Should CPI Come to You, or Should You Go to a Public Training Program?

So you wanna get some staff certified as Instructors of a CPI training program
Congratulations! Training is important, and in many cases it’s required. And because it’s a substantial investment of money and staff time, deciding which training option will work best for your organization is an important step. 
So, how can you maximize your investment from the start? 
Now that you’ve decided to get staff trained, your most important decision is this: 
Should we ask CPI to bring the training to us onsite at our organization, or should we send staff to one of CPI’s public programs?
Both options have benefits. If you’re a decision-maker at your organization, you’ll need to decide which benefits outweigh the others. So let’s look at the advantages of hosting a training versus sending staff to a public training (usually at a hotel or conference center). 

The benefits of hosting a training

The obvious advantages of hosting opportunities include not having to pay for travel, lodging, meals, parking, etc.
And there are some other, not-so-obvious advantages, too. 
Program customization is a huge reason that organizations opt to host a program. When staff all work with the same individuals or individuals with similar needs, a hosted training gives staff a smoother learning experience—from learning CPI principles to applying them in real life. 
Additionally, if your organization’s policies apply to everyone who’s getting trained (they generally do), then having CPI customize your training to your staff (and your challenges!) helps staff see how the program can support your policies. This is important, because staff need to understand their policies and procedures.
Now, sometimes different departments have their own policies and practices. When staff from different departments are in a customized training together, there are a lot of light-bulb moments when they realize these differences. The cool thing about this interaction is that—speaking from my own experiences—staff from differing departments have literally gone from being bitter enemies to friendly allies. 
Because they have a dialogue and learn each other’s realities. 
This is important when it comes to overall staff cohesion and morale. A beneficial side effect of training is the team-building that naturally occurs.
A beneficial side effect of training is the team-building that naturally occurs.

Along those same lines, many organizations have a crisis response team. This may be a group of staff, security, etc.
We often hear from responding staff that they’d appreciate knowing what goes on before and after a crisis. What led to the event? What was done to prevent it from happening again?
In a hosted training, it’s possible to have these conversations openly and honestly. It’s important for cementing the common language that CPI advocates, too.
Finally, given that many staff who become Certified Instructors team teach other staff, when a group is trained together at your organization, they get a great sense of one another’s strengths. This can help them decide whose personalities work well together, who may want to train which sections, who will run activities . . .  all kinds of things. These are also important conversations to have, because how well the Certified Instructors work together can make or break the training experience for those they train in the courses they teach. (And we all know that if the experience isn’t as positive as possible, staff may not use their training.) 
If you’re thinking about hosting, we are happy to guide you with the logistical requirements such as space, technology, etc.
Hosting a program is a powerful experience for many organizations. But what if you don’t have the space? Or you just don’t need that many Certified Instructors? 

The benefits of sending staff to a public training

Attending a public program is a great way for staff to network with other organizations that serve individuals with similar needs. And, many organizations partner with other organizations in providing wrap-around services. It can be downright reassuring to know that those partner organizations also believe in providing Care, Welfare, Safety, and SecuritySM. This makes it a pleasant surprise when their staff attend the same training program that you’ve sent your staff to! 
The diversity of staff roles and types of organizations that attend CPI-hosted programs is often unparalleled. From executive directors to direct-care staff, there’s usually a nice mix of roles. This helps everyone hear about and better understand the work realities that exist—not just in one organization, but in many organizations. 
Because of the networking that occurs, organizations that are just beginning their implementation process can learn from orgs that have implemented CPI training for years. This is probably one of the best benefits of a CPI-hosted program, because why reinvent the wheel? Instead, staff have an opportunity to learn from other organizations’ successes and challenges. The “thank you for sharing” and “glad to know” moments can be truly invaluable when an organization is undertaking the implementation of a new program. 
Or, maybe your organization has been implementing the program for years with so-so results. It’s possible that you just need some new ideas. 
In the general discussions that occur in class, oftentimes a participant will share a unique way of being supportive to someone. It’s a neat experience when others hear the “new” strategy and ask questions about it—how it works, did they have to adjust any policies, what did the regulatory bodies say, etc. 
Those kinds of exchanges renew enthusiasm, and help Certified Instructors see what true implementation looks like. Rarely does true implementation equal a once-a-year training. More often than not, program implementation is an ongoing process that requires staff to work at it. It’s a good thing that training often includes conversations and idea-trading about how Certified Instructors and their organizations can support their staff, too. 

What it all comes down to

It really comes down to this: What do you hope to gain from the Instructor Certification Program? We’re happy to help your organization make the best and most cost-effective choice possible. Because once that decision is made, then it’s time to make another one: Who should get certified?
But don’t worry. CPI has a resource [PDF] to help you make that decision, too.

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