DSP - Vocational Specialist

Program · Vadnais Heights, Minnesota
Department Program
Employment Type Full-Time, 40 hours
Minimum Experience Mid-level
Compensation 16.00

Merrick Inc. offers a mix of life enrichment, employment, and adult day services to more than 375 clients.

Merrick if the largest day program in Ramsey County with a 56-year history of leadership in person-centered planning, self-advocacy, meaningful work options, operational excellence, and continuous innovation.

DSP Position Summary:

No weekends and no evenings!

This position assists clients that work in the community as part of a work crew, provides transportation for clients to and from work, assists in coaching and supervision to ensure that each client is safe, happy, and productive each day. The DSP in this position will interact regularly with the employer to ensure completed work meets their quality expectations. In addition, the primary duty is to provide the support and advocacy in which clients can accomplish the desired outcomes of their Coordinated Services Support Plan-Addendum (CSSP-A). 


Other responsibilities of the Direct Support Professional include meeting documentation requirements; following quality standards relative to work contracts, leading program activities, recording client attendance, completing client payroll; and maintaining professional relationships with coworkers and others associated with clients.  This job requires staff to work in the community with their program participants daily.

This position starts and ends each day at Merrick, Inc., 3210 Labore Road, Vadnais Heights, MN 55110

We have two positions available working with clients in the community. 

At Fairview Hospital in North Minneapolis, staff train and supervise program participants to ensure that they are meeting quality standards. Client responsibilities at the facility include: assembling cardboard boxes. DSPs represent Merrick and coordinate communication with the business to ensure their expectations are being met. DSPs transport clients in company vehicles to the work site and between sites and home at the end of the day. This is a job for someone who likes to "get in a lot of steps" and be very active all day. 


Typical Day with clients working at Fairview Hospital: 

  • Take clients to location in company vehicle 
  • Supervise and assist clients in work tasks 
  • Lunch break taken at location with clients
  • Assemble cardboard boxes for medical and other uses 
  • Bring clients back to Merrick at end of day

At Kowalski's, Merrick staff will staff train and supervise program participants to ensure that they are meeting quality standards. Staff drive program participants to the work-site and help them to follow Kowalski's  job duties, such as cleaning and organizing. Staff support the clients with concerns and issues as they arise throughout the day. Staff eat with the clients, drive between sites and drive some of the clients home at the end of the day. Staff start and end their day at Merrick Inc. 

Essential DSP Responsibilities:


  • Act in accordance with the Guiding Principles of Merrick’s Program Services, company policies and procedures related to the Vulnerable Adults Act, Minnesota Statutes, Section 245A.05, Minnesota Rule 9544 (Positive Supports Rule), and Department of Labor standards.
  • Provide input, as directed by their Program Support Manager or designee, in collaboration with the Program Plan Coordinator, into client outcomes in accordance with Minnesota Statutes 245D.07 (Subd.1a) person-centered planning and service delivery.
  • As directed by their Program Support Manager or designee, document service delivery, progress on program outcomes, and relevant events (AWOL, seizures, etc.) consistent with internal practices.
  • As assigned by their Program Support Manager or designee, train and supervise clients to perform duties in accordance with the quality standards as specified by facility-based contracts and/or off-site employers and/or other program activities.
  • Complete, as assigned by the Program Support Manager or designee, client attendance and client payroll in accordance with documentation standards.
  • Assist in meeting the transportation needs of clients including operating a motor vehicle, assisting in loading and unloading of clients in a safe and reliable manner, and performing pre-loading and post arrival activities in everyday situations. In addition, safely operate proper body mechanics and assistive equipment such as Hoyer or electric lifts, manual lifts, wheelchairs, gait belts, standers, walkers, etc.
  • Assist in the preparation and upkeep of the program area to meet the needs of clients, staff, and the company.
  • Meet the attendance and punctuality requirements of the position as specified by the company’s Personnel Policies.
  • Complete in-service training as required in Minnesota Statutes 245D.09 (Sub 5) Annual Training.
    • Ensure the highest ethical practices and standards of quality work in accordance with the company’s policies and practices, maintaining a professional appearance appropriate to the day’s activities and responsibilities; or as required by the off-site employer.
    • Perform other related duties as assigned.




    • High School Diploma or GED certificate required.
    • A Community College AA Degree, Technical School Degree, Human Service Degree, or four year Bachelor of Arts/Science Degree is preferred. 
    • Certification in medication administration and/or medical training is beneficial.
    • Six to twelve months experience working with people who have an I/DD.
    • Maintain current CPR and First Aid certification and perform the physical demonstrations of an emergency use of a manual restraint (EUMR), with or without a reasonable accommodation.
    • Ability to use computer technology to promote efficiency in outcome implementation and data collection, access email communications, and document training hours.
    • If assigned driving duties, have a valid class “D” state driver’s license and meet the minimum requirements set forth in the company’s Safe Transportation Policy. If required, maintain a current DOT medical examiner certificate and medical waiver, if issued.
    • Ability to pass criminal background checks and drug/alcohol tests following a conditional job offer as well as throughout the course of employment.


    Physical Demands:

    While performing the duties of this job, the employee must (with reasonable accommodations if needed):

    • Be able to continually sit, stand, walk, talk, see and communicate throughout each work day
    • Be able to occasionally stoop, bend, kneel, twist, run, reach, push, and pull with hands and arms
    • Use hands to continually handle, assist, grasp, and feel
    • Regularly lift and/or move up to 10 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds, in addition, push and pull wheelchairs used by individuals weighing up to 200 pounds
    • With or without assistance from others, the physical ability to manage, move, or lift a client unable to support their own weight to an area of safety or an uncooperative client during a behavioral event that poses a danger to the client or others in accordance with MN Rule 9544 (Positive Supports Rule)


    This position description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties, or responsibilities that are required of the employee.  In addition, it does not constitute an employment agreement or contract between Merrick, Inc., and the employee and is subject to change by Merrick, Inc., as the needs of the company and requirements of the job change. 

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    • Location
      Vadnais Heights, Minnesota
    • Department
    • Employment Type
      Full-Time, 40 hours
    • Minimum Experience
    • Compensation