A new program aims to increase the number of qualified social workers to address the state’s addiction crisis.
The Community Behavioral Health Academy brings together four groups to streamline the process of becoming a licensed clinical social worker and addiction counselor.
One of those groups is Ascend Indiana. President and CEO Jason Kloth says the demand for behavioral health professionals is growing.
"We see people who are seeking out treatment, but unfortunately we lack the workforce to provide those in need of treatment with the help they deserve," says Kloth.
There is a shortfall of an estimated 7,000 behavioral health workers in Indiana. Kloth says are many barriers for people who want to pursue this profession, including a master’s degree and licensures.
"So the incentive becomes critically important to helping offset the cost of those who are passionate about serving people who are suffering from addiction across the state," says Kloth.
The program will offer Hoosiers scholarships, specialized on-site training and a path to employment through partnerships with Community Health, IUPUI, University of Indianapolis and Ascend.
It aims to add 15-30 workers every year. The program is also built as a model that other communities across the state can replicate.