National Coalition Academy

December 4, 2023 - March 18, 2024

National Coalition Academy (NCA)

The National Coalition Academy (NCA) is 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, in order to graduate, 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.

Note that all communications about NCA will come from


Individuals must be coalition members in order to qualify to attend NCA.

  • Coalitions are NOT required to have a Drug-Free Communities (DFC) grant to attend. NCA is open to ALL coalitions. Although, note that priority space is given to Year 1 DFC Recipients.
  • All DFC Recipients are required to attend and complete the NCA during their Year 1 funding.
  • Year 6 DFC Recipients are not required but recommended to attend, especially if there is change in staff.
  • DFC Mentee Coalitions are required to attend and complete the NCA during the 2 years of DFC Mentor funding.
  • New DFC Recipients will be exempt from attending, if the coalitions have attended all 3 weeks and graduated from the NCA in the past. Please contact for exemption.
  • Each coalition must have a two-person team attend all three weeks of the NCA.
  • 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 NCA 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 Nicole Sanz at


The NCA 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 DFC Year 1 recipients and economically-disadvantaged communities. While priority will be given to these groups, every effort will be made to place other 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 96 contact hours (32 hours each training week) will be granted for completion of the NCA. Training contact hours can be applied towards a Prevention Specialist certification.


Each coalition submits the 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 NCA. The graduation ceremony is held at the National Leadership Forum in Washington, DC.


Note: there are virtual, in-person, and hybrid site options.

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