MCCCD, NPC Receive 2-Year Federal Funding from AHCCCS to Address Behavioral Health Workforce Shortages
The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is proud to announce that the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) has selected two Arizona community college systems, MCCCD and Northland Pioneer College (NPC), to receive federal funding that will address behavioral health workforce shortages. The two-year funding opportunity will provide MCCCD with $6.8 million through September 2024, with an additional $3.4 million through September 2025 (contingent upon legislative approval and appropriation of a third year), to expand behavioral health programs at Glendale Community College, Mesa Community College, Phoenix College, Rio Salado College, and South Mountain Community College.
“We are extremely grateful to AHCCCS for this incredible opportunity for our students and faculty,” said Bettina Celis, MCCCD Acting Vice Chancellor and Provost of Academic and Student Affairs. “This funding will allow us to expand access to high-quality educational opportunities in the behavioral health field and help fill a critical need in our community.”
“Building more opportunities for students to earn behavioral health degrees and credentials will create a larger and better prepared pool of candidates for critical behavioral health jobs,” said Bill Kennard, AHCCCS Workforce Development Administrator. “Better prepared candidates enable providers to streamline the onboarding process for new workers, and ensure members receive care more quickly. Offering substantive, pre-service education and training for aspiring behavioral health workers is one step that will help Arizona meet its growing behavioral health care demands,” said Bill Kennard, AHCCCS Workforce Development Administrator.
MCCCD will engage in curriculum development to create and enhance behavioral health degree or certificate programs and incentivize participation through tuition assistance, which includes funds for student scholarships totaling $3,912,169, supporting approximately 2,210 students over two years with an optional year. These funds will be used for tuition assistance, books, course fees, health and safety requirements, and additional resources. In exchange for tuition assistance, students are required to serve in the behavioral health field for a minimum of two years or a period that equals the completed program length, whichever is greater.
Additionally, MCCCD will hire seven new faculty members and ten staff members across the five college campuses to support the program expansion. Each college will dedicate funds to support the expansion and implementation of behavioral health programs, including equipment, supplies, and materials.
“Our commitment remains focused on providing high-quality instruction with real-world applications so that all students have access to gainful employment post-graduation,” said Rochelle Rivas, MCCCD Director of Healthcare Education.
MCCCD will use the funds to expand existing behavioral health programs and develop new programs at five college campuses. At Mesa Community College, a new Psychiatric Technician Certification will be developed. Phoenix College will develop a new Behavioral Health program. Rio Salado College will create a Certificate of Completion (CCL) – Peer Recovery Support Specialist program.
With this federal funding from AHCCCS, MCCCD will offer more comprehensive training opportunities in the behavioral health field while addressing local workforce shortages.
Learn more about Maricopa Community Colleges Behavioral Science and Human Services Field of Interest.