Privatization is a major trend in social welfare, and it is placing new emphasis on staff development in both public and private agencies. By permitting services that are often considered "public" to be provided under contract with non-profit and for-profit agencies, public policymakers have sought to increase the efficiency of social welfare programs. This has produced greater competition in the welfare marketplace. In a competitive environment, staff development is a key element that enables agencies to respond quickly to market demands for new or imaginative services. The purpose of this article is to describe an innovative staff training program and to report on its long-term impact. In addition, the authors review selected research on staff development and discuss principles that underpin effective staff development programs.

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