Investing in Direct Service Professionals

QWE Practice Guideline: 160: Take responsibility for the development of supervisors

Target group: Any organization employing or supporting individuals with disabilities

Practice Description

An internal job coach training program was developed to enhance the skill set of direct service professionals, leading to improved employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

Resources Needed

Subject matter experts/trainers

  • Staff with training and job coaching expertise


  • Training space

Labor hours

  • Staff time for implementing and managing training program

Implementation Process


  • A director of training was hired to provide in-house education and guidance
  • A training program was developed to include soft and hard skills, such as
    • Learning styles
    • Teaching strategies
    • Job-coaching techniques
    • History of the service system
    • Definition of intellectual and developmental disabilities
    • Client rights and abuse reporting
    • Professionalism on the job
    • Culture diversity
    • Reading temperatures
    • Positive intervention
    • Customer service
  • General trainings are conducted monthly
  • The Direct Service Professional Training course is offered twice a year or as needed
    • The course runs for 10 consecutive weeks, with 2-hour morning or evening classes
    • The course is voluntary and offers a financial incentive for meeting the following requirements
      • Class assignments and activities
      • A class presentation on a specific disability
      • Class reviews, with an average score of 70% or better
      • A final exam, with a score of 70% or better
    • A Direct Service Professional Level Two course offers additional training on services and supports, including
      • Sensory issues associated with ASD
      • Sensitivity training for employers
      • Person centered thinking
      • Advanced job coaching competencies


  • SOPs
    • Policies and procedures for implementing and managing the training program


  • Over 650 employees completed the Direct Service Professional Level One training and over 100 completed level two
  • Employee morale increased and turnover decreased
  • The employee onboarding process was improved


  • The full practice is available at CARF

NPA: Vocational Improvement Program
Location: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Date Submitted: Practice submitted by Vocational Improvement Program to the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) Employment and Community Services Promising Practices Newsletter.