Gary Blumenthal Receives NADSP Award for Workforce Advocacy and Leadership | The InVisionary

The InVisionary

Gary Blumenthal Receives NADSP Award for Workforce Advocacy and Leadership

Congratulations to Gary Blumenthal for receiving the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals’ 2022 John F. Kennedy Jr. Award for Workforce Advocacy and Leadership! Gary was celebrated in a virtual ceremony during Direct Support Professional Recognition Week on September 14, 2022.

According to NADSP’s website, recipients of the John F. Kennedy Jr. Award “demonstrat[e] a distinguished career of excellence and leadership in support of NADSP’s mission to enhance the quality of support provided to people with disabilities through the provision of products, services, and certifications which elevate the status of direct support workers, improve practice standards, promote systems reform, and—most importantly—advance the knowledge, skills, and values of our dedicated workforce”.

In 2022 alone, Gary spearheaded a direct and comprehensive publicity blitz among Pennsylvania media and legislators about the issues facing the human services industry that influenced legislative policy and achieved some increased funding to direct support professional wages.

Visit NADSP’s website to read their full announcement.

The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals Board of Directors is proud to recognize Gary Blumenthal with our most prestigious award, The John F. Kennedy Jr. Award for Workforce Advocacy and Leadership for his decades of active advocacy of behalf of direct support professionals in their essential roles in the well-being of individuals with disabilities.

Gary has had a career stretching from coast to coast and ranging from elected office and presidential appointments to executive management and advocacy positions. The common thread of his career has been a commitment to inclusion and well-being of individuals with disabilities, bolstered by having a brother with a developmental disability, and a related recognition that direct support professionals (DSPs) were critical to positive outcomes…

Gary has long noted the inadequate compensation and respect for direct support professionals, the resulting staffing shortages and ultimately the threats to the health, community access and personal freedom for people with disabilities. Recently, Gary has been stressing that this long-standing problem is more serious than ever and that the promises made in establishing community supports have run into an inability to staff them.  As Gary recently wrote in the Pittsburgh Business Times, “Shortages of DSPs are at a crisis point, the worst in nearly 60 years. The problem is so bad that families who have waited, sometimes 10+ years, for services are being told they are eligible, but services are unavailable because there is no staff to perform them.” Gary’s ability to form partnerships, his political savviness, advocacy, and persistent tenacity have strongly influenced significant policy advocacy in Pennsylvania that has resulted in increased funding of $405 million towards direct support wages.”

Congratulations, Gary, on your outstanding achievement!

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