I&R/A Training

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CIRS-A/D Training

The Support Center offers training for the AIRS Certification for I&R Specialists in Aging/Disabilities credential. AIRS Certification is a professional credentialing program for individuals working within the I&R sector of human services. Certification is a measurement of documented knowledge in the field of I&R and I&R/A reflecting specific competencies and related performance criteria, which describe the knowledge, skills, attitudes and work-related behaviors needed by I&R practitioners to successfully execute their responsibilities (AIRS). 

The Support Center encourages professionals within the aging and disability networks to become professionally certified by taking the AIRS Certification for I&R Specialists in Aging/Disabilities (CIRS-A/D) exam. The CIRS-A/D credential was launched in March of 2015, and replaced the CIRS-Aging credential. This credential is designed for practitioners who work directly with consumers and caregivers within the aging and/or disabilities area and perform the same basic range of skills and tasks as a comprehensive I&R Specialist but who also have a special depth of knowledge related to their core client group. The CIRS-A/D is the result of a collaboration between AIRS, NASUAD, and n4a, recognizing the evolution of I&R/A services within aging and disability programs. To learn more about CIRS-A/D certification, see our fact sheet. For more information on AIRS certification, click here

Support Center staff offer CIRS-A/D training at national conferences (including the National Home and Community Based Services Conference and the annual n4a conference), in-person to large groups upon request, by webinar upon request, and online.

For more information on training options please contact Nanette Relave

CIRS-A/D Train-the-Trainer Initiative 

The Support Center offers a CIRS-A/D Train-the-Trainer Initiative to help reach the greatest number of I&R/A specialists for the lowest cost by training more I&R/A professionals, such as managers, supervisors, and training coordinators, to administer the Certification for Information and Referral Specialists in Aging/Disabilities exam preparation training. The train-the-trainer initiative supports I&R/A professionals to provide CIRS-A/D training themselves by providing a complete set of trainer materials (including curriculum, exercises, and supplemental materials), reviewing these materials with professionals, and being available for technical assistance on an as-needed basis. This initiative builds the capacity of agencies to provide certification training to their staff and community partners. The Support Center also maintains a list of individuals who have participated in the train-the-trainer initiative. The Train-the-Trainer initiative is provided at select national conferences and is available by conference call or webinar upon request. For more information, please contact Support Center director, Nanette Relave

Online Basic Training for Aging and Disability I&R/A Professionals

NASUAD has launched several free, online training courses intended for I&R/A professionals. These courses are available on our NASUADiQ.org online learning website. 

The courses aim to enhance the services provided by Information and Referral/Assistance (I&R/A) professionals by advancing their knowledge, skills, and work-related competences. The courses also are intended to help prepare I&R/A professionals for the Certification for I&R Specialists in Aging/Disabilities (CIRS-A/D) exam. Courses currently available on NASUADiQ include the following: 

  1. Affordable Housing for Older Adults and People with Disabilities Affordable housing is a basic human need that many older adults and people with disabilities struggle to find and keep. This curriculum is designed to give an overview of the types of affordable housing that are available to older adults and people with disabilities.
  2. Introduction to the Independent Living Movement This course provides participants with a historical perspective and a deeper understanding of the Independent Living Movement. Participants will learn about the role and services provided by Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs), and gain practical skills that will help them strengthen and promote independence and community living for people with disabilities.
  3. Developing Cultural Competence to Serve a Diverse Aging Population This course provides participants with an overview of America’s diverse aging population, and offers participants the opportunity to learn and apply culturally competent skills to successfully serve diverse populations.
  4. Essential Components of the Aging Informational and Referral Process This course provides participants with a comprehensive, step-by-step, analysis of the I&R/A process, and offers participants the opportunity to learn and apply communication techniques that support and encourage older adults, individuals with disabilities, and their caregivers in accessing and obtaining health and social support services.
  5. Disability for I&R Specialists. In partnership with AIRS, this course allows current CIRS-A certificate holders to grandfather to the new CIRS-A/D credential. Additionally, this training course may benefit any I&R specialist who would like to become more proficient at serving people with disabilities.
  6. Adult Protective Services. This course provides participants with an overview of Adult Protective Services (APS) at the national and state levels. The course explains the services provided by APS and addresses differences between state programs as a result of funding discrepancies. This training course may benefit individuals who work with older adults or vulnerable adult populations, as well as professionals in APS agencies or other state and local agencies that collaborate with APS.
  7. An Introduction to Elder Abuse. This course provides participants with an overview of the issue of elder abuse. The course materials define, distinguish, and explain the significance and impact of elder abuse, as well as offer strategies to respond to possible scenarios. The course is designed for individuals in the fields of aging and disabilities who may encounter elder abuse or vulnerable adult abuse situations. 
  8. The Role of MIPPA: Helping Older Adults and Individuals with Disabilities Afford Medicare. This module provides participants with information about MIPPA, the Medicare program, and the Medicare low-income subsidies. The module also provides key referral resources for additional program information and enrollment assistance. 
  9. Medicaid 101: What You Need to Know. This training module provides participants with an overview of key issues relevant to the joint state-federal Medicaid program. This module aims to empower the viewer to gain as nuanced an understanding as possible of the complex Medicaid program, given time and informational constraints. Medicaid 101 is aimed toward anyone seeking a better understanding of Medicaid. 
  10. Medicaid Managed Care 101. This training module provides an overview of Medicaid managed care and outlines important differences between the Medicaid fee-for-service and Medicaid managed care delivery systems.  The course also explains types of managed care plans, how states can implement managed care programs, and key requirements that must be followed. Medicaid Managed Care 101 is intended for participants that have completed the Medicaid 101 course.
  11. Strengthening Cultural Competence in I&R/A Work with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Older Adults. This course provides an overview of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Aging population for Information & Referral/Assistance (I&R/A) staff and providers. The course offers strategies for staff and providers to integrate cultural and linguistic competence into their work with AAPI older adults, strengthening access to the Aging Network’s long-term services and supports system for this diverse group nationwide.

For help with NASUADiQ, please contact Ali Diaz.

National Training Events 

AIRS Conference

For over twenty years, the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities has convened the National Aging and Disability Information and Referral Symposium in conjunction with the annual AIRS Conference, to support the professional development of state and local I&R/A, ADRC, CIL and SHIP staff within the aging and disability network. Working with outstanding partners, the Alliance for Information and Referral Systems (AIRS), the U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL), the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), and the National Council on Independent Living, the symposium offers comprehensive, cutting edge learning opportunities to improve Information and Referral program development, services to consumers, and staff development. 

Presentation and materials from the 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 Symposiums are available on the Support Center website. 

NASUAD and n4a Conferences

The Support Center offers national training events at NASUAD’s annual Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Conference and at the annual n4a conference. The HCBS conference includes a full-day I&R/A pre-conference intensive that addresses key federal, national, state, and local developments and innovations in aging, disability, and I&R/A services and systems. The HCBS conference also includes CIRS-A/D training opportunities, including a full-day CIRS-A/D exam preparation training, an AIRS certification exam, and a train-the-trainer session. The annual n4a conference includes a two-part I&R/A Summit; part 1 addresses national, state and local developments impacting I&R/A and part 2 provides a half-day CIRS-A/D basic training. For more information, contact Support Center director, Nanette Relave