High Quality Training that Goes Beyond State Lines

Community Options, Inc. is a national nonprofit that provides housing and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. In recent years their service area has been growing and they now offer services in 11 states. While this expanded reach is fortunate for the organization and the communities it serves, the leadership team knew they needed to provide high quality training to meet all the requirements across states.

Community Options values training and development programs to help ensure their disability support professionals are well equipped for their roles, driving a significant positive impact for them and the individuals living with disabilities that they support. In researching their ideal vendor partner, Community Options prioritized education that would be nationally consistent yet also suitable to meet state-specific and federal requirements.

Their evaluation process led them to select DirectCourse and its College of Direct Support (CDS). DirectCourse is an online training curricula designed to educate and empower the direct service workforce to help others lead meaningful lives within their communities.

DirectCourse Impact

Michelle Horvath is the national training coordinator for Community Options and utilizes DirectCourse as part of annual competencies and onboarding trainings across the organization. Horvath commented on why the CDS content was a good fit,

“We saw the robust curriculum College of Direct Support had to offer, along with its flexibility of online courses, as a positive addition to help train and develop our current and new staff.”

She also indicated that DirectCourse has a userfriendly interface and experience. This has helped to enhance training initiatives and increase staff retention by providing staff with content and training or employment development opportunities. “It is easy to use and customize with needed features. CDS has provided tools for learners and instructors to communicate and collaborate with each other, such as discussion forums.”

Customizable and Relevant Content

The Community Options team finds the CDS content to be consistent yet customizable for each state, and valuable for both administrators and learners. Horvath said, “CDS has a robust content library and offers a good variety so our team can modify and customize to learners’ needs and impact them in a positive way. We have heard positive feedback on the trainings.” Lisa Smith, vice president of compliance at Community Options, added,

“When we identify areas where employees may need improvement, one of the first things we like to do is look at the CDS courses and see what is available. Or when we see employees looking for career growth, we offer them courses such as supervisory trainings.”

In addition to being able to easily provide the content to learners, Smith mentioned she values the reporting functionality to assist in compliance. Her team can provide reporting for completion of content and competence as well. The transcripts and reports are extremely helpful in meeting federal requirements such as the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) settings rule.

Focus on Flexible Training

Like most organizations, Community Options needed to rethink their approach to education in 2020. Horvath noted,

“With the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic, College of Direct Support offered the opportunity for learners to gain the skills and knowledge remotely.”

Even as in-person trainings have resumed, Community Options is utilizing the online training option more than ever before, as they have come to value the flexibility for their learners. The opportunity to assign training for completion either on the learner’s schedule or during
orientation has improved satisfaction and compliance.

Partnering for the Future

DirectCourse is proud to have partnered with Community Options for over 12 years through their ongoing growth. Likewise, Smith added,

“The partnership we have with DirectCourse has been helpful in rolling out the program to new areas as well as integrating it with our human resources system.”

Community Options looks forward to continuing the partnership, noting the DirectCourse customer support team has helped their team understand ways to expand and optimize their current and future use of the program. In addition to College of Direct Support, Community Options also subscribes to the DirectCourse curricula: College of Frontline Supervision, Management and Leadership. Learn more about
all curricula offered through DirectCourse at directcoursecatalog.com.