April 10, 2014 | Volume 119, Issue No. 15

Pine Tech community forum addresses mental health needs

The recent closure of Riverwood Centers underscores the lack of mental health workers and patient services throughout Minnesota, which is an ongoing concern for state officials. To address the issue, the Minnesota Legislature asked Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) to convene a summit and develop a state workforce plan. A community forum is slated for 1-3 p.m. on Thursday, April 24 at Pine Technical College.

Forums will be held throughout the state with the goal of developing a comprehensive plan to increase the number of qualified people working at all levels of Minnesota’s mental health system, ensuring appropriate coursework and training and creating a more culturally diverse mental health workforce.

“This is a large undertaking, and we need the community’s input and help,” said Stefanie Schroeder, Pine Technical College’s dean of workforce and economic development. “We want to gather information from providers, employers, consumers of mental health care, educators and others to assess the gaps and shortages in the mental healthcare workforce.”

Forum topics will include, but are not limited to, the wait time for individuals to see mental health professionals, the challenges and length of time to fill mental health professional positions, whether students and graduates are meeting expectations of providers, strategies to recruit individuals to the mental health field and improvements needed to the mental health workforce and delivery system.

A team will use the results from the Pine Tech forum, as well as other forums held throughout the state, to create the comprehensive plan at a summit scheduled for May 28.

Forum organizers ask attendees to pre-register at www.healthforceminnesota.org and clicking on Pine City.

Pine Technical College, established in 1965 and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, serves more than 1,300 students and awards certificates, diplomas and associate degrees. PTC is a proud member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, which is comprised of 31 state universities and community and technical colleges serving the higher education needs of Minnesota. For more information about PTC’s programs, including information regarding how to apply call (320) 629-5100 or online at www.pinetech.edu.

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