Passion + Job = A Rewarding Career
Wanted: a fun loving, person-centered, caring and compassionate individual to make a difference
Statistics show that the Direct Support Professionals workforce is made up of over 3.6 million workers in the United States. DSPs ensure people with disabilities have the necessary supports to enable them to live, work and enjoy life as independently as possible in their community. You may know the DSP title differently such as counselors, coaches, specialists – but one sentiment truly defines them all: heart and soul. At MRCI, we employ more than 3,000 DSPs all across Minnesota in a variety of roles ranging from supporting an individual in their home to helping them be a contributing part of their community.
“These professionals are there to help not only with physical needs, but with soft skills and life skills,” says MRCI CEO Brian Benshoof. “The dedication shown by our DSPs to the people we support drives our success and helps fulfill our mission of providing innovative and genuine opportunities for individuals with disabilities at home, at work and in their community.”
Because DSPs are the heart of what we do at MRCI, and make a huge impact on individuals with disabilities in our community, we embrace September 9 – 15 known nationally as Direct Support Professional Week. We use the week not only to show appreciation for our many dedicated DSPs, but also to make others aware of the important work. The role of a DSP is crucial to the lives of individuals with disabilities, but it is also a role that most Americans don’t know about.
Statistics also show the DSP workforce is not keeping up with demand. So providers, like MRCI, keep busy recruiting. At MRCI, recruiting is based on the benefits of a career that consists of more than just a job. “I can’t imagine more rewarding work,” says Mary Jane Bruns, MRCI Direct Support Professional. “Every day I get to help others experience things in life that many of us may take for granted. To those I care for, seemingly simple things make a big impact. Knowing I am making a difference in their lives keeps me coming back every day!”
Angela Lallak started at MRCI about four years ago. “I heard about MRCI because I worked in a group home and I would always drop off and pick up my client there. I liked seeing how happy she was when she came home from working and spending the day at MRCI,” says Angela.
MRCI is on the front line of supporting an individual’s personal goals to self-direct their own care at home, during transition from high school to work, and even from making career changes ranging from work crew to directly being hired in the community. Developing the skills, interests and talents to be successful at home, at work and in the community is what MRCI is all about for clients and staff.
Realizing that, and wanting to be a part of it, Angela applied and started as an assistant adaptive skills coordinator, a year after she was promoted to adaptive skills coordinator. “It’s so rewarding seeing the success of the clients. I love seeing these individuals enjoying life and helping them achieve things they never thought possible,” she says.
She says to be a successful DSP it really comes down to one criteria: passion. “Becoming a DSP is definitely an option for anyone who has a heart for helping others,” Angela says. “MRCI can train you once you join our team. Skills can be taught. But if you have a passion for helping others, that’s the most important factor. Passion can’t be taught.”
It was at MRCI that Pam Schindle discovered her passion. She started at MRCI in an administrative role, spending much of her day behind a desk. She quickly realized she wanted to be more hands-on in making a difference at MRCI. She took on a role as work crew supervisor at a community job site. And she has loved every minute.
“I asked to be moved into a direct support position working directly with these wonderful people,” says Pam. “Knowing that my support helps them live and thrive in their community. That’s my passion now. Their success is my success.”
Each September, Direct Support Professionals across the country are honored during Direct Support Professional Recognition Week. While MRCI tries to show our appreciation year round, this week is a time set aside to honor and thank the DSPs who are working hard every day to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. DSPs are also the relationship builders who connect individuals to jobs, volunteer opportunities, friends, religious groups and civic life.
If you want to be a difference maker, please connect with us at www.mymrci.org/careers.