The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services has always believed in promoting from within.
The department’s commitment to that philosophy is even evident in the “Blueprint for the 21st Century,” which states that “we value leadership at all levels and we will … provide support and leadership development opportunities.”
In keeping with that commitment, the department is preparing to launch the ninth Leadership Training Institute, an intense training program that prepares current staff to assume leadership positions within the agency.
“ADRS is changing,” Commissioner Cary Boswell said. “We were created in 1995, and when I look around ELT (Executive Leadership Team), I see a lot of faces that have been with this department for its duration. These people won’t be with us in two to five years, and there will be a lot of vacant positions and opportunities for a newer generation of leaders to step in.”
LTI is designed specifically to prepare staff to assume positions of leadership within the agency. It consists of five four-day sessions to establish and strengthen camaraderie and working relationships between offices and across divisions of ADRS.
New to the 2014-15 LTI class, the fifth session will occur after graduation and will expand upon the feedback session for ELT/FLT (Field Leadership Team), which was new for the 2012-13 class. Also for the first time, select graduates of the previous LTI class will return to assist as mentors for the incoming group.
“This course really helped me step out and step up as a leader,” said Leslie Dawson, business relations consultant.
VR Counselor Kristine Klopp agreed. “LTI is unique in that it is broken up over an entire year and gives you time in between sessions to implement what you’ve learned.”
Both Klopp and Dawson will serve as mentors to the 2014-15 class.
The first session, which begins in Montgomery on Monday, introduces concepts of leadership and how to best work with various personality types. Session II, scheduled for Jan. 12-15, 2015, stresses team building, with the third session (March 9-12) further refining leadership skills acquired through the first two sessions. Session IV (May 4-7) focuses on moving the department forward, with emphasis placed on strengthening leadership skills to implement change. Graduation will be May 7, and the encore fifth session will occur Sept. 21-15, 2015.
Ninety-four LTI graduates are currently employed at ADRS, and many of them – including six members of ELT – are in supervisory/leadership roles.