Stanislaus State has received $210,000 from HealthForce Partners Northern San Joaquin to award scholarships up to $5,000 to graduate students preparing for careers in social work, clinical counseling and marriage and family therapy.
The scholarships are aimed at addressing the shortage of mental health care providers in the northern San Joaquin Valley and are an element of Stan State’s participation in the San Joaquin Behavioral Health Workforce Partnership.
Started in 2018, HealthForce Partners is a nonprofit organization focused on alleviating the region’s healthcare staffing shortage through recruitment, training and retention of healthcare workers. The organization brings together healthcare, education and workforce development leaders to address staffing priorities and career opportunities for residents of San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties.
“As we continue on our mission to catalyze career opportunities for local residents, we are committed to fostering a thriving, local healthcare workforce ecosystem,” said Paul Lanning, executive director of HealthForce Partners. “We are proud to partner with Stanislaus State and University of the Pacific to provide scholarships for San Joaquin County residents to ultimately help alleviate workforce shortages and enhance the well-being of our communities.”
At Stan State, the scholarship funds will be awarded to at least 22 students a year over two years. Students must show financial need, and those living in San Joaquin County will receive preference when applying for the scholarships. HealthForce Partners has also donated $200,000 for behavioral health scholarships to the University of the Pacific in Stockton.
Stan State Dean of Graduate Studies and Research Haley Ye said the scholarships will prove invaluable to the community as well as the students who receive them.
“This financial support to our graduate students will help them complete their education on time,” Ye said. “It’s an important contribution to the community, which has a critical need for more mental healthcare workers and behavioral health services.”
The first round of scholarships at Stan State was awarded over the summer. For student Alejandra de Avellar, the scholarship is helping her realize her dream of helping people in her community.
“I applied for this scholarship because working in San Joaquin County is incredibly important to me,” de Avellar said. “The support and encouragement I received from HealthForce Partners in helping students like me become professionals within our local community, allowing us to help our fellow residents, is truly invaluable. I’m grateful for being awarded this scholarship."
In addition to the scholarship initiative, HealthForce Partners works with San Joaquin Delta College to cover uniform costs for 27 students enrolled in its Psychiatric Technician program over a two years.