Exceptional Training Creates Extraordinary Employees

April 27, 2021

Exceptional Training Creates Extraordinary Employees


Here at SCARC, we take staff training very seriously. After all, we are entrusted with the lives of our fellow human beings. Indeed, few roles are more essential to our community than those our employees fulfill. With this always top of mind, we constantly strive to improve the quality, content, depth, and breadth of the education we provide to our staff.


Our board of trustees and administration are committed to ensuring that all employees are fully trained and qualified to perform the vital work of supporting children and adults with disabilities with high quality services and programs. Guided by the latest research, data, and standards, we regularly review and update our curriculum, ensuring it always reflects the needs of those we serve. Comprehensive, ongoing staff training forms the basis for excellence in all that we do and is designed to optimize quality of life for the individuals in our care.


A Strong Foundation


SCARC’s training program begins at an employee’s orientation, before he or she is granted the tremendous responsibility of caring for another human being. Many aspects of training are completed at this time so that the employee has an extensive understanding of his or her role and specific duties, our model of care and our values, along with the unique strengths and needs of the individuals we serve.


It’s essential that the staff member be carefully and thoughtfully matched to the role he or she is assigned. So, while we hire our staff to fulfill specific positions at specific locations, we may determine, during the training period that an employee may be a better fit in a different program assignment. By making these fluid adjustments, we are able to optimize our level of care and best utilize the employee’s strengths.


Training can occur in a group classroom environment as well as online in virtual classrooms. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our training modules have moved from a classroom to a virtual environment. During this transition, an incredible amount of thought and planning has gone into ensuring that each virtual session provides the same value and level of quality as in-classroom training.


Continuous and Comprehensive


While not a comprehensive list, below are a wide range of examples of the types of pre-service and in-service job trainings that we require our employees undergo:


  • Shifting expectations and perceptions
  • Prevention of abuse and neglect
  • Medication and SCARC-specific medication information
  • Rights, advocacy, and responsibilities
  • Administering CPR, first aid, Epi-Pen injections
  • Behavior management
  • Defensive driving, van driving, lift-van use
  • Bloodborne pathogens/infectious diseases
  • Physical disabilities
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Equipment and safety, lift-van training
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Sign language
  • Crisis Management and de-escalation techniques
  • Danielle’s Law
  • Stephen Komninos’ Law
  • Ethics
  • Diversity
  • Sexual harassment
  • Health and safety
  • Working with families


Standards of Care


The College of Direct Support provides standards for employment for direct-support professionals working with persons with disabilities. Medicaid also has numerous requirements related to staff training and qualifications. Together, these form the core of our curriculum, but we also carefully select a wide range of additional training topics to meet our program’s evolving needs.


Our training program is coordinated by our director of recruitment and staff development (DRSD), a credentialed SHRM-CP professional who directly administers many of our trainings. We also utilize adjunct instructors to provide a range of trainings, such driver trainings, wheelchair lift trainings, crisis management trainings, and several others. SCARC’s own registered dietician delivers our trainings on nutrition and specialized diets. As needed to address specific disabilities and challenges we may encounter, we also develop focused educational modules. These may cover topics such as epilepsy and other specific medical conditions, tube feeding, hospice care, and other unique trainings. Each individual’s care is overseen by an Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) who also may task our employees with undergoing specific trainings to support an individual’s care.


Tracking Our Trainings


Because we rely on Medicaid and other sources of funding, it’s essential not only to ensure each staff member is comprehensively trained, but also to keep meticulous records for compliance. As we make grant requests and apply for funding, we call on the information in our training databases regularly, which contain each employee’s complete training record. We also use this information to track each employee’s educational requirements and ensure in-service trainings, continuing education classes, and recurring “refresher” modules are completed as required.


Our Team is the BEST!


We are immensely proud of our outstanding training program, but we are even prouder of the knowledgeable, compassionate staff who diligently complete their ongoing educational requirements. They truly care about providing the highest possible level of support and service to the individuals for whom we exist. Equipped with a solid educational foundation and constant opportunities for growth and learning, our employees strive to continuously improve themselves and the care they provide. As always, they are the true heroes of SCARC.


If you have questions about SCARC’s training curriculum or if you or someone you know would make a great SCARC employee, please reach out to Mary Jo Smith at 973-383-7442 or