JHF Named a Lead Partner in New Allegheny County Behavioral Health Fellows Program

A new behavioral health workforce development program aims to support frontline and clinician staff in Pittsburgh, and the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) has been named the lead partner for the orientation and training programs component. The Behavioral Health Fellows (BH Fellows) program, launching in spring 2023, is an innovative Allegheny County-sponsored workforce initiative in partnership with Community Care Behavioral Health to make jobs in target service areas sustainable and attractive for new and existing employees. JHF has made a commitment to offer training and coaching to 180 behavioral health fellows over the next three years.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for behavioral health services has never been higher–even as providers face unprecedented challenges in maintaining workforce capacity.

To address this urgent need in the region, the two-year BH Fellows program will recruit diverse talent into the mental health provider network and promote retention of existing talent by presenting approximately 180 fellows with awards over three years in six separate cohorts.

The BH Fellows program will offer accepted fellows: minimum salary levels; loan repayment of up to $25,000 for workers with a bachelor's degree and up to $45,000 for workers with a master's degree; professional development and training programs; and a management training program for participating sites' supervisors. The Program will offer participating provider organizations increased staffing for a minimum two-year period with a decreased potential for staff turnover.

Recruitment efforts will target critical staffing deficiencies in four key services areas: Family Based Mental Health, Blended Service Coordination, Crisis Services, and Child Residential Treatment – Diversion and Acute Stabilization. The BH Fellows Program has been approved by The Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education, and JHF will work with local universities to recruit fellows for available positions.

JHF is working with Allegheny County Department of Human Services and the participating provider sites to design and implement the BH Fellows curriculum. Training programs will include both in-person and virtual opportunities, incorporating a collaborative, supportive, responsive, and evidence-based design. Participating fellows' supervisors will also receive a "Management Training Program" to help ensure that BH Fellows have the support necessary to be successful in their roles.

Three cohorts of BH Fellows will be established in 2023, with approximately 22 awards made to the first cohort this spring. Every few months new cohort applications will be accepted and a new cohort launched. Existing staff and interested new hires in qualifying positions at the provider sites will be eligible to apply for the BH Fellows program. The program anticipates running through 2026.

Read Allegheny County's announcement of the BH Fellows program here.
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