New York State WIC Training Center

Summary: This program provides training to a wide range of agency staff to help them deliver high-quality services to families in New York State who rely on the federal WIC program for nutritional support.

Opportunity: The federal government’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, known as WIC, is a vital source of support for families in New York State. WIC provides nutritious food, participant-centered nutrition and health education, breastfeeding support, and referrals to health care. In order to provide high-quality services that advance WIC’s important mission, agency staff need information about the program and how to effectively engage clients, as well as practical tools to use in their day-to-day work, and managers need consistent guidance on how to lead teams and administer programs effectively.

Initiative: As New York State’s WIC Training Center, CAI designs and delivers training to staff at 92 WIC local agencies and four vendor-management companies in New York State. About half of these local agencies are in the New York City area, and the other half are in upstate, western, and central New York. Our programs use diverse training methods, such as face-to-face training, virtual training, webinars (both live and on demand), and online training modules. CAI delivers training on a wide range of topics to build competencies that will result in better health outcomes for WIC participants. Trainings serve all WIC staff, including support staff, nutritionists, breastfeeding staff, managers, and the vendor management team. CAI facilitates a learning community that combines training and technical assistance with data and other methods to improve outcomes. The learning community examines issues such as caseload and retention, participant-centered services, exclusive breastfeeding, and outreach. We also recognize that engaging leadership in WIC local agencies is key for ensuring high-quality services. We design and deliver a training series for managers statewide that addresses issues related to supervision and leadership, managing data, and facilitating programmatic changes in WIC.

Impact: Cornerstones of maternal-child health care include reducing or preventing obesity, ensuring adequate access to nutrition information, increasing physical activity for children, and supporting breastfeeding. The WIC Training Center supports these goals by building the competencies of the workforce to address these issues through a participant-centered lens. As participants are offered support and services that meet their unique needs and reflect their reality, these outcomes will be easier to attain.

Project funder and key partners: This project is funded by the New York State Department of Health. Key partners are the New York State WIC Association and the National WIC Association.

Project contact: Kelley Berardi, Project Director: nyswic.contact@caiglobal.org.