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Sustaining Workforce Development

Training of the workforce alone cannot create systems change. States can sustain workforce development efforts by:

These efforts, paired with ongoing training, supervision, mentoring, coaching, consultation, and integration of the skills learned into job expectations, will support organizations in providing integrated treatment to individual with co-occurring disorders.

Creating Partnerships

States and organizations can aid in sustaining workforce development efforts in the long term by developing strategic partnerships to plan and deliver training. Partnerships may include collaborations with colleges and universities, technical assistance centers, and others.

Local colleges and universities can be effective partners for workforce initiatives. States want well-prepared personnel, and academic institutions want their students to have good credentials for employment. Professional training programs can prepare staff to address co-occurring disorders before they join the workforce. Several states have collaborated with colleges and universities to establish degree programs or coursework focused on preparing those who will serve individuals with co-occurring disorders. Other state/academic institution partnerships include:

  • Connecticut worked with the social work department of a state university to create a specialty in addressing co-occurring disorders within their existing Master's in Social Work (MSW) program.
  • Maine and Pennsylvania collaborated with academic institutions to develop certificate programs for co-occurring disorders for experienced staff, as well as coursework that could apply to state credentialing.
  • Ohio partners with state academic institutions to offer internships to work with individuals with co-occurring disorders.

Addiction Technology Transfer Centers (ATTCs) can also be helpful partners. Many states use curricula or consultants provided by ATTCs. For example, Connecticut worked with the regional ATTC to develop and pilot modules for supervisors. Ohio also partnered with a consumer-operated service to provide some services for individual with co-occurring disorders.

Changing Contract Language

States can sustain workforce development efforts by changing contract language to require training, monitoring and demonstrated competency.

Examples of changes in contractual requirements for organizations include the following:

  • Before contracting with an agency, Alaska explains the co-occurring disorder capability it expects agencies to possess and requires agencies to have training plans that enable them to meet those goals.
  • In Oklahoma, Maine, and New Mexico, standard contract language requires agencies to become co-occurring disorder capable. Maine requires an annual report or site visit to verify capability.
  • In Missouri, all major treatment agencies are required to become certified in co-occurring disorders.
  • In Illinois, certification is required for practitioners who perform co-occurring disorder services.

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