C3PO LogoDeveloping and maintaining a quality workforce is one of the largest challenges we in the intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) services industry faces today. OPRA recognizes the increasing direct support professional (DSP) workforce shortage and in an effort to combat the impending crisis, helped develop Community Connections Career Partnership (Ohio) or C3P(O). 

C3P(O) is an alternative path to obtain a high school diploma and find a lifelong career. The curriculum, which was developed by the Ohio Alliance of Direct Support Professionals (OADSP), is a combination of on-site internship work with community agencies and classroom work based on the DSPaths curriculum. Beginning in their junior year the students work toward obtaining a DSPaths Certificate of Initial Proficiency (CIP) and as seniors, the students continue working to achieve their DSPaths Certificate of Advanced Proficiency (CAP). The students are matched with providers who serve as mentors to the participants throughout their journey. Upon graduation, the hope is that these students will find -positions as DSPs and continue working in the I/DD field.

OADSP’s DSPaths Certificate of Initial Proficiency (CIP) and the Certificate of Advanced Proficiency (CAP) are on the Ohio Department of Education list of approved Industry Credentials. Students can earn their high school diploma through this alternative pathway to traditional testing requirements. Involvement in the C3P(O) program will provide specialized training and work experience, and ensure the continuation of providing an empowering learning environment.

Aligning this project with provider agencies in Ohio creates a win-win environment. Provider agencies have access to a pool of trained and qualified candidates to fill currently vacant positions and students graduate with their high school diploma!

Currently, the program is in place at the following schools:

- Franklin Heights High School
– Medina High School

Program Recognition:

In 2017, the National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals (NADSP), the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), and the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration recently awarded C3P(O) a Moving Mountains Award which recognizes best practices in direct support workforce development and is jointly sponsored by. Read NADPS’s official announcement here.

C3P(O) was featured in the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration’s winter/spring 2018 newsletter publication Impact highlighting strategies and research on the direct support workforce. Read the article here.

The program was highlighted in the US President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities 2017" Report to the President titled America’s Direct Support Workforce Crisis: Effects on People, Communities, and the US Economy". The program is described on the bottom of page 39.


To learn more about the C3P(O) program, please contact Scott Marks.