GCSW receives $500,000 for internship program
“Based on our research of the racial, ethnic and linguistic diversity in Houston, as well as the identification of workforce shortages, we were able to demonstrate the capacity to meet the need for more culturally competent practitioners in mental and behavioral health. GCSW is perfectly suited to meet the demands of rapidly changing demographics of Houston,” Sampson said.
“Approximately half of our students speak more than one language, and our racial and ethnic demographics mirror that of Houston. We also have a well-established field program that allows us to connect with the right kind of agencies.”
The grant will cover student stipends and training for new, bilingual students entering GCSW. In return, the students must commit to serving a local agency after graduation.
“Essentially, we are able to expand the number of field placements that provide specialized clinical training. It allows us to directly contribute to the local workforce by asking for a commitment of two years post graduation,” Sampson said.
“Recipients sign a contract that states they will work with medically under-served populations that lack access or means to health care in Harris County upon graduation.”
The students will work at eight agencies in Houston: The Council on Drugs and Alcohol, Healthcare for the Homeless, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Children’s Memorial Hermann, Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital, Houston Area Community Services, Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County, Baylor College of Medicine and Healthcare for the Homeless.
The chosen agencies are in medically under-served areas where the need for bilingual, culturally competent services is critical, Sampson said. He said students will eventually be able to transfer their knowledge to populations outside of Houston.
“Through this grant, we can address the most pressing needs in Harris County. We have identified agencies that have come up with innovative ways to meet the high demand for behavioral health services with limited state funding and now have the ability to place a trained social work student in this setting,” Sampson said.
“Students will be able to learn firsthand of the pressing needs not only in their current field agency, but also among the greater population.”