March 15, 2021 (Des Moines) – Optimae LifeServices announced today it has secured a $5,500 grant from the Iowa Employer Innovation Fund to further develop front line supervisor training for its statewide workforce. The grant adds to $40,000 in Iowa Innovation Fund monies awarded to Optimae last year in the third round of the program.
Optimae, one of only 13 recipients selected for the latest round of the program, will use the grant funds to train additional staff members using curriculum developed by the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals. Once employees complete the competency training, they earn national certification in the form of an “E-Badge.”
The program aligns with the Innovation Fund’s goal of providing more than 70 percent of Iowans some form of post-secondary certification and/or education.
“With the additional funding from the Innovation Fund, Optimae can open up the E-Badge program to 200 additional front line supervisors by August,” said Molly Mackey, Optimae’s knowledge acquisition and transfer coordinator, who is leading the program across Optimae’s six geographic regions. “We hope to have 50 or more supervisors gain their E-Badge certifications by year’s end, with five additional employees earning NADSP’s front line supervisor designation.”
As state and national trends related to direct support professionals indicate a high turnover rate for the position, Optimae’s training program will help ensure staff, including those from minority populations, are empowered to train their direct reports and provide the care that those with disabilities require to lead valued roles in their communities of choice.
“Nearly 80 percent of Optimae’s employees report to a front line supervisor,” said Bill Dodds, Optimae president and CEO. “By certifying our front line supervisors through a national agency, we are providing a well-respected, proven certification program that has the potential to increase our service quality, boost customer satisfaction and keep turnover rates below the national average.”
Optimae’s knowledge acquisition and transfer team is supporting the initiative by holding quarterly Introduction to NADSP competency meetings and bi-monthly competency calls for supervisors.