On April 25, 2017, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), NAADAC, the West Virginia Bureau for Behavioral Health & Health Facilities in the Department of Health & Human Resources, and Marshall University joined forces to host the West Virginia Workforce Forum at the Marshall University in Huntington, WV. The goal of the forum was to build awareness and educate college/university 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 West Virginia’s workforce needs, state certification and licensing requirements, networking and mentoring connections, and other professional development opportunities.
Speakers included representatives from the West Virginia Bureau of Behavioral Health & Health Facilities, West Virginia Single State Agency, NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, the West Virginia Association of Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counselors (WVAADAC), and the West Virginia Certification Board for Addiction & Prevention Professionals. The forum will also include a provider panel, with representatives from Valley HealthCare System, Rea of Hope, Prestera Center, and Marshall University Counseling Center, and two student panels. Finally, in-person attendees were able to network with local substance use disorder treatment providers to learn more about employment and internship opportunities.
In addition, the event was live-streamed to the public and coordinated satellite events at eight other West Virginia colleges and universities: Bluefield State College, BridgeValley Community & Technical College, Concord University, Eastern West Virginia Community & Technical College, Erma Byrd Higher Education Center, Southern West Virginia Community Technical College, West Virginia University, and Wheeling Jesuit University.