New Campaign Spotlights Critical Shortage of Direct Support Professionals in Missouri and Their Importance to Those With Disabilities

ST. LOUISMay 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — A new awareness campaign has launched across the state of Missouri to spotlight direct support professionals, known as DSPs, and the vital role they play in the lives of those living with disabilities.

Faced with critical shortages of workers and direct support professionals, service providers from across the state have come together for the campaign to spotlight how important and beneficial direct support professionals are to the community.

Sponsored by the Missouri Association of County Developmental Disabilities Services (MACDDS) and MARF — representing hundreds of service providers across the state — the campaign aims to educate the public on the importance of these dedicated workers and to showcase job openings.

Along with highlighting the workers’ stories, the campaign includes an interactive website where Missourians can review career opportunities and see if the profession is a good fit for them.

“DSP careers are available right now throughout Missouri. It is not just a job. It is a rewarding experience that helps people realize their full potential,” said Erika Leonard, Executive Director, MARF. “DSPs help people become integrated and engaged in their community, to be valued for who they are and encouraged to follow their dreams”

Direct support professionals enable people in Missouri with intellectual or physical disabilities to live full, independent lives, helping help them integrate fully with society and thrive in all areas from employment opportunities to daily activities like grocery shopping or preparing meals at home.

“People will find that being a DSP is a rewarding opportunity to serve others and build a career in a great field. People with disabilities want to live full, independent lives just like everyone else. It’s vital that we have quality, consistent Direct Support Professionals to help people to live and work in their communities,” said Nancy Pennington, Executive Director/CEO, MACDDS.

Being a DSP can be the first step towards a long-term career with flexible hours, no degree requirement and training provided on the job.

To learn more about the campaign and to see career opportunities across Missouri, visit

For over 40 years, MACDDS has promoted local county initiatives in developmental disabilities services. Comprised of 62 county boards, 18 related provider organizations and 2 targeted case management entities, our members lead local initiatives that have a statewide impact, improving the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. MACDDS works to assure services and supports for people with developmental disabilities continue to be planned and carried out at the local level.

About MARF
MARF works to improve the lives of Missourians with disabilities by driving public policy and strengthening member organizations through advocacy, education and collaboration.

Jason Marks
(415) 915-8855