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Increasing entry opportunities for new behavioral health clinicians

A behavioral health workforce pilot program is currently underway across many community behavioral health providers to increase entry opportunities for new providers into the workforce. The program’s intent is to increase internships and entry opportunities for new clinicians through the recruitment and retention of supervisors.

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Workforce pilot program helps Serenity Point to offer more services

Patrick Flores is a program manager at Serenity Point Counseling Services, located in Walla Walla. He has been working in substance use and mental health in the Walla Walla community for almost 36 years, making him familiar with the challenges of workforce shortages, especially in our state’s rural regions.

“The [pilot program] funding has allowed us to offer financial incentives to our instructors for the additional work that comes with supervising, developing training plans, and signing off on the interns’ clinical notes and documentation.”

In addition to offering their supervisors financial support, the program also allows for Serenity Point to provide some financial assistance to interns for costs like their certificate fees or application fees.

Serenity Point offered their three interns that participated in the program full-time employment, including benefits. All three interns have signed employment agreements for employment at Serenity Point for a minimum of two years.

“The funding provided through this program has been instrumental in creating a benefit for both Serenity Point and our three interns in addressing the workforce shortage in our community.”

Workforce pilot program helps train a new generation of social workers in Yakima

Norma Martinez is a clinical supervisor at Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic (YVFWC), a collection of over 40 clinics in 18 communities in Washington and Oregon.

The pilot program funding at YVFWC has allowed their clinical social workers to provide quality clinical supervision for the new generation of social workers in Yakima. They have five interns from multiple universities across Washington, who are working towards earning a bachelor or master of social work, or if they have already earned their degrees, working towards social work licensure.

“The funding has assisted with the recruitment of next professional leaders. Since obtaining the funding over the past few years, we have a total of six participants that the funding has helped the agency recruit, employ, retain, and professionally grow our own employees.”

The interns that have transitioned to full time employment have filled positions as clinical supervisors, mental health therapists, and social workers across programs at YVFWC.

Workforce pilot program helps to increase accessible health care in Central Washington

Community Health of Central Washington (CHCW) provides healthcare for over 30,000 people in Central Washington.

As a community health center, resources for workforce development programs require a significant amount of oversight, dedicated time, and effort often renders such settings unable to engage in such training.

David Bauman, Behavioral Health Education Director at CHCW, shares how the funding has impacted their recruitment: “With a partnership with the National Psychology Training Consortium, as well as funding from programs like the HCA workforce pilot program, CHCW has not only been able to obtain accreditation of its doctoral internship through the American Psychological Association, but to expand its training program from two interns in 2017, to seven total trainees in 2022 (three doctoral interns, two doctoral fellows, and two master’s fellows).”

The funding has also allowed CHCW to hire additional faculty to support expanding their training. This expanded training has resulted in their trainees receiving more supervision and shadowing.

This expanded training has primed trainees to be sought out by program throughout the country since graduation. Since 2017, all CHCW’s doctoral interns have received offers and accepted positions at top doctoral fellowships. Afterwards, fellows have graduated and immediately moved into leadership positions in behavioral health programs due to the training they received at CHCW.

A total of 21 trainees have graduated from CHCW’s program since 2017. These graduates mostly work in Washington and Oregon, and around half work in underserved settings. The program also encouraged diversity, with close to 50 percent identifying as people of color and almost 20 percent identifying as bilingual.

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