Developmental Services Workers: Essential Workers of Society Summary: Developmental Services Workers who train at Centennial College not only benefit from the guidance of faculty members with experience in the field but also from work placements, case studies and more. Highly regarded by established professionals, graduates, families and agencies Centennial College’s Developmental Services Workers program allows graduates to go on to find careers as: educational assistants, employment support workers, family supporters, integration facilitators, and residential service workers. And while they are responsible for assisting people with intellectual and developmental delay with everything from getting dressed and eating to finding employment and housing, Developmental Services Workers also become their confidants and friends. The ultimate goal of the Developmental Services Workers’ job is to build natural community supports so clients may be productive members of their communities. Centennial College’s program is taught in a way that ensures graduates are also able to: complete and maintain client history and background forms, participate in the development and implementation of individually- directed plans, support clients in developing relationships, manage medication, develop and apply crisis intervention strategies, be responsible for and promote a healthy lifestyle, and maintain a safe environment. But how does the Developmental Services Workers program get students from novices to professionals in just two years? Most importantly, the undertaking provides a balance between theory and practical application. As such, students attend lectures and then head out on two field placements to apply what they have learned in real- world scenarios. Centennial College’s Developmental Services Workers courses are made up of: lectures, projects, community observations, Internet searches and electronic communication. And aside from the learning essentials already mentioned, students also master: in-depth analysis and critical thinking, managing and affecting change, interpersonal communication and leadership skills as well as clarification of values. The program’s curriculum reflects current issues and developments, and boasts specific courses such as: Introduction to Disability, Developing a Vision, Social Psychology, Pharmacology, History of Disability, Teaching Skills, Policy and Social Welfare Systems, and more. The Developmental Services Workers program’s field placements occur during the third and fourth semesters. The goal of the experience is to offer students an opportunity to design and implement plans or strategies to teach and support individuals and/or work with communities. Facilitation and leadership skills, community development and, positive imagining and competencies for holistic, personal well-being and community inclusion for clients are some of the areas they will pursue in this placement. Please note that some field placement agencies may require a criminal reference check prior to student placement. Certain criminal convictions may disallow placement in these agencies and program completion may not be possible. Those interested in attending the Developmental Services Workers program must have completed at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. In addition, they are required to have taken the compulsory English 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent. English proficiency will be considered in the admissions process and a program admission session may also be required. Author: In this article about Centennial College’s Developmental Services Worker program, Emma includes details of the admission process, program benefits and possible learning outcomes for successful grads.