same level of support to people with disabilities. They pick up more shifts, working overtime, working with people they’re not familiar with, a constant churn of people.”

During the study, the control group actually saw a 2.9% increase in turnover, whereas the intervention group—using CDS online training—saw a 13.5% decrease.

Decreased turnover among DSPs trained with the DirectCourse/College of Direct Support online curriculum was among the many benefits the study observed. “Training and having a well qualified and skilled workforce does produce better outcomes,” Hewitt says.

For specific questions about this research, please contact Derek Nord at:

For more information about the College of Direct Support, please visit:

For more information on the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), please visit:

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