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West Virginia Northern Community College awarded grant to establish Opioid-Impacted Family support program
West Virginia Northern Community College (WVNCC) has received a nearly $1.5 million dollar Opioid-Impacted Family Support Program (OIFSP) grant spanning the next four years from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This grant-funded program will expand access to behavioral health services for families impacted by opioids and other substance use disorders. HRSA awarded 28 organizations nearly $12.5 million across the US. WVNCC was the only organization in West Virginia awarded a grant. The grant also provides stipends and tuition assistance for students enrolled in one of two new programs at WVNCC.
With the grant, Northern aims to increase training opportunities for behavioral health paraprofessionals working with families and to provide tuition assistance for participants. Northern will use grant funds, in part, to create two new academic programs focused on substance abuse: a two-year programs, Substance Abuse Intervention Specialist Asociates in Science degree, and a one-year program, Substance Abuse Intervention Technician Advanced Skill Set. The grant will also cover up to $3,000 for tuition and fee assistance plus $5,000 for related living expenses for students enrolled in one of the new programs.
“We are extremely grateful for this significant grant,” commented Northern President, Dr. Daniel Mosser. “This grant provides resources to prepare students for careers in substance abuse recovery while assisting people to get their lives back on track. Graduates of Northern will fill a critical role in our communities on front lines in the battle against addiction.”
WVNCC will provide participants both classroom and hands-on experience, equipping them with the skills needed to assist those recovering from opioids and other substance use disorders. Students will be admitted to the Substance Abuse Intervention Specialist program starting in the Fall 2021 semester. This is a two-year associate degree program for anyone pursuing a career as an intervention/prevention specialist. Individuals in recovery who maintain sobriety for two years can improve their future job prospects by becoming peer recovery support specialists. The Substance Abuse Intervention Specialist Technician program is currently accepting students for the Spring 2021 semester. This is a one-year Advanced Skill Set to prepare students as substance abuse intervention technicians and specialists, peer recovery support specialists, prevention specialists, or substance abuse counselors.
“Increasing the number of individuals educated and trained to work with this population is an urgent need in our area and we hope to contribute to the growth of a more qualified workforce to address the problems of individuals and families affected by the opioid crisis,” added WVNCC Director of the Substance Abuse Programs, Professor Kathy Herrington.
The project incorporates long-standing partnerships, academically sound courses, and historically successful student internship and clinical experiences to create a new pathway towards a certificate or degree. It will also allow individuals who have worked in the substance abuse treatment field the opportunity to gain additional education and training and utilize their on-the-job training experience.