We need a Standard Occupational Code (SOC) for Employment Support Professionals (ESPs). While there are many titles across disability service providers, skill sets of staff who support individuals in employment is different than Direct Support Professionals (who also do not have a SOC).
APSE, the only membership organization with a strict focus on competitive integrated employment, has a credential for staff to become Certified Employment Support Professionals. With providers being able to designate specifically to this ESP SOC, we will have a stronger understanding of pay ranges, inequity in pay, need for disability employment funding, and more. A standard occupational code can also ensure stronger connections to American Job Centers for OJTs/incumbent worker training and apprenticeship possibilities.
Addressing this component will also encourage more diverse candidates to serve in these roles so staff can better reflect the various communities they serve.