The Paul R. Willging Endowment, established in 2012 to provide student scholarship support and community learning at the Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland, redirected its efforts by entering into a partnership with the Erickson School of Aging at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) to convene the Maryland region's first Summit on direct services workforce training. The Summit, "Planting the Seeds for Direct Care and Para-Professional Workforce Development" was attended by more than 200 health care leaders, administrators and educators from across the region.

In February 2018, the Steering Committee accepted the invitation from the Rodham Institute to locate the Collaborative at the Rodham Institute and to receive the prior work that had been conducted by the Willging Endowment and the Erickson School of Aging at UMBC. The Rodham Institute now serves as the organizational home of the Collaborative.

The Collaborative filed its Articles of Incorporation with the Maryland Secretary of State in August 2018 and was certified as Incorporated as the Maryland Regional Direct Services, Inc. in September 2018.