Press Releases


Durham, NC (July 23, 2015)—Mentoring Central, a wholly-owned subsidiary of innovation Research & Training (iRT)–a behavioral sciences research company—today announced the launch of a newly developed mentor training e-learning course specifically for site-based mentoring organizations. Read the full article…


Mentoring Central Launches Upgraded Training Course Management System

DURHAM, NC (February 13, 2015)—Mentoring Central, a wholly-owned subsidiary of innovation Research & Training (iRT)–a behavioral sciences research company, today announced the launch of its upgraded on-line learning management system aimed at enhancing and expanding training opportunities for mentors working with youth. Read the full article…


iRT Researchers to Present at National Mentoring Summit

January proclaimed as National Mentoring Month

Durham, NC (January 20, 2015)—Researchers from innovation Research & Training (IRT) will be among other scientists, and corporate and government officials, civic leaders, and national youth-serving organizations presenting at the upcoming National Mentoring Summit January 28-30, in Washington, D.C. Read the full article…


iRT Continues Accelerated Growth with New Hires

DURHAM, NC (October 28, 2014)—innovation Research & Training (iRT), a leading behavior science research organization, has continued its business growth resulting in a surge of new hires.

“We have seen a very positive performance across the business this year,” said Dr. Janis Kupersmidt, iRT president. “Our outlook for the remainder of the year is promising, resulting in the need for additional staff.” Read the full article…

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Selects iRT To Develop Training Curricula for Youth Educational Outcomes

Durham, NC (October 24, 2014)—innovation Research & Training (iRT)—a behavioral sciences research company—today announced its partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) to develop executive, staff, and volunteer training for an innovative program designed to support youth with learning differences whose learning style is not aligned with the expectations and teaching methods common in mainstream school systems. Read the full article…

View all.


Webinar: Applying the EEPM 4 to Diverse Models and Youth Populations [free]

Applying the EEPM 4 to Diverse Models and Youth Populations [free]

2/25/16 1-2:30pm EST

~ 75 minutes

Applying the EEPM 4 to Diverse Models and Youth Populations will provide attendees with an interactive discussion on how the Elements of Effective Practice applies to mentoring programs given the diverse array of mentee and mentor populations and program models. In addition, we will solicit questions and feedback from attendees regarding how the EEPM applies to their programs.

Register at

[Webinar] Risk Management Part 2 – 1pm (EST) Feb. 16, 2016

Risky Business (Part 2): Developing your mentoring program’s risk management policies [free]

Register Here

A mentoring relationship cannot be considered effective unless it is safe. Training on ethics and safety in mentoring is critical to ensuring the health and well-being of mentees and mentors. The recently released Fourth Edition of the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring (EEPM) identified a set of risk management topics that programs should address in their policies and include in their training of mentors, mentees, and parent or guardians. This three-part webinar series will focus on how mentoring programs can decrease the potential for harm to anyone involved in a mentoring relationship.

Join our expert researchers (Drs. Janis Kupersmidt and Rebecca Stelter) and practitioner (Ms. Sharon Daura) who will provide a thorough exploration of the 19 risk management topics outlined in the EEPM, with the goal of helping you to fine-tune your existing program policies or develop new ones.  After you attend these webinars, you will understand the importance and relevance of each topic for mentoring as well as key issues to address in your policies.  Future training will focus on how to conduct mentor, mentee, and parent or guardian training on these policies.

The second webinar in the series focuses on issues to consider in a mentoring program’s risk management policies and practices that are related to communications by mentors, mentees, parents or guardians, and the mentoring program with individuals, organizations, and media outlets that are outside of the mentoring relationship.

Celebrating 25 Years of the Youth Mentoring Movement

Monday, November 9, New York City—The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) is proud to celebrate 25 years of building and unifying a youth mentoring movement in 2015! This yearlong celebration will include a special event at The Plaza Hotel on Monday, November 9 honoring MENTOR’s co-founders and commemorating a quarter of a century of milestones and achievements in the field. More on this celebration:

Advanced Screening

November 17, Boston—Join Mass Mentoring Partnership for an advanced training that will build upon the basics of screening. Participants will have the opportunity to refine program eligibility requirements, receive feedback on program applications and interview forms, enhance awareness of red flags, and practice relevant steps in the screening process.  Participants will receive MMP’s Advanced Screening Workbook which contains useful tools and templates to support screening of volunteers and mentors. Register:

National Mentoring Month: Amplifying Your Voice

November 19, 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m., EDT—Planning to participate in National Mentoring Month this January? Join this webinar to learn best practices for amplifying your voice during this yearly recruitment campaign. We will feature panelists from Midlands Mentoring Partnership in Nebraska, TeamMates Mentoring in Iowa and Big Brothers Big Sistersof the Mid-South in Tennessee. Each presenter will speak on a different way to engage throughout the month. Whether you represent a small, mid-size or large program, there will be plenty of useful information shared. Register now! Facilitated by MENTOR. For more information:

View all.


Bridging the Mentoring Gap in Sports-Based Youth Development

By Janis Kupersmidt

I recently had an opportunity to present to and participate in the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s ninth annual Urban Soccer Symposium in Washington, D.C.

The symposium is a three-day forum for national soccer coaches and program administrators to share best-practices for improving the field of sports-based youth development. I was honored to be part of a distinguished panel which discussed the role that sports-based youth development programs can play in bridging the mentorship gap and ways in which to leverage the role of a coach to provide youth with positive mentoring relationships.

In the United States alone, more than 35 million children between the ages of 8 and 19 participate in some form of youth sports. Another 5 million engage on an occasional basis, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association annual survey of households.

Youth coaches have a tremendous responsibility and opportunity to train young athletes through the drills that help hone their skills. More importantly, coaches also have the responsibility and opportunity to develop these players into not just great athletes, but healthier and more satisfied people, too.

Coaching relationships are based on shared interests and attend to the social, emotional, and physical needs of youth, elevating coaches and athletic administrators to prime mentor candidates, allowing them significant potential to meet and exceed the impact of traditional mentorships.

Every word uttered and every action taken by youth coaches can have a huge impact in the lives of these players, both positively and negatively. Athletes are constantly faced with moments of success and failure, and with calls from officials both good and bad. The words and actions of coaches in in these situations can stick with these players forever.

With proper mentoring from a coach, a young person can potentially absorb some of the most valuable life lessons on the athletic field. Youth coaches can exemplify the importance of hard work and what it takes to be a champion. They can teach about failure, and how to respond with resilience, grit, and an attitude that fuels a determination to succeed, gaining valuable self-confidence in the process.

The countless hours that youth spend with their sports coaches can have tremendous impact on youth during an impressionable phase of their lives. By observing and communicating with coaches, young people can be effected not only as an athlete, but as a career professional, adult, and contributing member of society.

One conclusion we can draw from the research on coaching and youth sports is that coaches shouldn’t be focused solely on winning and losing, and need to focus on the whole person while they also provide feedback on skills development. We need coaches who want to serve as change agents in the lives of youth by integrating a stronger mentoring perspective into the approaches that coaches take in working with youth. They have a tremendous potential to guide children, build their self-confidence, and ingrain positive values and sportsmanship, while also highlighting the importance of education, good sportsmanship, and physical fitness to get youth on an overall path to success in life.

The benefits of organized sports on youth can’t be ignored. Whether it’s preventing obesity, improving graduation rates, reducing the risks of youth violence or substance use, inspiring confidence and mental health, research shows sports positively affect all of these. Coaches may have winning on their minds, but it is those who nurture positive youth development that end up with players who succeed in life. In the end, although it may just be a game, the benefits of participation and of coaches approaching their job from a mentoring perspective are endless.

The Significance of Ethics and Safety Training in Youth Mentoring Programs

By Janis Kupersmidt

Successful youth mentoring relationships can provide fertile ground for teaching and learning, sharing and growing, renewing or establishing positive social benefits to the community and to the future.  These pairings, however, also may bear the dynamic of power relationships, including the need to navigate confidentiality and its limits, and the responsibility to build an edifice of trust.

If not carefully addressed upfront, the inherent imbalance of power could lead to abuse in the mentor-mentee relationship.  Typically, mentors have more knowledge, experience, and status, and in most cases are in a position of authority over the mentee. Even a mentor who is not very senior has a great deal of power relative to a mentee. The mentee has much to gain from the mentor’s support and advocacy, and fear of jeopardizing that support makes the relationship particularly imbalanced. Read the full article…

Mentor Training Helps Make School-Based Mentoring Work

By Janis Kupersmidt

Mentoring is a powerful tool that can positively affect the lives of at-risk children. The goal is to provide vulnerable youth with supportive relationships, thus allowing them to connect to channels for personal growth and educational support.

School-based mentoring programs are a win-win solution, reaching volunteers and youth who do not participate in community-based programs.  While relatively new, these programs have grown in popularity over the last several years. To date, approximately 30 percent of mentoring programs are located in schools—and such programs are continuing to expand at record rates. Read the full article…

View all blog posts.


IT Administrator

By Richard Van Horn

POSITION TITLE: IT Administrator

EMPLOYER: Innovation Research & Training

LOCATION (City, State): Durham, NC WEBSITE:

innovation Research & Training (iRT) seeks a part- or full-time IT Administrator to provide basic desktop and network support for a small Windows environment. iRT is a small, innovative company that specializes in research and development of health promotion interventions for youth. Our mission is to create products and services that improve the well-being of children, adolescents, and families. Technology innovations are fundamental to our mission. In recent years, we have deployed our own web-based surveying and project management engine, and a proprietary eLearning system (LMS). We use these products to facilitate easy and secure data collection and to provide web-based training and instruction, and we market these products to our customers.

Job Description: The IT Administrator will use extensive knowledge and skills obtained through education and experience to maintain and enhance all network infrastructures at iRT. This includes overseeing all software subscriptions and other equipment. In this position, this person will serve both internal and external customers. The IT Administrator will work within the IT Department and directly report to the Senior Web Applications Developer. The person in this position will be an integral member of a small IT department that is working on many software development projects in a company of approximately 30 people.

Essential duties and responsibilities include:

  • Perform basic system administration duties
  • Adding and removing users from the Active Directory
  • Order and set up new hardware (e.g., computers and printers), as needed
  • Manage nightly backups
  • Provide user support for all printer and workstation issues
  • Ensure that backups of all workstations are performed regularly
  • Oversee Antivirus protection for all computers and servers in the office
  • Administrate Office 365 e-mail service
  • Make technology recommendations of what hardware/software is needed at the user levels
  • Manage new/existing user accounts for the internal network domain
  • Oversee the patch management process for all workstations
  • Administer connections to the video conferencing system (GoToWebinar) and shared conference room monitors
  • Set up and support remote VPN access
  • Support general telephone usage on internal IP telephone system

The ideal candidate would be able to start immediately.


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Systems, Computer Science, MIS, Business Intelligence, Engineering, or related technical discipline. Equivalent work experience in the Information Technology field will be considered. (could be a perfect position for a graduate student that could be part-time during the academic school year and full-time in the summer months
  • Comfortable working with non-technical customers and co-worker
  • Be able to perform basic system administration in a Windows environment
  • Experience with Active Directory administration
  •  Flexible and able to handle multiple projects simultaneously

Compensation and other perks:

  • Competitive salary based on education and prior work experience.
  • Comprehensive benefit package, including BCBS health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance, short- and long-term disability, PTO, an employer-matched SIMPLE IRA.
  • Drug-free, smoke-free work environment.
  • Office located near local greenway, a variety of eateries, and retail outlets.

If you are interested in joining our team, please submit a cover letter including your available start date, your resume, and three references to