Established in March 2003, the new Non-Profit Staff Development Coalition consists of a number of non-profit human services organizations in the Seattle-King County area, the Center for Learning Connections and eventually, several funding organizations.
Fueled by the economic situation in late 2002, in Washington State, the severe announced budget cuts, particularly in the area of human services, and with anticipated layoffs, the need for training – skill development and staff development – was even greater but more challenging to provide due to limited financial resources. The Coalition project was created to significantly and beneficially fill this inevitable resulting void for employees in non-profit organizations who serve tens of thousands of low-income children, adults and families in the Seattle-King County area.
In April-May 2003, the Coalition’s first task was to develop and administer a Staff Training Needs Survey to staff of the new non-profit partner organizations; the purpose being to identify and prioritize critical “unmet” staff training needs. Based on the cumulative survey responses, 8 priority training need areas were identified:
- "De-escalation"/Communication Skills
- Leadership/Strategic Thinking Skills
- Building effective partnerships/collaborations
- Time/Task Management Skills
- Case Management Skills
- Cultural Competency
- Dependable Strengths – An Introduction
- Appreciative Inquiry Process – An Introduction
The Coalition Partners unanimously agreed that all eight of the training need areas directly or indirectly impact service delivery in human services. The Coalition then developed a workshop schedule to deliver appropriate training to meet the identified needs, during its pilot year from July 2003 - June 2004.
Since July 2003, 24 other workshops have been developed and delivered, to meet high priority training need areas identified through annual staff training need surveys.
An average 30-50 participants attended these well-received quality workshops. Workshop evaluations have been consistently positive.
The Coalition meets regularly to collaboratively work on its three Initiatives: Initiative #1 (Staff Training), Initiative #2 (Transfer and Application of Learning for Effective Job Performance) and Initiative #3 (Promoting a consistent "learning culture" within the organization).