Road Map of Core Competencies for the Direct Service Workforce: Phase III-B: Road Map of Core Competencies for the Direct Service Workforce Project Validation

Lori Sedlezky, Marianne Taylor, Derek K Nord PhD, Michael Hoge, Erika Robbins, Betsy Dilla, Brendan Flinn

Final Competency Set (Informs direct support service delivery and promote best practices in community-based long-term services and supports.)

Executive Summary

Direct Service Workforce Training Resources Toolkit (Provides information about and links to 18 existing training resources related to the competencies identified in the Direct Service Workforce Resource Center core competency set.)


A report describing the validation (Phase IIIB) of a set of DSW Core Competencies across the four major long-term services and supports sectors (aging, physical disabilities, intellectual/developmental disabilities, and behavioral health). This validations study was the culmination of cross sector core competency projects outlined in Phases I and II of the Road Map to Core Competencies Project. This project addressed the question of whether direct service workers (DSW) have a set of common skills they employ, and if so, what are those skills. Throughout this project a number of qualitative and quantitative research activities have been implemented to answer these questions. By the completion of Phase II, researchers found that within each sector, a number of similar skills were employed in each of the other sectors providing a draft set of core competencies. The findings from the final phase, which employed two methods of validation, Focus Group Results and the Validation Survey Results, have confirmed a common or core DSW skill set currently used across four major sectors of human services activity that rely heavily on DSW work. The validation activities resulted in a DSW Core Competency Set consisting of 60 skill statements across 12 competency areas.


Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Lewin Group [Falls Church, VA]
Annapolis Coalition on the Behavioral Health Workforce
Research and Training Center on Community Living


  • Direct support workforce
    • Supervision and mentoring
    • Human resources and management
    • Retention and recruitment
    • Workforce development strategies
    • Training
  • Community life
    • Aging and retirement
  • Specific disability
    • Emotional/behavioral disorder (EBD)
    • Intellectual/developmental disability (IDD)
    • Physical disability