MILWAUKEE — The Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology in Marquette University’s College of Education has been awarded a $980,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to improve the distribution and supply of the behavioral health workforce through expanded internship opportunities.
The project will support experiential training opportunities focusing on clinical mental health counselors with a child and adolescent specialization. This award builds upon the department’s clinical mental health counseling – child and adolescent specialization (CMHC-CAS) program, the only such training program in Wisconsin.
“This grant is invaluable as we aim to expand the availability of practical training opportunities with the goal of adding much-needed specialists to the behavioral health workforce,” said Dr. Lee Za Ong, assistant professor of counselor education and counseling psychology and the lead investigator on the award. “There is a particular area of need for clinical mental health counselors with a child and adolescent specialization. Through this program, we will increase the number of behavioral health providers with that focus, and who reflect the demographics of the recipients of behavioral health services in the community.”
“Addressing these needs is congruent with the Marquette, College of Education, and Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology mission statements and strategic plans,” added Dr. Alan Burkard, chair and professor of counselor education and counseling psychology.
The curriculum for CMHC-CAS centers on evidence-based training that emphasizes an interprofessional team-based, trauma-informed care approach, with cultural humility and social justice focuses. Clinical placements are available at primary care settings in high-need and high-demand areas throughout Milwaukee County. This award will fund internship stipends for at least 62 students through 2025.
“The emphasis of this program is building strong collaborations with community partners and supporting the needs of the community by offering free, quality needs-responsive professional development seminars and supervision training,” said Dr. Heidi Bostic, dean of the College of Education and the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences. “Marquette recently unveiled a 100% online Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling for this fall, which will be instrumental in further expanding this program, and ultimately behavioral health services. This work highlights Marquette’s commitment to equity and social justice.”
Marquette’s counselor education and counseling psychology program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs and provides evidence-based and emerging best practices in clinical mental health services to children, adolescents, and their families.
The Health Resources and Services Administration is the primary federal agency for improving health care to people who are geographically isolated or economically or medically vulnerable. This award is funded through the HRSA’s Behavioral Health Workforce and Education Training program for professionals which is increasing the supply of behavioral health professionals while also improving distribution of a quality behavioral health workforce, and thereby increasing access to behavioral health services in the underserved communities where behavioral health services are most urgently needed.