The Effects of a Competency-based Training Intervention for Direct Support Professionals on Site-level Outcomes, Learner Outcomes, and Service Recipient Outcomes


Introduction: This study, informed by the literature, tested this assumption that competency-based training aimed to help to reduce direct support professional (DSP) turnover in residential and day habilitation programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Methods: This study utilized a group randomized controlled design to test the effects of a competency-based training intervention for DSPs on site-level turnover rates over a one-year period.

Results: Results suggested that, compared with the control group, sites receiving the training intervention experienced a significant decrease in annual turnover, when multiple factors were controlled.

Implications: Employers may benefit from seeking ways to carve out specific training time for DSPs each month in order to both focus on refining existing skills and developing new skills that directly relate to their work. A competency-based approach, where classroom or online learning is brought into the real-life work environment through on-the-job training or mentoring, may be particularly beneficial due to its application of learning in the context of the workplace.

Suggested Citation

The effects of a competency-based training intervention for direct support professionals on site-level outcomes, learner outcomes, and service recipient outcomes. (2019). Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 63(7).


Peer-Reviewed Article 
Volume 63, Number 7


  • Direct support workforce
    • Retention and recruitment
    • Training