Behavioral Health Workforce Development Projects

Behavioral Health Workforce Development (BHWD)

This California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) program aims to overcome a severe behavioral health workforce crisis caused by low compensation and inadequate training, among other factors. Objectives include expansion of the peer-run behavioral health workforce and other behavioral health professions; developing a centralized repository of national, state, and local behavioral health workforce development resources; and engaging national organizations in discussions on behavioral health workforce development.

California Roadmap for Behavioral Health Workforce Development

AHP developed a roadmap for California that provides a strategy for a behavioral health workforce system in crisis. Job-driven training to bolster workforce capabilities include an analysis of infrastructure, scopes of practice, and collaborations with community colleges/universities. At a micro-level, recruitment and retention, competency-based training, onboarding, and supervision, are addressed.


BHbusiness was a program of training and technical assistance (TTA) and resources designed to help behavioral health executives and teams implement business changes to survive and thrive in an evolving healthcare marketplace. Offering a series of online courses in business operations, third-party billing, and mergers and acquisitions, BHbusiness equipped providers with knowledge to build infrastructure and sustain a high-quality workforce.

Massachusetts Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program (MA DSRIP)

MA DSRIP has helped Massachusetts Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and community partners (CPs) build, train, and retain their workforces. Tactics include assessing current workforce responsibilities, developing associated knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSA), and creating workforce development and competency-building plans. Training staff and supervisors to improve competency in new roles and responsibilities, developing performance evaluation criteria, and creating career ladders have also helped AHP support improved health outcomes and member experiences.

Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC)

MRC provides consumers with disabilities job-driven training opportunities in the field of addiction treatment and recovery. AHP subcontracted with and monitored organizations to educate and train consumers as Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors II or Certified Addiction Recovery Coaches and place them in internships or full-time employment.

Massachusetts Access to Recovery (ATR)

The ATR program offers innovative job training and recovery support services customized for people with SUDs who face multiple barriers to employment. Career services are offered to help participants build confidence and work readiness by creating a career portfolio and practicing interviewing skills. Participants feel empowered to advocate for themselves in the workplace while sustaining their recovery.

Louisiana State Opioid Response 2.0 Program (LASOR 2.0)

The State of Louisiana is using part of their State Opioid Response funding to retain Tulane University and AHP. The team will research behavioral health workforce development needs and recommend strategies to address these challenges by way of advice, consultation, and TTA.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Workforce Development Project

SAMHSA contracted with AHP to develop a resource that would support states in building their behavioral health workforce. The project produced a comprehensive set of services, called the recruitment-retention toolkit, that gathered best practices drawn from comparable fields and collated the data into a clearinghouse for states to access and use. The toolkit includes nine chapters to sharpen skills in identification, selection, and retention of staff to build a better workforce.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Center of Excellence for Integration of Behavioral Health

This program included both practice transformation coaching and virtual clinical case conferencing using the ECHO Model™ to address behavioral health with an emphasis on the current opioid epidemic. It reached more than 1,400 community health centers and implemented a peer mentoring program for Bureau of Primary Health Care and Bureau of Health Workforce grantees.

City of Philadelphia: Data-Driven Decision-Making Learning Collaborative

AHP presented a 3-month course to team members of Philadelphia’s public behavioral health system. To bolster workforce capabilities, participants were taught how to use data to guide, support, and monitor operations in the healthcare marketplace. Webinars, online modules, and coaching time were designed to enhance the behavioral health workforce’s access to resources and assist participants in creating a plan to use data for informed decision-making.