Project FUTRE Program Description


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>>

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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 $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.

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.