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$1.5B in one-time federal funding coming to direct support professionals in NYS

Four people stand holding signs at a rally in downtown Buffalo.
Emyle Watkins
A rally was held in downtown Buffalo May 24 to bring awareness to the hiring crisis impacting direct support professionals.

The New York Office for People with Developmental Disabilities will provide over $1.5 billion in one-time American Rescue Plan Act funding to support recruitment efforts, retention incentives and vaccination bonuses for direct support professionals who provide support for people with developmental disabilities. Gov. Kathy Hochul made the announcement Thursday as "an effort to address workforce shortages in this field."

Hochul said the state submitted its initial draft spending plan for the funding to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on July 8 and CMS has since provided partial approval.

Approved is OPWDD's plan to target most of the funding to workforce initiatives, including bonuses and incentive payments to DSPs and family care providers. This includes a "Heroes Fund" to pay DSPs who worked during the pandemic and those who received the COVID vaccine, retention and longevity bonuses, as well as long-term recruitment and retention strategies that incentivize credentialing and skills building.

WBFO's Jay Moran talked with Mindy Cervoni, CEO of Community Services for Every1, and Rhonda Frederick, CEO of People Inc., about the infusion of funds.

WBFO's Jay Moran talks with Community Services for Every1 CEO Mindy Cervoni
WBFO's Jay Moran talks with People Inc. CEO Rhonda Frederick

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Jay joined Buffalo Toronto Public Media in 2008 and has been local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" ever since. In June, 2022, he was named one of the co-hosts of WBFO's "Buffalo, What's Next."

A graduate of St. Mary's of the Lake School, St. Francis High School and Buffalo State College, Jay has worked most of his professional career in Buffalo. Outside of public media, he continues in longstanding roles as the public address announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and as play-by-play voice of Canisius College basketball.