Toward Independence Honors DSP Workers and Announces Employment Opportunities

XENIA — Toward Independence has been helping those with developmental and intellectual disabilities for the past 45 years.

Located in Xenia on East Main Street, the organization has about 350 employees also known as direct support professionals or DSPs.

“More people in Ohio need to know what a DSP does each day. They often bridge the gap to make a person’s life, the individual with a disability, better. That person depends on that DSP to get through the day. You remember, our clients, some have total care needs. Some people can’t drive cars. Our DSPs are there. They are essential workers for them to make sure their lives are the best they can be”, said Mark Schlater, CEO Toward Independence.

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Schlater told News Center 7 that direct support professionals serve more than 200 clients in a 6-county area which extends as far as Darke and Hamilton Counties. Often DSPs visit a total of 50 homes per day. Schlater said the Coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on healthcare workers, including direct support professionals.

“The word hero absolutely comes to mind when we talk about this because we’re short-staffed, but our team is staying on and working extra hours. The overtime has been challenging, as it has for many healthcare workers across Ohio, but just compliments to all the DSPs in the Miami Valley. They’re doing what they need to do to keep our people safe”, said Schlater.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine recently thanked direct support professionals during a news conference. Direct support professionals are also honored for a week each September.

Toward Independence is hiring direct support professionals. For more information on becoming a DSP visit , or