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Enhancing Academic and Professional Performance:

Focused Skill & Strategy Training (FSST)

hand writing on a dry eraseAre you working with young adults who struggle to manage the demands of work and school?

  • Students who complete FSST are 6 times more likely to stay in school
  • FSST is turning the tide on college dropouts
  • Students with mental health conditions are ‘White knuckling’ it through college and FSST helps them to hold on

Focused Skill & Strategy Training (FSST) provides an accessible, effective solution to mitigate common cognitive challenges, such as time and task management, and paves the way for greater success and satisfaction. Many programs are focused on getting young adults into employment and education; our goal is to equip them with the skills and strategies to stay there and thrive.  Early findings have shown that students who completed FSST are 6 times more likely to stay in school.  

outline of a head with a lightbulb inside it

What is Focused Skill & Strategy Training (FSST)?

FSST is a comprehensive manualized intervention designed to systematically teach executive functioning skills and compensatory strategies essential for success in work and school.

What distinguishes FSST is its structured approach and emphasis on practicing and integrating learned skills into daily life until they become ingrained habits. Most providers who are trained to facilitate the intervention report an improvement in their own time and task management.

The young adult develops skills and strategies in the following four domains:

  • Prospective Memory (i.e., remembering to remember)
  • Attention and Concentration
  • Learning and Memory
  • Problem-solving and Cognitive Flexibility

Developed from cognitive remediation literature and, building on an existing intervention by Twamley and colleagues (2012), FSST offers a manualized, 12-session, intensive skill development curriculum. Each session is designed to be delivered by trained providers, offering personalized 1:1 instruction, coaching, and hands-on practice using a range of engaging exercises and activities, both in session and at home.

yellow target with arrow pointing at center

Why Focus on Executive Functioning Skills? 

Preventing disruption: Mental health conditions can impact cognitive, or thinking, abilities, leading to challenges in memory, concentration, and problem-solving. These difficulties can hinder performance across various life domains, from academic pursuits to interpersonal relationships. Executive functioning skills can help to mitigate these difficulties, thereby improving persistence and success in school and work.

Critical Skills for Success: Executive functioning skills like task clarification, time management, meeting deadlines, and effective communication are critical for work and school. Students themselves identify the biggest barriers at college are concentration, time management, stamina, organization, and prioritizing tasks (Gill, Mullen, et al., 2022).

Proven Results: Early research demonstrates remarkable outcomes for young adults completing the 12-week FSST curriculum. College students were found to be 6 times more likely to stay in school, reported a reduction in academic difficulties and indicated a potential increase in self-efficacy and cognitive strategy use (Mullen,, 2017).  

Addressing Equity: With an increasing number of students with mental health conditions on college campuses facing significant academic disruptions (Collins & Mowbray, 2005), FSST aims to mitigate these challenges, offering a pathway to persistence and success in post-secondary education, thus breaking the cycle of poverty and unemployment for young adults with mental health conditions.  

outline of a teacher with studentsAccessing FSST

Becoming a FSST Facilitator is a customizable journey tailored to your specific needs and resources. From online and distance training to in-person workshops and ongoing support, our team, led by clinical developer Michelle G. Mullen PhD, is dedicated to ensuring quality delivery and implementation.

Contact Us!

Are you passionate about empowering young adults to thrive academically and professionally?
Interested in accessing FSST or becoming a FSST facilitator?
Reach out to us at today to learn more about our program and training opportunities. We look forward to hearing from you.