Transforming Lives Through Learning
Non-profit Adult & Teen Challenge improved compliance, lowered expenses, and gave their staff the tools through the Bridge Learning Management System to help those in recovery.
To empower, educate, and equip Adult & Teen Challenge Corporations.
Time, Budget, and Platform Limitations
Adult & Teen Challenge (ATC), a nonprofit headquartered in Ozark, Missouri, assists people struggling with substance abuse, addiction, and other life-controlling issues. It has 217 centers across North America and a sister organization providing support for thousands worldwide.
Adult & Teen Challenge centers assist teens and adults with their challenges and provide mentoring for valuable life skills to achieve recovery. The National Office Learning Department oversees the creation and distribution of resources to students to help them with recovery, focusing on health, community, and faith. It also provides training and skills development to more than 3,500 employees working in centers across North America and shares resources with partner centers across the globe.
As a nonprofit operating within the addiction rehabilitation industry, there are a number of strict standards, regulations, and codes that employees and partners must adhere to, including financial, safety, and legal. New employees must complete training in these areas within 30 days of employment. In addition, ATC has its own accreditation standards required for all centers, including compliance processes and hands-on training.
Before adopting Bridge, ATC used basic online resources to deliver online training to staff. However, this meant there was no way to generate reports, analyze learner data, and track whether staff had completed courses or earned accreditations (unless they manually printed and stored certificates in HR files). This solution was too basic and didn’t meet ATC’s needs. Platform limitations and time spent on manual processes meant training became a check-box exercise for learners with limited opportunities to go above and beyond and develop the skills essential for the recovery field.
Not only was the team frustrated with the lack of course-building functionality, but it often traveled across the US to conduct training in person prior to adopting Bridge. Faced with the need to budget as efficiently as possible and limited by time constraints, ATC needed a scalable solution. A strong connection to its mission and values and a need to make the most of its resources compelled ATC’s Chief Operating Officer to find an LMS that would foster stronger relationships throughout its branches, make training more accessible, and ultimately equip employees with the skills to help people live healthy lives.
Bridge is a pivotal part of our organization’s strategic plan through 2030 to make a dent in the North American epidemic of drug use.-Mitchell Easter, Director of Learning
A Learning Platform That Goes Above and Beyond
In April 2020, as COVID-19 pandemic policies forced its National Office to restrict travel and limit attendee numbers at in-person events, Adult & Teen Challenge launched Bridge.
Since adopting Bridge’s LMS, the small central team has transformed training and organizational culture for thousands of employees. Thanks to its ease of use, Bridge has improved their reach and connected people across centers to instill a culture of learning and sharing. While communicating and sharing was once a challenge, they’re now using Bridge to unite learners—one center can create content that the others can then immediately use within the platform.
It's cool to see how different organizations are coming together. We've even noticed that internally. Bridge has been a collaborative tool where people come together, learn, and create courses. We've had staffers in Minnesota contribute content to a recovery industry standard they are champions in and make it available to workers across North America. It's bringing a lot of people together.-Mitchell Easter, Director of Learning
The team now provides compliance training on ATC’s accreditation standards through four mandatory programs. Using Bridge Analytics allows for greater tracking and reporting functionality, ensuring that all new hires complete the programs within the first 30 days.
Beyond mandatory training, the team is using analytics to gain deeper insights into learners’ passions, the skills they’re gaining, and the ones most connected to ATC’s cause. With access to this information, the team can mobilize internal talent with the confidence that the right people have the skills and drive to perform in their roles.
ATC created subaccounts within its main account to manage content distribution across its centers and share the same standard of training with all employees, no matter their location or language. It’s also working alongside other renowned charities to positively impact the lives of people in recovery programs worldwide.
Bridge has opened up a new world of opportunities to ATC. While in-person events and courses had to factor in costs like travel and accommodation, online training is free from boundaries and restrictions, and what wasn’t in the budget before is now possible. Its National Office has created over 80 training programs and courses in collaboration with subject matter experts and industry leaders.
We're a nonprofit, and we don't have the budget that a lot of for-profit corporations or companies have. We're hiring subject matter experts who are professionals or who have impressive credentials, psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed counselors, people who have had their own practices, or who come from the recovery field. The ability to offer online training is huge.-Mitchell Easter, Director of Learning
ATC is transforming the way it delivers learning to employees across North America. Using Bridge Journeys, the department is rolling out three twelve-month training tiers for different moments of need that take employees from entry-level to executive training with purpose-built pathways:
- “Ignite”, to onboard new employees, teach them about the organization and its mission, and help them identify their career goals.
- “Fuse”, to teach new managers and members of the board of directors all-important soft skills like relationship-building alongside legal and HR policies and procedures and strategic planning. This culminates in a five-day in-person training and networking conference.
- “Forge”, launched in 2021, an executive development program that trains 15 upper-level leaders and corporation presidents on high-level topics such as strategic planning and leadership theories through checkpoints, ethical-based situation analysis, and assessment submissions.
It was a miracle that it all happened when it did and how it did. Before, we were doing what was required. Now with Bridge, we're able to take it to new levels and offer free training to our staff, where they get equipped and educated to do their jobs well. In the long run, that helps people live sober, healthy lives.-Mitchell Easter, Director of Learning
Maximum Impact, Minimum Cost
The transition to Bridge has been smooth and straightforward, with only one corporation in the entire affiliation yet to fully adopt Bridge. Employee feedback has been unanimous—staff are growing, engaging with training, and using learning to help students. One center recorded a 100% completion rate for compliance training for the first time in over two years.
Feedback shows employee satisfaction and an improvement in their ability to apply techniques and help students. Bridge has also strengthened connections between regions, inspired a shared vision, and standardized materials across centers.
Bridge has been influential in our impact on relationships. Past that, they're getting high-quality training, and we're seeing a huge difference in the professionalism of our staff.-Mitchell Easter, Director of Learning
Thanks to the success of Forge, Adult & Teen Challenge has partnered with several universities to offer learners in executive development programs up to six graduate credits toward a Master’s of Organizational Leadership. As a result of Bridge Journeys’ capabilities with checkpoints, live training, courses, and assessments, ATC’s programs meet the university’s standards for a regionally accredited degree. This is resulting in executive graduates successfully moving into senior positions throughout the US.
Forge has become a feeder program for some of the high-level jobs. Our hope is to take that hesitation away so our leaders can walk in confidence, not only in the helping skills category but also in these leadership categories.-Mitchell Easter, Director of Learning
Bridge Journeys also represents a cost-effective solution to the challenges facing the nonprofit sector. Using Journeys, ATC achieved a 40% reduction in the cost of training programs.
Perhaps the most important result is the impact on the lives of the people in recovery. The quality of training and the strength of ATC’s values shows in the student success rate, as 78% remain sober a year after graduation.
“Bridge is a pivotal part of our organization’s strategic plan through 2030 to make a dent in the North American epidemic of drug use,” concludes Mitchell.