Training and technical assistance beyond just a PowerPoint

Training and technical assistance beyond just a PowerPoint
By Mary Vail Ware
Apr 18, 2022

Many organizations use the term Training and Technical Assistance (TTA).

In terms of delivery of TTA, is it just a PowerPoint presentation? Is TTA delivered by experts, standout peers, or individuals with lived experience? Are they vetted for achieving tangible results through their work? Does the TTA elevate practice? These are all important questions to ask.

What constitutes meaningful and effective TTA for our team is a focus on producing lasting practice, organizational, or community change. We call this approach REAL TTA. Keep reading for an in-depth breakdown of what we mean by REAL TTA.


Responsive TTA is focused on your concerns and the reality of the environment in which you operate. It is based on a collaborative assessment and tailored to your specific needs. For example, Kansas Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN) asked for trauma-informed training to support disrupting a community cycle of violence for all PSN partners: law enforcement, prosecutors, advocates, and community organizations. We supported the Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC TTAC) by facilitating pre-meetings to walk through and identify trends in their data, promising practices, and challenges. That intentional work led to training and follow-ups tailored to the needs of that community.

Similarly, we help the Office for Victims of Crime Tribal Financial Management Center (TFMC) provide TTA to support American Indian and Alaska Native communities as they manage the financial aspects of their federal awards. Specialists work collaboratively with grantees to create customized TA plans to support the financial management and sustainability of victim services programs across Alaska and the continental United States. Recently, TFMC financial specialists organized a complex coordination on behalf of the Tribe with the Office of Inspector General, Office of the Chief Financial Officer, and OVC Grant Managers to resolve audit findings so the Tribe could access their funds to support crime victims in the community.

E=Elevates practice

TTA that elevates practice is provided in a way that drives real-world solutions to challenges. Along with information, participants are given tools to institute best practices and receive ongoing support as changes are implemented. The recipient is matched with a vetted, experienced subject matter expert (SME), mentor, or peer—or several of them—specific to the needs identified through assessment.

We manage the National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). It connects juvenile justice and child victimization prevention practitioners, policymakers, and constituents to appropriate TTA providers and resources. NTTAC received a request from the United States Attorney’s Office in Alabama requesting increased education on community violence intervention programs relevant and unique to their locality. OJJDP’s NTTAC identified those resources and connected the requestor with both a federal resource and an organization to support their needs.


Adaptive TTA is provided in a way that is scalable and digestible for each intended audience. It is a collaborative process that can be adapted based on changing needs. Information, tools, and hand-in-glove coaching are designed to continue the momentum toward practical solutions that help you implement important changes.

The Improving Community Preparedness to Assist Victims of Mass Violence and Domestic Terrorism: Training and Technical Assistance (ICP TTA) program is directed by ICF in cooperation with partners and subject matter experts. The State of Utah Emergency Management and state-level victim advocates contacted ICP TTA to assist with developing a state-level response annex focused on mass violence and domestic terrorism. The rural nature of the state adds complexity to any response and requires extensive coordination and mutual aid. ICP TTA experts worked to engage emergency management and victim advocates that had never worked together prior to this initiative. The TTA team also performed an after-action review of two smaller incidents in the state to provide support and highlight the need for collaboration. They are now working on a state-level template that will be distributed to all counties in the state.


Lasting TTA produces lasting change for your team, your organization, and your community. We manage the training and technical assistance center of the Capacity Building Center for States to help public child welfare organizations and professionals build the capacity necessary to strengthen, implement, and sustain effective child welfare practice and achieve better outcomes for children, youth, and families.

To support the operations of the West Virginia Bureau for Children and Families centralized intake system, the Capacity Building Center for States is helping develop a screening threshold analysis tool to ensure uniformity in screening decisions, and to adhere to the fidelity of established state practices related to child safety. This data-driven tool will strengthen their centralized intake system and lead to better outcomes for children and families. Our Child Welfare Training Directors group engages in regular skill-building events, roundtable meetings, and fostering ongoing communication in order to facilitate peer groups and take advantage of collective expert knowledge across the country.

These are just some examples that illustrate how we approach technical assistance through the lens of REAL TTA; it’s not just another PowerPoint.

Go to ICF
Meet the author
  1. Mary Vail Ware, Senior Director, Victim Services

    Mary Vail is a victim services expert with more than 25 years of experience helping communities and individuals prevent, address, and respond to trauma. View bio

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