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Points to consider before selecting the right training program

Ninety percent of work is in preparation. Spending the time building internal training capacity 
to successfully implement SIS is critical to its success. Pre-selection steps include: 

1) Clearly articulate what you expect SIS to do for your jurisdiction. Creating this vision, desired outcomes, and time-frame will support the decisions to be made concerning implementation of SIS. Write down the vision, outcomes, and time-frame, and share it with the people you support, their families, providers, and other key stakeholders. Modify it as necessary. For example, one expectation is: ”We are committed to using SIS to help develop individual objectives and to assure the equitable allocation of our resources among all those we support. We envision supporting 4 staff persons to become proficient teaching our 15 support coordinators on how to successfully conduct a SIS interview. Once trained, each support coordinators will complete 30 interviews before December 2.” 

2) Identify your need for trainers. Your vision, desired outcomes, and time-frame will help guide this process. There are no set rules on how many trainers you will need to implement SIS. This varies greatly depending on the scope and intensity of work. One jurisdiction may need 300 interviewers while for another, 20 may suffice.

3) Determine the role of SIS trainers. Are these individuals responsible for training only or will they be responsible for completing interviews as well? Will they be full-time or part-time trainers? If part-time, what current work/responsibilities will they “give up” in order to have the time to meet this training need? You may decide you need full-time trainers for a set time-frame and part-time trainers thereafter.

4) Identify the reporting relationships. Define who the trainers will report to. This may require a matrix management strategy where the trainer receives clinical supervision (content expertise on SIS) from one person and programmatic supervision (scheduling, who is to be trained, when) from another.

5) Define your internal interviewer reliability and qualification review (IRQR) process. Individual IRQR is an AAIDD requirement for successful completion of the Train-the-Trainer program. Annual IRQR is also required. It is also recommended that an internal IRQR process between and among internal trainers be implemented. In addition to building a sense of team, an internal IRQR process will also ensure a continued focus on the integrity of the interview a positive view of the process. Frequency, scheduling, and tracking of IRQR should be considered. Additionally, identifying an internal data management strategy around IRQR data will identify difficult interview areas for the interviewers and suggest possible training topics or other quality improvement efforts.

6) Determine the available pool of SIS trainers. Where will they come from and how will availability be determined? How will they be approached? Sharing information and allowing time for trainers to become comfortable in their new role prior to beginning the process will also contribute to the success of your SIS implementation plan.

7) Determine strategies for managing potential real or perceived conflict of interest. In situations where states are pursing the Train-the-Trainer model and will use state staff to conduct interviews, an inherent conflict of interest may exist. This is especially true when the SIS is being used for resource allocation purposes.

Follow-up Trainer Supports

Training on a regular basis can be challenging. The trainers may require follow-up supports that may include:

  • Opportunities for sharing training experiences, frustrations, new approaches, and recommended changes. These may include, but are not limited to, quarterly trainer meetings, a listserv, or periodic teleconferences where issues and concerns can be discussed.
  • Developing a “community of trainers” among the group. As a natural support group, they rely on each other for problem solving, sharing what they are learning, or for improving the overall effectiveness of your SIS implementation process.
  • Developing strategies for dealing with interviewer (and trainer) turnover.
  • Supporting the analysis of IRQR data to determine potential training trends, identify individuals for whom interviews are difficult and improve the overall quality of the training process.

Proper preparation and selecting the right SIS trainers for your organization is essential to a successful SIS implementation plan.