On May 3, 2017, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Puerto Rico Administration of Mental Health and Anti-Addiction Services (Administracion de Servicios de Salud y Contra la Adiccion (ASSMCA)), and NAADAC joined forces to host the Puerto Rico Workforce Forum at the Universidad del Este in Carolina, Puerto Rico. The goal of the forum was to build awareness and educate college/university and high school students about the benefits and opportunities in the substance use and mental health disorder professions in the hope of increasing the number of college/university students choosing to enter the behavioral health field and specializing in these disciplines.
The forum focused on the rewarding benefits of the substance use and mental health disciplines, the national workforce shortage and Puerto Rico’s workforce needs, state certification and licensing requirements, networking and mentoring connections, and other professional development opportunities.
Speakers included representatives from the Puerto Rico Administration of Mental Health and Anti-Addiction Services (Administracion de Servicios de Salud y Contra la Adiccion (ASSMCA)), NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Universidad del Este (SUGAM); Professional Social Work College of Puerto Rico; the Psychology Association of Puerto Rico, Recovered Peers, and the Governor of Puerto Rico (or a designated representative). The forum also included a roundtable discussion, with representatives from Universidad Central del Caribe, University of Puerto Rico, ASSMCA, and Universidad Del Este. Finally, in-person attendees were able to network with local substance use disorder treatment providers to learn more about employment and internship opportunities.