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Alliance of I&R Systems (AIRS)

The Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) is the professional membership association for community Information and Referral (I&R) providers and Information and Referral/Assistance (I&R/A) providers, primarily in the United States and Canada. The mission of AIRS is: "To provide leadership and support to its members and Affiliates to advance the capacity of a Standards-driven Information and Referral industry that brings people and services together." AIRS provides its members with training, support, technical assistance, industry standards, certification, accreditation, advocacy, and partnership opportunities.

The Support Center has partnered with AIRS since 1990 on aging and disability I&R/A, including the early development of training tools for providers of aging I&R services, pre-conference intensives (currently included in the National Aging and Disability Symposium at the annual AIRS Conference), development of the Certification for I&R Specialists in Aging (2001) and of the Certification for I&R Specialists in Aging/Disabilities (2015), AIRS Board membership, and Committee membership. 

National Aging and Disability Symposium at the AIRS Conference

For over twenty years, ADvancing States has convened the National Aging and Disability Information and Referral Symposium, in conjunction with the annual AIRS Conference, to support the professional development of state and local I&R/A, ADRC, CIL and SHIP staff within the aging and disability network. The Symposium offers comprehensive, cutting edge learning opportunities to improve Information and Referral program development, services to consumers, and staff development. 

The Symposium is enriched by our outstanding partners and supporters: the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS), the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), the U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL), and the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL).

Click here to review details and presentations of the 2019 Aging and Disability Symposium, including the list of workshop sessions, as well as materials from the pre-conference summit.


AIRS Standards and Quality indicators for Professional Information and Referral establish reference points that define expected practices within the field and provide guidelines which communities or other jurisdictions can use when they develop an I&R program to meet the needs of their consumers. The Standards are the foundation for AIRS Accreditation and provide an organizational context for certification of I&R specialists through the AIRS Certification for Community Resource Specialist (CRS), Certification for Community Resource Specialist - Aging/Disabilities (CRS- A/D), and Certification for Community Resource Specialist - Database Curator (CRS - DC) programs (prior to January 2019, these were known as Certified Information and Referral Specialist (CIRS), Certified Information and Referral Specialist Aging/Disabilities (CIRS-A/D), and Certified Resource Specialist (CRS)).


AIRS Certification is a professional credentialing program for individuals working within the I&R sector of human services. Certification is a measurement of documented knowledge in the field of I&R and I&R/A reflecting specific competencies and related performance criteria, which describe the knowledge, skills, attitudes and work-related behaviors needed by I&R practitioners to successfully execute their responsibilities. The AIRS Certification Program is operated in alignment with national standards for credentialing organizations. Certification is available for three specializations within I&R. Individuals who successfully pass the AIRS certification examination are awarded professional certification in the following:

  • CRS - Certification for Community Resource Specialist 
  • CRS-A/D - Certification for Community Resource Specialist - Aging/Disabilities 
  • CRS-DC - Certification for Community Resource Specialist - Database Curator

In order to be eligible to take the CRS or CRS-A/D exam, AIRS requires at least 1 full year of employment in I&R for applicants with a Bachelors or higher degree, 2 years of employment in I&R for applicants with an Associates degree, and 3 years of employment in I&R for applicants with a High School diploma or GED. Applicants who lack the academic qualifications listed above, require 4 full years of I&R employment. 
Click here for more information on certification eligibility.
Click here for a fact sheet on CRS-AD certification.


AIRS Accreditation assesses the ability of an I&R program to demonstrate full compliance with the AIRS Standards. Accreditation is a multi-phase process that assesses more than 200 distinct operational components and culminates in a detailed onsite review.


The 211 LA County Taxonomy is the North American standard for indexing and accessing human services resource databases. The Taxonomy is a hierarchical system that contains more than 9,000 fully defined terms that cover the complete range of human services. U.S. English, Canadian English and Canadian French versions of the Taxonomy can be accessed via the Taxonomy website at The Taxonomy is an intellectual property copyrighted by 211 LA County and available only to licensed subscribers. Vendors who create I&R software that incorporates the Taxonomy and I&R services that use the software to maintain a resource database employing the Taxonomy, are required to maintain a valid license.

2-1-1 Partnership

2-1-1 is a free, confidential referral and information helpline and website that connects people from all communities and of all ages to the essential health and human services they need. 2-1-1 information specialists connect individuals to local organizations that provide critical human services. Built on existing I&R infrastructure and the AIRS Standards, 2-1-1 is a national partnership between AIRS, 211US, the United Way Worldwide, and the organizations and programs that manage and deliver the 2-1-1 services at the state and local levels. Over 90 percent of the U.S. population is covered by a 2-1-1 service. 

To find a local 2-1-1 service in the United States, visit