Posted: September 25, 2017
Manchester Community College has received the first of a multi-year federal grant investment to train and educate the next generation of treatment providers for mental health and substance abuse to meet one of the state’s most pressing challenges. In collaboration with several local partners in the Manchester and Concord area, MCC will enhance its class offerings and work with mental health and substance abuse centers throughout the area to increase the quantity and quality of treatment in New Hampshire.
The goal of the national grant is to increase the number and diversity of paraprofessionals with expertise in behavioral health care who work with individuals across the lifespan in New Hampshire's underserved communities. In the face of the state’s well-documented drug epidemic, the grant money will be used to add staff, fund internships and offer scholarship aid to students.
“The need for well-trained treatment paraprofessionals is immediate and urgent, and this grant will allow our college to expand programs and better collaborate with willing partners,” says Susan Huard, President of Manchester Community College. “For quite some time, we have been working on ways to expand the employee pipeline to make a difference in this critical area of care for people.”
MCC will expand two existing certificate programs: Direct Support Services and Substance Misuse Prevention. Both programs will be updated to address identified needs. The Direct Support Services program will be increased to accommodate more classroom training and a dramatic increase in time spent in the field doing internships. The program also includes components related to cultural competence including understanding diversity, developing cultural sensitivity, and working with diverse populations. MCC will also develop two additional certificate programs for implementation in Fall 2018: Recovery Support Worker and Mental Health/Behavioral Health Support Worker.
“All of this work will be done with the guidance, support and assistance of area agencies who currently treat at-risk populations,” explains President Huard. “Our funds will help pay for internships and will offset the cost of education in the form of scholarships, to ensure this is not only efficient, but affordable.”
Several area organizations have offered support through internships and employment opportunities for graduates of these programs. Collaborative partners include:
- Riverbend (Capital Area) Community Mental Health
- Manchester Community Health Center
- Endowment for Health
- Capitol Region Health Care (Concord Hospital and Concord Area Visiting Nurses Association)
These agencies will also guide MCC leaders in developing the training programs offered by the school. The projected four-year grant program at MCC would receive more than $500,000 to augment these programs.