The Alberta Disability Workers Association (ADWA) was created to provide a voice for disability workers and “to build recognition of the professionalism of those who work in this field and help them build careers that are supported by relevant education and an enhanced certification process based on recognized core competency standards” (ADWA, 2010). ADWA has been mandated by its membership from its inception to research and develop a certification process to be implemented within Alberta.
Unlike most other professions, community disability services is made up of workers with a broad range of backgrounds and educational levels. The people whom workers support have diverse talents, personalities and support requirements; the skills that workers must possess reflect the diversity and complexity of their work.
Certification of the workforce would benefit everyone involved and serve to clearly describe and highlight the importance of this valuable profession.
Benefits of Certification
a professional identity
a clear career path
recognition of experience within the sector
recognition of academic credentials (post-secondary certificates, diplomas and degrees)
recognition of informal learning (training provided by employers and/or external organizations)
For People Served and Their Families:
stable and consistent staffing
qualified staff who promote lives of meaning, belonging and contribution for the people they work for
qualified staff who ensure safety and security for the people they work for
staff with clearly defined competencies
a framework to assist in career development and planning
cost savings – no need to retrain staff with certified credentials who move within the field
a stable workforce that is qualified to meet contractual outcomes; and
a workforce that understands the balance between providing safety and security while promoting full and inclusive lives for people with disabilities
For Post-Secondary Institutions:
a clear direction for curriculum development and student preparation.