October 10, 2019
Shawnee State University announced today that it has been awarded a $900,000 federal grant to expand the paraprofessional workforce involved in opioid addiction treatment.
The grant, funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, supports a three-year behavioral health paraprofessional training program to be offered by Shawnee State.
“This is great news for our region and those providing prevention, treatment, and recovery services,” Linda Koenig, EdD, LPCC-s, CCTP, BC-TMH, Program Director of Counseling Services at Shawnee State, said. “This program will provide quality education and a streamlined entry point for those interested in working in the behavior health-related field.”
Koenig explained that the behavioral health paraprofessional program will begin in January 2020 and will include 13 credit hours of instruction and field experience. The grant will cover tuition costs for 12 of the 13 hours, in addition to support for books and instructional materials. Those who complete the program will be prepared for credentialing as chemical dependency counseling assistants, qualified behavioral health specialists, or peer recovery supporters.
“We hope to serve more than 200 students over the three-year period,” Koenig said. “That’s a tremendous impact to the treatment community. With the educational support, it will help many students get their careers started. With this strong foundation, many may choose to continue their education beyond the paraprofessional level.”
Shawnee State’s grant partnerships include Community Action Organizations (CAO) in Scioto, Pike, Lawrence, Adams and Brown Counties, in addition to Compass Community Health and HopeSource in Portsmouth. SSU has named Rebekah Burton, a graduate of Shawnee State’s psychology program, as Project Coordinator for the behavioral health paraprofessional program.