Anna Maria College in Paxton received a $1.92 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration in June that will go towards the school’s social work and mental health programs, according to program directors John Pratico and Lenore Rust.
The funding will be distributed in $480,000 increments over four years to financially support students graduating from counseling psychology or social work programs who complete unpaid internships as part of their pursuit of professional licensure and professional development. ‘a job.
The program, which is called Internships Need: Trainings, Experientials, Resources, Networks, will support 29 students per year who will each receive a $10,000 stipend.
Offering a stipend will allow students with other financial obligations to have an equal chance of reaching the number of hours required for a degree, said Pratico, who is both professor and director of Anna’s psychology program. Mary.
Cost and time are two of the biggest hurdles for students wanting to earn their master’s in social work or mental health counseling, Pratico said.
“There’s a built-in amount of privilege in all of this,” he said.
The school applied for the grant at the start of the coronavirus pandemic when mental health issues and substance abuse were on the rise in central Massachusetts.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for drug addicts, behavioral disorders and mental health counselors are expected to increase by 23%, which Pratico and Rust say is another factor prompting the school to encourage as much of graduate students as possible.
As part of the annual Behavioral Health Worker Education and Training Program, HRSA, which is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, distributed nearly $3 million in grants to eight Massachusetts institutions. . Among the biggest winners were William James College in Newton, Boston Medical Center and Regis College in Weston.
Anna Maria was the only central Massachusetts institution to receive the grant.