PeerWORKS

 

PeerWORKS
Peer Support Specialist - Behavioral Health Certification and Apprenticeship Program

Applications for Cohort 1 Now Open!

Open to these counties in Arizona:

Cohise, Graham, La Paz, Mohave, Yavapai, Coconino, Gila and Santa Cruz.

Application closes December 9th, 2021 at noon AZ time.

To apply, please click "Apply Now" below.

Apply Now

 

Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all classroom training activities will be conducted remotely via Zoom for 2021 and 2022. Experiential shadowing (if in-person) will follow CDC guidelines and protocols setup by partner organizations to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This does require mask-wearing, frequent hand washing, staying home if one is feeling sick, etc. For more info, check out the section titled Resources for Students at this website HERE.

Goal   

PeerWORKS is a behavioral health training program for peer support specialists. The goal is to increase the number of peer support specialists qualified to provide services in integrated care settings in Arizona’s rural and underserved communities. The program involves two training levels: 1) 6-month peer support specialist certification, and 2) an optional 12-month apprenticeship. More details are outlined below.

For a PeerWORKS grant summary, click here>>

To see our flyer, click here >>



Program Format

Level I Certification Training:
Consists of 6-months of classroom learning and hands-on experiences at a behavioral health agency or integrated health care provider.

Level II Apprenticeship:
Optional, paid, full-time, 12-month placements, working on-site with a behavioral health agency or integrated healthcare provider.


Time Commitment

Level I Certification Training:
5-10 hours per week for 6 months, total of 168 hours (144 classroom and 24 professional shadowing hours)

Level II Apprenticeship:
40 hours per week, for 12 months, total of 2000 hours


Financial Support

Level I Certification Training ($5,000):
Trainees will receive $750 dollars monthly for 6 months from The University of Arizona. To receive stipend payment, trainees are expected to attended class and complete required coursework. Those who complete the Certification Training and return all borrowed equipment (laptops, MiFi, etc.) will receive a $500 completion bonus from The University of Arizona. All trainees will also receive a scholarship to cover cost of training.

Level II Apprenticeship (Salary + $500):
Trainees are encouraged to apply for but are not guaranteed placement into a full-time, paid apprenticeship with a behavioral health agency or integrated healthcare provider. The hourly pay/salary and benefits will be set by the partner organization. Typical pay in Southern Arizona as a Behavioral Health Paraprofessional is $13-$15 dollars/hour. At the end of the 12-month apprenticeship, trainees will again receive a $500 completion bonus from The University of Arizona.

Important Note: Stipend payments may qualify as income, and this could affect any financial, social service, or public benefits that you receive. It is in your best interest to investigate how stipend payments could affect your eligibility for any benefits you receive. Check out a benefits calculator >>


Instructors

Rita Romero is an instructor at the University of Arizona’s Workforce Development Program, where she trains individuals with lived experience of mental illness and/or substance use disorders to be employed as Behavioral Health Specialists within the behavioral healthcare system. Rita is passionate about recovery-oriented practice and strives to empower individuals to reach their goals.

Prior to WDP, Rita worked at NAMI Southern Arizona as Training Manager. At NAMI, Rita had the opportunity to teach their peer education programs as a state trainer. She enjoyed the opportunity to mentor individuals, training them in facilitation and Behavioral Health Medical Record Documentation, to help them prepare for employment in the field.
Rita has received certifications as a Recovery Support Specialist, Parent and Family Support Specialist, Advanced Level WRAP facilitator, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese Language studies.

David E. Delawder is an instructor and coordinator at the University of Arizona’s Workforce Development Program.  

David also serves the community as President of the Board of Directors of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Southern Arizona and Chair of Arizona's Protection And Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Council.  He is a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP) and also works with the Arizona Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioners. 

Dave says that one of his greatest pleasures—along with photography and music—is helping others discover their strengths, negotiate successfully the complex human services system, and move forward on their own recovery journey. 



Community Partners

PeerWORKS is supported by the following healthcare organizations in Arizona:

  • Regional Center for Border Health
  • North Country HealthCare
  • Sunset Health
  • Canyonlands Healthcare
  • Others joining soon!

Diversity

Because we seek a workforce with a wide range of perspectives and experiences, we provide equal employment opportunities to applicants and employees without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. We actively seek individuals who have experience living and working with diverse populations. Those with lived experience of substance use disorder (either self or family members) are encouraged to apply.


Important Note: Stipend payments may qualify as income, and this could affect any financial, social service, or public benefits that you receive. It is in your best interest to investigate how stipend payments could affect your eligibility for any benefits you receive. Check out a benefits calculator HERE >>

 

 

 

Application Requirements

Each applicant must write an essay for the application. The question asked is, “What are your most important reasons for enrolling to this program?  (2-3 paragraphs). Note: this essay is weighted heavily in the admissions process.  Please edit for spelling, grammar, and clarity before submitting.  It may be useful to type your response in MS Word, then copy and paste it into the text box.

Each applicant should ensure their contact information entered into the application will be the same used for communications during the program. We will use this application email and phone number to reach you for important updates, class notices, etc.

We encourage all Trainees to follow CDC guidelines and get vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. Some partner employers may require COVID-19 vaccines to participate in onsite observations and apprenticeship placements.
 


Eligibility

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen or authorized to work in the U.S.
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • At least 21 years of age
  • Proficient in spoken and written English
  • Able to commit time to hands-on and classroom learning for 5-10 hours per week for the duration of the program
  • Reside in Arizona
  • All Trainees will need reliable internet and a computer with web camera. If you do not have access to these resources, please contact us by email when you submit your application. We may be able to assist. All trainings will be held online.

Supporting Documentation

  • W-9
  • ACH Form (Optional, for direct deposit)

 

 

Cohort 1

Level I Certification Training: February 2022- July 2022
Level II Apprenticeship: Aug 2022 – Aug 2023 (Start date to be determined Summer 2022, varies per Apprentice)

Weekly Class Schedule
Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday afternoons


Cohort 2

Level I Certification Training: February 2023- July 2023.
Level II Apprenticeship:
Aug 2023 – Aug 2024 (Start date to be determined Summer 2023, varies per Apprentice)

Weekly Class Schedule
Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday afternoons


Cohort 3

Level I Certification Training: February 2024- July 2024.
Level II Apprenticeship: Aug 2024 – Aug 2025 (Start date to be determined Summer 2024, varies per Apprentice)

Weekly Class Schedule
Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday afternoon


Cohort 4

Level I Certification Training: February 2025- July 2025.
Level II Apprenticeship: Aug 2025 – Aug 2026 (Start date to be determined Summer 2025, varies per Apprentice)

Weekly Class Schedule
Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday afternoons

Here are some videos and tools to help you with your computer, zoom, email, spam, and calendar. For additional technology support, please search YouTube.com for video tutorials or work with our WDP Instructors and staff.

All Technology Help

Dell Computer Use

Zoom Use

Zoom Classes

Gmail use

Gmail Use (find spam emails)

Gmail Email Attachments

Outlook Calendar Use

Google Calendar Use

Adobe Acrobat PDF Fill and Sign

Microsoft Word Use

 

FAQ

What job titles might PeerWORKS prepare me for?
Graduates would be well-prepared for roles such as: Behavioral Health Paraprofessional, Peer Support Specialist, Community Health Worker, Community Outreach Worker, Social Services Aide, Mental Health Worker, Promotoro/a, Youth Worker, etc.

What are the selection criteria for PeerWORKS?
We prioritize demographic and experiential diversity in each cohort. Interest in pursuing the Level II apprenticeship is also a plus.

Is participation in the Level II Apprenticeship required to participate in PeerWORKS?
Participation in Level II is not required for admission to PeerWORKS. However, we encourage all applicants to consider applying for an apprenticeship position. Admission priority will be given to those interested in on-the-job, apprenticeship training. The goal of this program is to create relevant Behavioral Health Aide work experience and increase the workforce in Arizona communities.

Do I have to work as a full-time employee to participate in the Level II Apprenticeship?
You are encouraged but not required to work as a full-time employee in the Level II Apprenticeship.

Am I required to be COVID-19 vaccinated to participate in this program?
We encourage all Trainees to follow CDC guidelines and get vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. Some partner employers may require COVID-19 vaccines to participate in onsite observations and apprenticeship placements. If you're working in healthcare, there are other vaccine requirements like Hepatitis B, Polio, Measles/Mumps/Rubella, Varicella, etc. Healthcare employers commonly require vaccines to protect the health of patients in clinical settings. Vaccines are important to reduce the spread of communicable diseases to vulnerable populations that you will serve. Here are locations to get vaccinated
If you're concerned, here is more information about the vaccine.

How will I be paid by The University of Arizona?
For Level I, each Trainee will receive monthly checks. This can be setup via direct deposit or mailed to the Trainee. This does require the Trainee submit a W-9 directly to the University of Arizona Financial Services Office. The Financial Coordinator and Financial Services Office will walk each Trainee through the payment process.

How will I be paid by the provider organization for Level II: Apprenticeship?
Following completion of the Level I, certification training, Trainees who are admitted to the Level II apprenticeship will be hired and work as an employee for one of several partner organizations as their employee, the partner organization will pay your salary directly. This will be coordinated and managed during the partner hiring and HR process.

Can I use a phone to participate in class?
No. We ask that all Trainees participate using a computer. If you do not have access to a computer, please work with the instructors and staff to access one.

My emails keep going to my spam. How do I fix this? How do I check my spam in Gmail?
Check out our Technology Help section on this webpage.

Can I join with my camera off while I’m doing other things such as working?
No. We ask that you keep your camera on while attending and being fully engaged in virtual classes.

If you have questions about becoming a PeerWORKS Trainee or a partner site, please contact:

UArizona Workforce Development Program
Email: fcm-wdp@email.arizona.edu
Phone: (520) 621-1642

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $2,216,000, grant number M01HP42452. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.