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California University of Pennsylvania will provide stipends to students working in fields related to drug addiction policy, prevention and recovery.

Cal U has received a three-year, $1.3 million grant to assist students preparing for careers in fields related to drug addiction policy, prevention and recovery. The Health Resources and Services Administration Opioid Workforce Expansion grant will provide 27 stipends of $10,000 each to graduate students in the fields of social work, school counseling and clinical mental health counseling.

This is the second HRSA grant for Cal U. In 2017, the university received a four-year, $1.9 million grant to help students with field placements and to increase services provided to schools and communities in medically underserved areas in the region.

“The Opioid Workforce Expansion grant is great because it’s for our students,” said Dr. Sheri Boyle, chair of the Social Work Department. “But it’s also critical for our community, because it will focus on the serious issue of opioid and substance abuse disorders.”

Students in Cal U’s accredited counselor education program must complete a 600-hour field placement. The accredited social work program requires students to complete 660 hours in their advanced practicum.

The project will aid graduate students who are working toward a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling, a Master of Education in school counseling PreK-12, or a master’s degree in social work.

“Cal U's counselor education and social work programs address addiction, but this grant will really help our students get that additional training in substance use disorders,” said Dr. Elizabeth Gruber, chair of the Counselor Education Department. “It will have an impact in the community as they’re training and after they graduate” and enter the workforce as professionals.

The grant also will be used for training in the community.

“We may collaborate with police officers or first responders for trainings and provide continuing education credits as required in behavioral health professions to maintain licensure,” Gruber said.

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