Project FUTRE

Project FUTRE
Families Uplifted Through Recovery Education

Behavioral Health Paraprofessional (BHPP) Education and Apprenticeship Program

Application is currently closed

 You can join the waiting list by clicking on the "Join Now" button below


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Note: All classroom training activities will be conducted remotely via Zoom. Experiential shadowing (if in-person) will follow CDC guidelines and protocols setup by partner organizations to reduce the spread of COVID-19. For more info, check out the section titled Guidance for COVID-19 at this website HERE.


Project FUTRE is a behavioral health training program for family support specialists. It aims to increase the number of behavioral health-related paraprofessionals qualified to provide services to children and families who are impacted by opioid use disorders (OUD) and other substance use disorders (SUD). The program involves two training levels: 1) 6-month parent and family support specialist certification, and 2) an optional 12-month apprenticeship. More details are outlined below.

For a Project FUTRE grant summary, click here>>

To see our flyer, click here >>

Para ver nuestro folleto en español, pulsa aqui >>


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.

*Upon completion of their studies, participants are provided with two SMART Recovery training sessions to enhance their understanding of recovery at their own pace.

SMART Recovery is a nationwide non-profit, evidenced-informed recovery method grounded in Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which offers free support groups to individuals who desire to gain independence from any type of addictive behavior. SMART Recovery Facilitator/Family & Friends Training is a training which combines the prerequisite GSF 201: Facilitator Training and the GSF 202: Family & Friends Training add-on training, equipping trainees to successfully facilitate SMART meetings for individuals or family members.


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 $12-$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 >>



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.

Kevin Phillips, certified as both a Parent & Family Support Specialist and a Peer & Recovery Support Specialist, serves as an instructor within the Workforce Development Program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson’s Department of Family and Community Medicine, and the University of Arizona Health Sciences - Comprehensive Center for Pain and Addiction. Kevin trains individuals with lived experience in mental illness or substance use disorder, empowering them to harness their backgrounds for positive transformation. As a graduate of Project MORE High School and Project FUTRE, a training program for family support specialists he now instructs for, he deeply understands the transformative potential of alternative pathways and options in shaping individuals' lives. Kevin is a proud and vocal advocate for recovery-oriented, person-centric, trauma-informed approaches in all aspects of life. In 2024, he continues his service on the National Institute of Health’s Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Connections Lived Experience Panel, specifically contributing to the Hispanic/Latino/a/x/é subpanel for the second consecutive year.

Community Partners

Project Future is supported by the following healthcare organizations in Arizona:

  • COPE Community Services
  • Mariposa Community Health Center
  • MHC Health Care
  • CODAC Health Recovery & Wellness
  • Banner Whole Health Clinic
  • El Rio Health
  • Community Medical Services
  • Hope, Inc.
  • Family Involvement Center



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.

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.



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)

See Contact Us section for contact information



Cohort 1 (Closed)

Level I Pre-Apprenticeship: February 2021- Aug 2021. Level I started February 9th, 2021 and ended July 30th, 2021
Level II Apprenticeship: Aug 2021 – Aug 2022

Counties: Pima, Santa Cruz

Weekly Class Schedule

Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday 9:00am - 11:00am (Tucson, AZ Time)


Cohort 2 (Closed)

Level I Pre-Apprenticeship: August 17, 2021 - February 2022. 
Level II Apprenticeship: February 2022 - February 2023

Counties: Pima, Santa Cruz

Weekly Class Schedule

Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday 9:30am - 11:30am (Tucson, AZ Time)

Cohort 3 (Closed)

Level I Pre-Apprenticeship: February 8th, 2022 - August 2022
Level II Apprenticeship: August 2022 - August 2023

Counties: La Paz, Maricopa, Pima, Santa Cruz, Yuma

Weekly Class Schedule

Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday 9:30am - 11:30am (Tucson, AZ Time)

Cohort 4 (Closed)

Level I Pre-Apprenticeship: August 2022 - February 2023
Level II Apprenticeship: February 2023 - February 2024

Counties: La Paz, Maricopa, Pima, Santa Cruz, Yuma

Weekly Class Schedule

Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday 9:30am - 11:30am (Tucson, AZ Time)

Cohort 5 (Closed)

Level I Pre-Apprenticeship: February 2023 - July 2023
Level II Apprenticeship: August 2023 - August 2024

Counties: Cochise, Coconino, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Pima, Santa Cruz, Yuma

Weekly Class Schedule

Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday 9:00am - 11:00am (Tucson, AZ Time)

Cohort 6 (Coming Soon)

Level I Pre-Apprenticeship: February 2024 - July 2024
Level II Apprenticeship: August 2024 - August 2025

Counties: Cochise, Coconino, Graham, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Pima, Santa Cruz, Yuma

Weekly Class Schedule


Here are some videos and tools to help you with your computer, zoom, email, spam, and calendar. For additional technology support, please search 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



What job titles might Project FUTRE prepare me for?
Graduates would be well-prepared for roles such as: Behavioral Health Paraprofessional, Parent and Family 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 Project FUTRE?
We prioritize demographic and experiential diversity in each cohort. Interest in pursuing the Level II apprenticeship is also a plus.

How will observation hours work during Level I?  
Observation hours during Level I will be coordinated directly between the trainee and the partner. This will allow trainees the opportunity to practice healthy work communication skills. Anticipate there may be some back-and-forth phone calls and emails as our partners providing observation hours are doing this in addition to their regular job responsibilities. Level II staff will assist with this process, including sharing contact information and strategies for contacting partners. Observations hours should be completed from month three to five during your six-month training program.   

Is participation in the Level II Apprenticeship required to participate in Project FUTRE?
Participation in Level II is not required for admission to Project FUTRE. 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. This process will result in you receiving a 1099 Form for tax purposes. The Financial Coordinator and Financial Services Office will walk each Trainee through the payment process. 

What do I need to receive my monthly stipend payment?
Once enrolled in the program, you will receive an email from the PeerWORKS/FUTRE financials coordinator with next steps to receive your payment. NOTE: If you wish to receive stipends via direct deposit you must have access to a legitimate bank account or your payments will be delayed. Stipends cannot be sent to Venmo/Cashapp/Zelle accounts. Paper checks can be sent to most addresses. Contact the financial coordinator for more information.

When will my first stipend payment arrive?
The University of Arizona Financial Services offices will complete the first payment after you've completed your first or second month and when you are in good standing according to the program code of conduct. The program staff does not have control over when the first payment is processed. For your own financial planning, do not rely on your first payment for any personal bills.

Do stipends count as income?
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. For free tax assistance, check out this website

Who do I email about my financials paperwork?
You can email the general email at

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 your 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.

What resources are available when working with transgender, non-binary and LGBTQ+ populations (as clients and as colleagues)?
Check out the "Arizona LGBTQ+ Resource Guide" and "Tipsheets" listed at

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

UArizona Workforce Development Program
Phone: (520) 306-6889

This program is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $2,274,914 under grant number T26HP39459. 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.