Guest blog by Elly du Pré, DPA
Just as a diamond is generally cut as an inverted pyramid to create the greatest sparkle, management and workplace culture now is summoning that image when it comes to the organizational chart. The inverted pyramid flips the broad base into the position of the apex. Putting customers and employees at the top focuses light on quality of services. The people living with vision loss, and the direct service providers with whom they come in contact most closely, are at the apex of the organizational chart. In the business of Vision Rehabilitation, the diamonds among us are the certified professionals – CVRTs, COMS, CLVTs and CATIS – and other licensed highly skilled individuals essential to delivering comprehensive services.
However, we must be cognizant of an important difference between certified and licensed professionals. All States require licensure of certain occupations. They all do not require certification of vision rehabilitation practitioners. It is time to have a serious conversation about managing quality programs without the external stipulation.
Customers at the top: VisionServe Alliance members are the unique, expert providers of the specialized and individualized solutions required by blind or visually impaired consumers and their families. The message we need to convey to our customers is that they can safely take the leap of faith required to walk through our doors. Our promise is not restored sight, it is restored lives, and that promise has to be convincing.
Employees at the top: Riding on the shoulders of the people hired to provide services are the reputation of the organization, the success of its fundraising, the testimonials of excellent outcomes and even the relative cost-efficiency of service delivery. The sustainability of our organizations rests on the effectiveness of the employees.
Certification of direct service practitioners safeguards both the promise we make to our customers and the confidence of management that best practices are ensuring program quality. Certified Professionals = High Standards, Ethical Service, Commitment to Consumers, Stronger Program Outcomes.
With so much at stake, why are so many agencies not requiring certification as a condition of employment (within a certain time period after hiring), not supporting employees to pursue education to become certified, not requiring supervision by certified professionals? Is it time for every VisionServe agency to commit to this goal: ACVREP certification agency-wide, nation-wide?
Guest blog by Elly du Pré, DPA. Full disclosure: I am the Executive Director of Florida Agencies Serving the Blind, a consortium of the 18 nonprofits providing direct education and rehabilitation services to people who are blind or visually impaired. The State of Florida requires certification, and supervision by certified professionals in all contracts promulgated by the Division of Blind Services and in K – 12 schools. I also am the Treasurer of the Board of the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP).