Project ASSIST was successful in conducting tactical hiring practices for direct services staff. The leadership selected for Project ASSIST included a highly trained and experienced substance use disorder professional as the grant coordinator and an evaluator who also had extensive experience assessing program implementation. Eight staff took on the role of case manager, which was a position not typically used by the agency. The individuals hired were familiar with SSTAR and SBIRT concepts and practices. Some case managers were promoted from within SSTAR, and others were hired from outside the agency. These staff came from diverse backgrounds and had bachelor's degrees. Over the summer months, the grant allowed the project to hire seven part-time college interns to help with outreach activities in the community. In addition, grant funds allowed for the hiring of an administrative professional to assist the project. Some of the staff were co-located in the Career Center and High School.
Staff received extensive training and professional development in screening and brief intervention techniques. Staff from Project ASSIST and additional staff representing community partners were trained on a variety of new service delivery methods. These included a 4-day training on a family strengthening program called The Incredible Years; a training on Seeking Safety, and a number of other trainings specific to the grant, including Motivational Interviewing, FRAMES, SBIRT, and the ARISE Intervention. Some staff also participated in trainings on Parenting Wisely, the administration of GAIN, Non-violent Crisis Intervention, CADAC Prep Course, Suicide Prevention, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Project staff also received orientation to the evaluation elements of this project, including the screening tools to be used, confidential data collection protocol, and data entry through the SAMHSA SAIS system. Training was also offered by the Gallup organization with the focus of improving marketing of the program in general. During the Year 3 site visit by Westat, interviewees reported that the multiple staff training opportunities strengthened the overall staff skill base, which continues to be an asset to the agency as it works to meet its clients' needs.