Andrew Stewart found a way to make his training dollars work hard. As the program development manager for staff at Santa Cruz County Human Services for the past 10 years, he has paired the expert online courses offered through the Center for Aging & Disability Education & Research (CADER) at the BU School of Social Work with onsite discussion led by skilled local facilitators. Blending these two training approaches has helped divisions like the county’s Adult and Long Term Care (ALTC) Division produce lasting positive change in the community.
Enriching Human Service Professionals through the Power of Knowledge
The ALTC Division assists older adults and people with disabilities throughout Santa Cruz to maximize their self-sufficiency, safety, and independence. Staff in three offices—Adult Protective Services, In-Home Supportive Services, and Veterans Services—provide case management and resources to elderly adults and people with disabilities. These services empower them to choose community services and care options tailored to their needs. By pairing CADER’s training programs with onsite group meetings, ALTC can provide more informed services and choices to these vulnerable groups.
“Knowledge is power,” Stewart says. “Whether it’s Alzheimer’s, hoarding, conservatorship or substance use, these programs enrich the practice of our social workers, clerical support team, case managers, and public health nurses.”
Taking CADER Lessons to the Next Level
In a typical year, Stewart notes that four to six staff members take part in CADER training, a number which he calls “very manageable” for small discussion groups.
Because of the group meetings that follow the courses, Stewart says staff are able to take their new knowledge well beyond a single training session. “Workers share the knowledge from the course they’re taking with the group. And with help of a skilled local facilitator, they are able to learn from each other, which both cross pollinates and creates a buzz around training.”
Evidence-Based Training Provides ROI
Stewart appreciates the consistent high quality of CADER programs. “There are so many different options out there for staff training—it’s hard to know which ones are worth the money. With CADER, the quality of the education provided is outstanding. Training is evidence-based, with an academic spine that is also informed by practitioners. Because it’s offered online in modules, it’s easy for staff to complete the training on their own schedule when it’s most convenient for them.”
CADER has been a leader in online training programs and aging certificate programs since 2002. Utilizing the latest in online learning technology and leveraging the resources of the School of Social Work at BU — one of the nation’s leading research universities — more than 20,000 workers and 450 agencies and organizations around the country have participated in CADER programs.
“I would highly recommend blending the online training with facilitated discussion. We have found that to be an essential value-add. The content comes alive,” Stewart concludes. “I am extremely grateful for CADER’s leadership over the past decade and I look forward to continuing the partnership.”
Note: Beginning in June 2021, CADER became part of a new overarching model called The Network for Professional Education. CADER’s content and courses can now be found on The Network website, creating a one-stop hub for professionals and organizations working in health and social services. This new initiative will grow professionals’ and organizations’ expertise and support their workforce through innovative training and certificate programs.