July 2024
The Moving Mountains Award logo, which also shows the logos of NADSP, ANCOR, and the RTC on Community Living.

The Institute on Community Integration, the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals , and ANCOR recently announced the 2024 Moving Mountains Award will go to Perspectives Corp. and Richcroft, Inc.

Rhode Island-based Perspectives has advocated for a livable wage for DSPs and invested in comprehensive training programs after experiencing substantial increases in staff turnover and burnout even before the 2020 pandemic. The service provider has cut its turnover rate by more than 10 percentage points in the last three years.

Maryland-based Richcroft created an ongoing training organization for DSPs and frontline supervisors. In a survey of individuals Richcroft supports, more than 85% reported they were getting out in their communities as much as they wanted to, compared with a national average of 69%. The result is among several metrics showing promising moves forward for the service provider.

“These organizations have extensive training, credentialing, and recruiting strategies that are fundamentally improving the support that people with disabilities receive in Maryland and Rhode Island,” said Amy Hewitt, director of ICI. “By their example and through sharing what’s working with colleagues, they will influence thousands more DSPs across the country.”

The winners will accept the awards and share details about their workforce initiatives at the September 16 opening plenary of the Reinventing Quality conference in Baltimore. The conference runs September 15-17 at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel.

In a letter accompanying the Perspectives award application, CEO Judith Niedbala called DSPs the “backbone” of the organization’s work. Specifically, its Project Align – DSP Workforce Initiative was created in 2020 to address low wages, high turnover, burnout, and a lack of recognition that DSP work is a profession.

“Everything our organization promises to do could not happen without the hard work and dedication of our DSPs,” Niedbala said in a letter to Moving Mountains coordinators that accompanied the Perspectives application for the award.

A servant-leader approach and the NADSP Code of Ethics form Richcroft’s onboarding, training, and mentoring initiatives. In submitting details of its Richcroft Learning Organization, established in early 2021, the organization shared how it created ongoing learning opportunities for frontline and residential supervisors, as well as DSPs.

“Too often, organizations send their promising or struggling staff to supervisory boot camps, conferences, or other specialized training with limited or no followup or ongoing support,” the Richcroft team shared in its application. The organization offers training for DSPs through the E-Badge Academy, along with mentor and other training.

“I am extremely proud that this initiative has been cited in a [Council on Quality and Leadership] capstone article for success in leadership development, and that recently Richcroft earned a Maryland Top Workplace award for training,” Kevin Drumheller, chief executive officer, said in a letter accompanying the application.

“We congratulate the staff and directors of Perspectives and Richcroft on this well-deserved honor and look forward to the details they will share at the Reinventing Quality conference,” Hewitt said.