Aspire of WNY Increases Collaboration and Sees Changes to the Training Curriculum


Consistency, collaboration, and innovation always come to mind in Aspire of WNY’s Residential Opportunities Division. In 2022, the Residential Team set out to develop a training curriculum to train managers and Direct Support Professionals within the division to better support the individuals residing in Aspire of WNY group homes.

For years, the training documents within the agency have provided a foundation for consistent support. However, the Residential Team noticed an opportunity to fine-tune the training collateral. To begin, they established a work group focusing on reviewing and correcting the training documents, compiling information, and organizing all of the information on SharePoint, the agency’s central information system. Having one location to house all of the information provides consistent access to training and an on-demand updated system so all documents can be as accurate as possible at any given moment.

After the SharePoint location was determined and all documents were updated and uploaded, the Residential Team implemented a new agenda format for Staff Meetings. This unique agenda style allows the Team Coordinators (TCs) to access the agenda in SharePoint, add their initiatives and questions, and have it reviewed by managers at any time. Then, the team reviews the information monthly and can work from any site to provide updates to the materials.

The Residential Team also recognized a need for consistent training of new Team Coordinators when they joined the team. Aspire of WNY’s leadership team took this idea and created a team of trainers, collaborating with leaders in Quality Assurance and Human Resources, to create a new training model designed to train TCs in the Residential Division.

The next part of this innovative process? The creation of “Sister PODs!” These “pods” allow two Program Coordinators (PCs) to meet monthly with their site managers and create closer working relationships among PCs and TCs within Residential. The teams/PODs rotate each month. This increases the understanding and knowledge across the team, fostering more intimate relationships with peers and creating an environment in which best practices can be shared and new ideas can be generated.

Above all, recognizing areas to improve and innovating new and collaborative ideas will lead the agency to better support all individuals living in the residences supported by Aspire of WNY.