Our Managing Director of Community and Recovery Services (pictured on the right) discusses the recent launch of the new CASAC Training Institute geared towards aspiring substance abuse counselors. 

What is the CASAC training institute, what purpose will it serve, and how will it work?  

We are a New York State OASAS approved training provider.  The 350-hour CASAC curriculum is one of the offerings at our Center for Recovery and Wellness (CRW) Training Institute and is geared towards aspiring substance abuse counselors interested in making a difference.  The Institute also offers the recovery coach, peer ethics, and peer supervision trainings as well.  In response to the current health crisis, the Institute will offer live classes on a virtual platform.   

How did the idea arise for the CASAC training institute in the first place?   

As a Learning and Development professional, I am keenly aware of the utility of training for organizational development and success. It allows employees to develop new skills, sharpen existing ones, increase productivity, and create better leaders.  I was part of designing and implementing a CASAC training curriculum as part of a vocational track for clients in another residential treatment program. I have also facilitated CASAC trainings at the college level and as a consultant. Starting a training institute was a “natural progression” that aligned with the values and vision of the CRW leadership.    

Where are you at in the process of launching, is there a specific timeline?  

As I mentioned earlier, we started with our Recovery Coach training and anticipate fully launching the CASAC curriculum by the end of the year.   

What has been the biggest challenge so far in working on this project and how have you overcome that challenge?    

I consider challenges as opportunities! The COVID pandemic facing our country and social distancing, or compassionate spacing as I like to call it, presents opportunities for creativity. The keys are consistency, logic, and flexibility, as well as an ability to consider the Learning and Development process holistically.  At CRW, we have created a strong, diverse leadership team and environment which promotes creativity and collaboration.  The CRW Training Institute is a “we” project and collectively we are meeting the opportunities.  

Why are you passionate about CASAC training?   

I started my career at the Educational Alliance in 1995, which paid for my CASAC training at an outside agency. That experience changed my life and ignited my desire to give back to a field that has given so much to me. I want to be able to do the same for others interested in entering the field.  The CRW Training Institute will also provide educational and professional development opportunities for other disciplines as well.   

Is there anything else you’d like to share as a closing thought?   

The substance abuse treatment field is facing a nationwide shortage of trained addiction treatment and recovery professionals. More than 24 million people across the United States are in need of treatment for alcohol and substance abuse-related problems, which informs the need for more trained professionals.  We want to be part of that solution.