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Technical Assistance Frequently Asked Questions

What is Technical Assistance?

Technical assistance or TA is a term used in education, government, and industry to mean “consultation.” NIC TA is short-term, no-cost help for agencies on a variety of issues.


What kind of TA does NIC provide?

NIC provides corrections agencies with a wide range of TA services including responding to critical incidents, assisting in problem-solving, as well as strategic or long-range planning, policy development, system mapping and other issues and topics. 


How is NIC’s TA work different from its training programs?

Typically, an NIC TA engagement is a tailored response to a specific, limited need of a single requesting corrections agency. While some types of non-standard training may be delivered through TA, NIC’s training programs  comprise standardized curricula that address a range of core correctional issues and are responsive to a range of corrections training needs.


Is my agency eligible to receive TA from NIC?

Any local, state, federal, or tribal corrections agency is eligible to receive TA services from NIC. 


Is NIC able to fulfill every request submitted for TA?

Due to budget and staffing limitations, NIC cannot fulfill all the requests for TA it receives. However, NIC will review each TA request and will provide a response to the requesting agency. In cases where the request cannot be met, NIC strives to provide information about alternate resources that may be useful to the requestor.


Does my agency pay for the TA?

NIC’s TA services are paid for through funds provided to the agency by Congress to support the work of the agency. Typically, the requesting agency will be expected to provide meeting space,  or other relevant information, and necessary access to facilities or agency staff.


Will I be required to sign a formal agreement before receiving TA?

NIC’s TA application form and other paperwork to initiate a TA engagement will stipulate all the conditions regarding receiving TA services from NIC. For example, the expectations for the TA regarding when it will start, how long it will last, the level of agency support expected from the requestor, what services NIC will provide, and how the TA engagement will conclude may be included along with other information. Typically, the requesting agency is expected to complete a detailed assessment (and, in some cases, a followup assessment) to discern the effect of the TA services.


How quickly will my agency receive TA?

TA services can begin almost immediately depending on the services sought, the availability of NIC resources, the availability of the agency, and the urgency of the requestor’s need. In most cases, TA services begin within a few months of the request.


Once TA has begun, what changes can be made?

Occasionally, NIC begins a TA engagement with an agency only to discover that, due to changing circumstances, the services requested are not as originally planned. NIC maintains a flexible stance and a willingness to adjust each TA engagement to ensure that services provided meet the actual needs of the requesting agency and that NIC’s limited resources are used efficiently and effectively.


Can I request more than one type of TA at the same time?

Yes.  Because NIC is committed to delivering TA that is tailored to your agency, we understand that there are times when you may need help with more than one issue.  However, remember that each request is reviewed on its own merit and that your agency should be able to demonstrate its capacity to engage in multiple projects at the same time.


If my agency has received TA in the past, can I submit additional requests for the same issue?

Yes.  However, NIC is committed to ensuring that any TA you receive will help build capacity in your agency.  As with any other request, NIC will carefully review your information to determine the level of need and what our response will be.