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Fall 2012

Project Site Opportunities Available for New Jersey Customized Employment Initiative

The Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities is pleased to announce the New Jersey Customized Employment Initiative.  This announcement is being sent statewide to encourage your application to participate in the New Jersey Customized Employment Initiative, operated by Griffin-Hammis Associates (GHA), funded by the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities, and in cooperation with The Boggs Center. The application makes local communities eligible for selection as a Project Site, which provides your organization and local community with training, technical assistance, and mentoring tailored to your community and specific employment seekers. Customized Employment (CE) is a growing option for many individuals with significant disabilities used to improve employment outcomes and increase financial independence.  Please go to for application.

Dan Baker, PhD, Elected Vice President of the NADD Board of Directors

Dan Baker, PhD

Dan Baker, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Director of Community Positive Behavior Support, Transition, and Supported Employment Projects at The Boggs Center, was elected Vice President of the NADD Board of Directors. Dr. Baker has served on the Board of Directors since 2008.

NADD is the leading North American expert in providing professionals, educators, policy makers, and families with education, training, and information on mental health issues relating to persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities. For additional information about NADD, visit


The Knights of Columbus Donates to The Boggs Center
The Boggs Center thanks The Knights of Columbus, San Salvador Council #299 in Perth Amboy for their donation. Their letter stated, "Please accept our donation as a token of our appreciation for your continued commitment to promoting the self-determination and full participation of people with disabilities and their families in all aspects of community life."

The Boggs Center Welcomes 2012-2013 Student Trainees

Three students are participating in The Boggs Center's Interdisciplinary Traineeship Program coordinated by Caroline Coffield, PhD, Instructor of Pediatrics and Interdisciplinary Training Coordinator at The Boggs Center.  

Naomie Chandler, a MSW student in the Nonprofit and Public Management Program at Rutgers University School of Social Work, will complete her field education placement at The Boggs Center. She will be supervised by Robyn Carroll, MSW, Communications Manager. Susan Ellien, a MSW student in the Nonprofit and Public Management Program at Rutgers University School of Social Work, will complete her field education placement at The Boggs Center. Susan will be supervised by Kathy Roberson, MSW, Policy and Information Coordinator. Eric Hedges, a joint MDiv and MSW student in the Nonprofit and Public Management Program at Rutgers University School of Social Work, will complete his field education placement at The Boggs Center and will be supervised by Michael Knox, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Deputy Director.

New Jersey’s Direct Support Professionals Honored at Recognition Ceremony

NJ DSP poster

On September 11, 2012, The New Jersey Partnership for Direct Support Professional Workforce Development held a Recognition Ceremony to honor Direct Support Professionals across the state. This event, marked by poignant remarks from Direct Support Professionals, a person using supports, family members, and state leaders, left a lasting impression on those in attendance.

Workforce development and recognition are nationally accepted methods aimed at enhancing the quality of supports provided to people with disabilities. This event highlighted the progress New Jersey has made in this area over the past decade and commended DSPs statewide for their dedication to those they support.

Deborah M. Spitalnik, PhD, Executive Director of The Boggs Center and Chair of The Partnership’s Leadership Council opened the event with welcoming remarks entitled, “Honoring the Dedication of DSPs.” In her presentation, Dr. Spitalnik warmly commended DSPs for their steadfast commitment, highlighted the progress that New Jersey has been made, and identified the work that needs to continue to ensure a quality workforce now and into the future. She emphasized the important nature of workforce development by stating “we must care for those who do so much to care for others,” exclaiming that “DSPs deserve the opportunity to expand their horizons, enhance their skills, and be rewarded for their work.”

DHS Deputy Commissioner Dawn Apgar, PhD presented a proclamation from Governor Chris Christie, designating September 9-15, 2012 as Direct Support Professional Recognition Week in New Jersey. Dr. Apgar applauded New Jersey’s DSPs for the work they do as the “backbone of services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities” and for being the “bridge-builders that link people together and the social educators that help dispel stereotypes and promote valued roles.”

New Jersey has long emphasized the importance training and workforce development for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) play in the lives of people with disabilities. This has most recently been demonstrated through 2010’s statewide implementation of the College of Direct Support (CDS), an online educational program that provides more than 30 courses focused on the field of direct support. At present, nearly 100 provider agencies offer CDS coursework to their staff and more than 60,000 lessons have been assigned. The availability of this system helps the Division of Developmental Disabilities meet basic assurances related to training as required by the federal Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waiver, referred to as the Community Care Waiver (CCW) in NJ. It also provides DSPs with access to a statewide, voluntary Career Path program that utilizes CDS coursework in combination with on-the-job mentoring and competency-based portfolio development aimed at enhancing professional skills and providing certificate and credentialing opportunities.

This event recognized Brenda Hoagland of Matheny Medical and Educational Center as New Jersey's first National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) credentialed DSP.

DSP group photoThe NJ Career Path Class of 2012 were recognized and handed certificates by the Deputy Commissioner. These staff joined the ranks of more than 100 other Career Path DSPs: Wondwossen Atnafu, Richard Carreon, Bridget Cottle, Martha Feleke, Weyetta Golafaly, Bernard Jaruga, Brittani Jones, Frank Kitchen, Tinashe Maphosa, Zinash Melaku, Simone Morgan, Liya Mulatu, Jana Ricketts, Imelda Schroeder, Andrea Singleton, and Tracey Young.

Elaine Buchsbaum, Chair of the NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities presented, “DSPs in the Lives of People and Families,” describing how, similar to most people with disabilities, her son’s life “centers around those who support him.” In her remarks, she emphasized how the relationship built with DSPs plays such a meaningful role in a person’s life. Her words introduced a panel presentation where the McGeady family and DSP Brandon Burkhardt elaborated on those thoughts by sharing a heartfelt perspective of how important DSPs are in their lives.

The event culminated with the stirring words of DSPs Patroba Onyango (The Arc of Middlesex County), Camillia Horn (Advancing Opportunities), and Jamil Barnes (Spectrum for Living) as they talked of their dedication and passion for their careers in direct support. Wrapping up the day, Mr. Barnes clearly described the passion that NJ DSPs have for the work by stating “The common ground of loving our jobs and individuals we serve is similar” and conveyed how truly meaningful the job is with the words “we are glad for the moments of opportunity to bring happiness.” After all, that’s what life is really about happiness in achieving our goals, sharing in our relationships, actively contributing to our communities, and living life to the fullest. Thanks to the DSPs that make this happiness a reality for so many.

The NJ Partnership for DSP Workforce Development is a collaboration between the NJ Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities, Alliance for the Betterment of Citizens with Disabilities, The Arc of NJ, the NJ Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development, The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, NJ Association of Community Providers, The NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities, Direct Support Professionals, and People with Disabilities and Families.

Stay tuned: Video highlights of the NJ Direct Support Professional Recognition Ceremony will be posted to the web shortly.

To learn more about DSP Workforce Development initiatives in New Jersey go to:

A recent Letter to the Editor submitted in praise of NJ DSPs by the Deputy Commissioner can be found at:

National Direct Support Professional Recognition Week is September 9 – 15, 2012

In recognition of National DSP Week, we are pleased to announce that the Summer 2012 issue of New Jersey Workforce Development Insider is now available. Featured articles include National Direct Support Professional Recognition Week; NJ’s First Credentialed Direct Support Professional: Brenda Hoagland; North Jersey Developmental Center and the CDS; DISC Program: Individualized Lessons; and Career Path Level 3 Concentration in Mental Health Supports.

View the Summer 2012 issue of the Workforce Development Insider


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