We are celebrating DSP Appreciation Week at Target! Each year, we set aside a week to honor the Direct Support Professionals who work tirelessly daily to enhance the lives of those they serve at Target Community and Educational Services, Inc. More than one week is needed to celebrate the dedicated professionals who are the backbone of our services.
Daily, dozens of DSPs serve Target participants within our residential communities, making access to semi-independent living possible in our group homes and apartments. With the support of the DSPs, participants are able to engage fully in the community. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred sixty-five days a year, the residential DSPs ensure the high quality of life our residential participants enjoy.
DSPs work seven days a week in our Personal Support programs to assist individuals in their personal and community lives. The goal of any individual is to engage in the community meaningfully. For some of us, additional support is necessary to realize that engagement. DSPs in this program offer that helping hand and friendly companionship at home, in the social community, through day trips, and other activities.
In the Meaningful Day programs, DSPs assist participants in building, enhancing, and applying employment skills. As our recent video series clearly demonstrates, it is a dream come true when participants can gain meaningful employment. Engaging in satisfying and productive work enhances esteem and self-worth. Target participants are employed across the region in jobs they love. They are valued, employees and team members. The support of DSPs in employment services is essential to those dreams coming true for so many participants.
Over the past year, Target has worked to demonstrate a strong commitment to DSPs. We have entered into a scholarship agreement with Carroll Community College to provide access to programs for certified nursing assistants and behavior technicians. We have enhanced insurance and employment benefits. We have partnered with a credit union and improved access to retirement advising. In July, starting wages for DSPs increased by $4.00 per hour.
Our DSPs are the best. We will take extra time to celebrate them this week and carry that enthusiasm into each week of the year.