HHS Behavioral Health Workforce grant will be used to create training program
MEDFORD – OnTrack Rogue Valley announced today it has received a four-year, $2.2 million U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) award to create a training and certification program to help address a dire shortage in the addiction treatment and behavioral health workforce in Southern Oregon.
The program will begin teaching its first cohort of enrollees this fall. The inaugural class will be comprised of current OnTrack staff studying for CADC (Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor) and/or QMHA (Qualified Mental Health Associate) certifications, as well as outside applicants seeking similar training.
“Our plan for this program is to have a major impact on the growth of our local behavioral health workforce and significantly broaden access to treatment for those who desperately need it,” said OnTrack executive director Sommer Wolcott. “Oregon consistently ranks near the bottom of national rankings for access to addiction services and mental health care. That needs to change.”
Program participants will receive experiential training in OnTrack’s residential and outpatient treatment programs, as well as community partner facilities such as La Clinica’s Birch Grove Health Center. Students will also receive classroom instruction in areas such as person-centered individual and group counseling, ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine) assessment, cultural competency, ethics and boundaries, trauma awareness and universal trauma precautions, dual diagnosis and co-occurring treatment, and pharmacology.
When fully operational, the program will open trainings to community partners for in-person or hybrid learning, enabling staff in rural areas to gain access to high quality CEUs (Continuing Education Units). The program will serve approximately 30 students annually who will complete the full curriculum to become certified as one or more of the following: QMHA, CADC and PSS (Peer Support Specialists).
Currently, OnTrack offers placement for approximately five CADC trainees per year. The new program will increase OnTrack’s capacity as a training institution by annually placing 18+ trainees and 14+ apprentices across all nine of OnTrack’s treatment sites—three outpatient, three residential, and three transitional housing facilities—plus at a tenth partner site, La Clinica’s Birch Grove, a primary health provider. At each of these sites, trainees can work with an integrated, interdisciplinary team-based treatment model.
“The integrated care team at Birch Grove is a natural fit to support the work in this new training program,” said Hazel Clements, Birch Grove Collaboration Director. “We’re looking forward to working with the trainees who are seeking to grow and learn and continue to impact our community in a positive way.”
The federal award, to be dispersed over a four-year period, comes from the HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). According to the HRSA website, “The BHWET (Behavioral Workforce Education and Training) Program for Professionals aims to increase the supply of behavioral health professionals while also improving distribution of a quality behavioral health workforce and thereby increasing access to behavioral health services.”
Those interested in more information about the OnTrack training and certification program are encouraged to check the OnTrack website at www.ontrackroguevalley.org after September 15 or call (541) 200-2402.