The 2020-2021 academic year marks the 20th anniversary of the career pathways program between the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges (MACC) and the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services in offering the Direct Support Program through eight community colleges in the Commonwealth (Bristol, Holyoke, MassBay, Massasoit, Middlesex, Northern Essex, North Shore and Quinsigamond). The DDS Direct Support Program in Human Services is a seven-course educational program designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of direct support workers in DDS settings (both private and public). Made possible through funding from a DDS grant, the program provides curriculum resources to faculty and staff involved in the project and enables eight Community Colleges across the Commonwealth to offer the courses; work with area human services providers to enroll students; and provide students with tuition assistance and case management support. Instruction and training is provided by both community college faculty and DDS Regional Training Directors.

The curriculum and program design are based on the National Community Support Skill Standards (a set of skill and competencies used by direct support staff in their work). The program is a true career pathway; assisting direct support workers achieve career mobility, sustainability, and advancement. Students are also able to pursue further educational goals by proceeding on to an associate degree. This successful collaboration between the expert trainers at DDS, college faculty, and MACC has resulted in more than 600 students completing the program.

Please click here to see the DDS Certificate Program Brochure

For more information please visit the Department of Developmental Services’ website at