National Coalition Academy (NCA)

The National Coalition Academy (NCA), a comprehensive training program developed by CADCA’s National Coalition Institute and teaches leaders “what they need to know” (the core competencies) and “what their team needs to do” (the essential processes) to establish or maintain a highly effective anti-drug coalition.

The NCA is designed specifically for coalition staff and volunteer leadership. It combines three weeks of classroom training, three reinforcement on-line sessions and access to a web-based workstation. The Academy’s training curriculum is organized within SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework. By the end of the year-long training, coalitions will have developed five essential products (1) a community assessment, (2) a logic model, (3) a strategic & action plan, (4) an evaluation plan and (5) a sustainability plan.


  • Individuals must be coalition members in order to qualify to attend NCA.
  • Coalitions are NOT required to have a DFC grant to attend. NCA is open to all coalitions.
  • All (Drug-Free Communities) DFC grantees are mandated to attend and complete the Academy during their Year 1 grant. Year 6 DFC grantees are recommended to attend, especially if there is change in staff.
  • Each coalition must have a two-person team attend all three weeks of the Academy unless the coalition graduated from the Academy in the past.
  • Once registered, coalitions must attend all three weeks.
  • Coalitions must attend all three weeks of the same location selected. The weeks cannot be switched between other Academy locations.
  • One person must remain the same for all 3 weeks. The other person can change.
  • Each coalition is strongly encouraged to complete the Annual Survey which is open from January to April. For questions about the survey, contact Tamara Tur at


The National Coalition Academy seeks applications from new coalitions or those that have experienced challenges or setbacks, and who are willing to make a commitment to this intensive year-long process, working together with their partners and community members. Priority will be given to both economically-disadvantaged communities and current DFC grantees. While priority will be given to these groups, every effort will be made to place coalitions that apply.


There are no tuition costs, registration fees or charges for materials. Coalition members are responsible for planning and paying for lodging, meals, travel and transportation. When planning your budget consider these expenses for two coalition members for three weeks of training.


  • A total of 120 contact hours (40 hours each week) will be granted for completion of the Academy. Training contact hours can be applied towards a Prevention Specialist certification.


Each coalition submits five products at the end of the experience to be considered for graduation. Coalitions graduate in February of the year after the completion of the Academy. The graduation ceremony is held at the National Leadership Forum in Washington, DC.