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Building a Bridge to Behavioral Health Careers

By Kim McNulty

The Coachella Valley has a critical shortage of behavioral health professionals to serve the needs of our community. To address this need, local behavioral health partners came together as OneFuture Coachella Valley’s Behavioral Health Workforce Team (BH A-Team) in 2016 with the vision that the Coachella Valley will have an abundant supply of mental and behavioral health professionals from our own student population who can be responsive to the needs of our community. 

The Bridge to Behavioral Health Careers (BBHC) program is the team’s newest strategy designed to support rising college freshmen and underclassmen from Coachella Valley high school health academies who are committed to staying connected with the BH A-Team as they pursue their higher education and career in behavioral health/social work. The team will help these students navigate the transition through college and into their career by providing activities to keep them connected to a behavioral health career path and help bring them back to the valley as a next-generation professional. 

OneFuture’s mission is to ensure all students succeed in college, career, and life – expanding and enhancing the local workforce so our youth and economy thrive. Specifically, our goal is that all students will:

  • have a clear economic and academic path to and through college
  • successfully complete post-secondary degrees, credentials or certificates
  • land a job with a promising financial path
  • contribute to a thriving economy

The BBHC students will receive comprehensive Student Support Services through OneFuture’s team and our behavioral health partners, including workshops and individual coaching in five core areas:

  • Support and guidance – academic counseling/advising
  • Student enrichment – workshops and skill building
  • Inspiring leadership, engagement and connection – student leadership program
  • Empowering students – experiential learning and career mentoring
  • C2N: College and Career Navigator Digital Platform – student progress monitoring

 The inaugural program schedule includes: 

  • Welcome Reception with OFCV’s Behavioral Health A-Team – September 2020
  • BH Mentor Session #1: BH Careers Panel and Discussion – October 2020
  • BH Mentor Session #2: Meet with Behavioral Health A-Team Mentor –
    November 2020
  • OneFuture Scholar Student Networking Mixer – January 2021
  • BH Mentor Session #3: DHCD BH Scholar Meet-Up – April 2021
  • Student Leadership Conference – June/July 2021

As students rise to their junior and senior years of college, they will become eligible to apply for the Desert Healthcare District Behavioral Health Scholarship, and the OneFuture Health Career Connection Summer Internship to make deeper connections with the local behavioral health/social work community and earn wages to support their journey. 

For more information on this program, contact OneFuture at (760) 625-0422 or www.OneFutureCV.org.

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