Agency Change Toolkit

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Think Work

ELEMENT SIX - get started

Consider training an investment, and make it a priority from the beginning.

Invest in professional development before moving individuals out of the workshop. Without the training in place, front-line staff can be left without the tools to be effective. High-quality training isn’t cheap. But this investment is fundamental to the success of any transformation effort.

Use professional development to facilitate engagement in the transformation process.

Investing in professional development increases staff confidence with their new responsibilities, making them feel more comfortable with their changing roles. You can expect some workshop staff to opt out, and others will need intensive support to learn these new skills. As you hire for newly created positions, emphasize philosophy, attitudes, and personal talent over job development skills.

Identify gaps in staff capacity, and tailor professional development activities accordingly.

Take the time to identify your unique capacity building needs and address them specifically. You’ll need to think beyond just job placement and job development skill building. Hone in on other needs, including addressing challenging behaviors, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

Combine several different methods of professional development.

You can use a variety of activities, including online, classroom, and informal trainings. You might bring trainers and consultants into your organization, or send staff to conferences. Experiment to see what’s most effective for your organization and inspiring to your staff.

Complement training with mentorship, role modeling, and supervision.

Combining formal training opportunities with one-to-one and small-group options helps build your professional development infrastructure. Use a variety of training options that let your staff build skills and practice competencies on the job.

Seek out reputable capacity-building resources.

It’s worth it to invest in trainers with experience in both the process of transformation and the latest best practices in job development. Explore accredited programs for professional credentialing, and access training delivered by the American Network for Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP), and the Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators (ACRE).

To learn more, see these suggested resources and provider promising practices