New York State’s Office for Aging Partners with CADER to Offer Expert, Easy-to-Access Trainings

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Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash

When the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) needed to reengineer its approach to training, it turned to the Center for Aging & Disability Education & Research (CADER) at the BU School of Social Work. “The old way of doing trainings—picking a day and having staff from our agencies travel from all over the state for a single program–wasn’t working,” says NYSOFA Director Greg Olsen. NYSOFA is tasked with improving access and availability for services that enable older New Yorkers to live, work, and age in their community of choice. Ensuring that NYSOFA staff are well-trained to work with the elderly is essential to providing quality services. “Training participation rates were down. It was a one-size-fits-all approach where we were spending a lot of money, but not getting much in return.”

Creating Certifications that Matter

Since New York state was moving to a private-pay model for programs and services, including senior case management, a lot was at stake for the agency financially. “We were now working with healthcare providers, who are licensed, while our staff are not,” Olsen points out. “To maintain the public trust, we needed to show that our case workers had the highest level of training, regardless of licensing.”

The nine online certificates and other online training offered through CADER became an ideal platform for NYSOFA. “Working with CADER allowed us to standardize training for our entire statewide network,” says Olsen. “For example, we have two fields where we mandate certification: case managers and health insurance counselors. Case managers are required to recertify after five years, while health insurance counselors are required to do so annually. We’ve also worked with CADER to develop free trainings in value-added areas of focus, like sepsis and Alzheimer’s/dementia.”

Flexibility and Depth

“The ability to talk to hospital management and tell them that our case workers are certified to work across the state is a win,” says Becky Preve, executive director of the Association on Aging in New York which supports and advocates for New York’s 59 mostly county-based agencies (AAAs). “CADER offers a solid curriculum that is very user friendly. It’s been a really good fit for us. And the fact that the trainings are online makes it easy for workers to participate. They have four months on their own time to complete the coursework.”

Since partnering with CADER’s online certification program, more NYSOFA workers have become certified than ever before, “Participation has gone through the roof,” says Preve. We’ve had nothing but positive feedback from participants.”

Preve knows this first-hand: She not only offers CADER trainings to staff at the 59 AAAs in the state of New York, but she has also taken advantage of them herself. “I’ve enrolled in every certificate that CADER offers.”

Note: Beginning in June 2021, CADER became part of a new 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.

Learn more about CADER