North Shore Community College (NSCC) has received a nearly $1 million ($956,188) four-year Opioid-Impacted Family Support Program (OIFSP) grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Funding will begin in September 2020 and continue through August 2024.
The OIFSP aims to enhance and expand community health worker training and experiential field opportunities for paraprofessionals that target children, adolescents, and transitional age youth whose parents are impacted by opioid use and other substance use disorders.
NSCC’s existing Community Health Worker (CHW) credit and noncredit programs will be enhanced to train students in specialized addiction support services to families impacted by addiction. Program participants will receive tuition and fee assistance that will cover most of the cost, and it is anticipated that 50% of the participants will go on to be trained in a registered apprenticeship program, which also includes significant cost of living stipends for those participating.
In addition, NSCC will partner with the MassHire North Shore Workforce Board and North Shore Career Center to develop an apprenticeship training model providing on the job experience and technical training. Led by Steven Chisholm, Professor of NSCC’s Drug/Alcohol Rehabilitation Programs, the grant will also partner with Bridgewell, Beth Israel Lahey, and the Lynn Community Health Center. The grant is a collaborative effort between the health professions division and the corporate and professional education division.
“This OIFSP funding comes at an opportune time as public support for addressing the opioid problem in the Commonwealth is growing. Essex County is an area of high need/high demand for workers trained in Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and other Substance Use Disorders (SUD). The state has invested recently in anti-stigma campaigns, insurance companies are reimbursing treatment for those who struggle with substance use disorders more equitably, and the media is championing the need to address the opioid crisis and nonviolent drug offenders more comprehensively. According to regional statistics, employer demand for substance use disorder and related specialists has a five-year growth projection of 22%,” said NSCC Interim President Dr. Nate Bryant.
The project’s target population includes incumbent behavioral health care workers seeking training in Community Health. Community Health Workers (CHWs) are “frontline” staff who apply their unique understanding of the experience, language, and/or culture of the populations they serve to provide direct services, such as informal counseling, social support, care coordination, health screenings, and advocacy for individual and community needs. CHWs are employed by a wide variety of agencies, including community health centers, hospitals, community-based organizations, housing authorities, immigrant and refugee associations, and faith-based organizations, among others.
Interested persons may contact the Project Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.