Training Facilitators

A successful Getting Ahead initiative requires qualified facilitators who are both trained and supported.

The importance of the facilitator’s role can hardly be overstated. Getting Ahead graduates rave about their facilitators at graduation ceremonies and in interviews. They appreciate the facilitators for “never telling us what to do,” for challenging the group, for being persistent in questioning, and “for keeping us on track.”

Below are some tips that can help ensure strong facilitation for your Getting Ahead initiative.

Facilitator Qualities

Typically, a Getting Ahead workshop is facilitated by a person who may or may not come from the middle class or wealth, and a co-facilitator who is a graduate of Getting Ahead. Ideal facilitators are both born and made, combining the right knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will help them guide investigators through an intense process of change.

Facilitators should be familiar with Bridges Out of Poverty concepts as taught in the one-day workshop, and understand the approach to Getting ahead presented in the Facilitator Notes for Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World

They should be able to make connections with others, especially people from poverty; translate from formal language register to casual register; facilitate another person’s self-discovery; and be empathetic without being “taken in.”

And, they should like people from poverty. They should understand that the answers must come from the participants, not the facilitator; and they should be able to see the best in those who often can’t see it in themselves.

These and other qualities described in the Facilitator Notes for Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World provide a strong foundation for conducting a successful Getting Ahead workshop..

Facilitator Training

Successful facilitators typically go through a three-step training process:

It is important that this sequence of training be followed for maximum success as a Getting Ahead facilitator.

Ongoing Facilitator Support

Getting Ahead facilitators often feel alone, especially at the beginning. And even veteran facilitators encounter situations they haven’t seen before. Here are some sources of ongoing support for facilitators.

At the community level, a community collaborative can establish a local Getting Ahead facilitator network for area facilitators. This group also can monitor, evaluate, and manage the quality of facilitation throughout the community.

At the national and international level, facilitators can join the Getting Ahead Network. It is made up of hundreds of sites throughout the U.S. and the world that use Getting Ahead. See where sites are located on this map. To add your initiative to the map, please email Lynn Jackson at

Facilitators also can attend aha! Process’s annual national conference, Addressing the Challenges of Poverty, to hear how others are using Getting Ahead and network with facilitators from around the country.

For more information about the steps associated with launching a Getting Ahead initiative, click on the links below:

To learn more about how you can build ensure strong facilitation for your Getting Ahead initiative, call (800) 424-9484 or request more information.