Strong Workforce | Healthy Connecticut

About Us

All states, including Connecticut, face a crisis in the workforce that serves persons with mental health and substance use problems. Workforce turnover is high, essential jobs remain unfilled, and access to effective and relevant training is inadequate. The Connecticut Workforce Collaborative on Behavioral Health was established to develop and implement coordinated statewide planning and action to recruit, train, support, and retain members of this workforce.

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Some commonly asked questions about the Collaborative are answered below.

What is our Mission?

Our mission is to ensure that Connecticut residents who are experiencing mental health and substance use problems have access to well-prepared individuals who can offer effective and compassionate care.
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What is our Goal?

Our primary goal is the health, resilience, and recovery of persons with mental health and substance use conditions. We work to achieve this goal by strengthening the workforce.
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What is our Motto?

Strong Workforce / Healthy Connecticut. A "strong" workforce is sufficiently large, diverse, competent, compassionate, and responsive to the needs and preferences of the persons it serves.
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What does the Collaborative Do?

We bring together persons in recovery, family members, educators, providers and state administrators to plan and implement projects to strengthen the workforce. We also promote the use of effective practices to find, train, and keep members of the workforce.
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How is the Collaborative Unique?

By bringing together a diverse group of individuals and perspectives we create unique strategies for improving the workforce that are built on research knowledge and the wisdom of individuals and families who have experienced mental health and substance use problems. The Connecticut Workforce Collaborative on Behavioral Health is one of only a few behavioral health workforce collaboratives in the nation.
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What are the specific Functions of the Collaborative?

The functions include: assessing workforce problems; developing a broad plan of action; implementing and evaluating specific projects to improve the workforce; making better use of existing workforce development resources; and promoting the use of effective workforce development practices throughout Connecticut.
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What does Behavioral Health mean?

This term refers to mental health and substance use problems or conditions. These may occur separately or at the same time, which is called "co-occurring".
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What does Workforce mean?

This refers to all individuals, whether in paid or unpaid roles, who help people with behavioral health problems. It includes: (1) professionals with college and graduate level training in behavioral health; (2) direct care staff who have received on-the-job training; (3) other health, education, and social service providers who assist individuals with behavioral health problems, and (4) persons in recovery and family members as they care for themselves and provide support to others.
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Who are the Members of the Collaborative?

Members of the Collaborative serve on its Executive Council. They are diverse in composition, including persons in recovery, family members, providers, state agencies, and educators. The members are generally recognized as leaders or emerging leaders who can represent the interests and perspectives of their peers.
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How is the Collaborative Organized?

The Executive Council is responsible for guiding the activities of the Collaborative.  It has 15 to 20 diverse members, including persons in recovery and family members.  It establishes the priorities of the Collaborative, reviews workforce projects, assesses progress, and links the Collaborative to other workforce activities in the state.  It also works to ensure the future of the Collaborative.  The Executive Council has two Co-Conveners. During the Transformation Grant, three additional councils provided planning and oversight over workforce improvement activities regarding: (1) the workforce for adults; (2) the workforce for children, youth and families; and (3) consumers, youth and families in the behavioral health workforce.
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How is the Collaborative Staffed?

The Yale Group on Workforce Development organizes and staffs the Collaborative. This team of individuals from Yale University brings expertise in training, education, recruitment and retention in health and human services.
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How was the Collaborative Created?

The Collaborative was established and funded through a five-year federal Mental Health Transformation State Incentive Grant awarded to Connecticut. As part of this grant, a statewide Workforce Transformation Workgroup interviewed hundreds of individuals across the state to obtain their views on ways to improve the workforce. Creation of the Collaborative was a major recommendation of the Workgroup.
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How are State Agencies involved in the Collaborative?

A number of state agencies are represented on the Executive Council and the Collaborative cooperates with many of the fourteen agencies or branches of state government that provided oversight of the Mental Health Transformation grant. Seven state entities entered into a Memorandum of Agreement to monitor the progress of the Collaborative and consider ways to sustain its activities.
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Are meetings of the Collaborative Open to the Public?

Yes. Meeting dates, times, and locations are posted on the Collaborative website. Meeting minutes are available on the website as well.
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How can I get More Information?

Please click here or at the top of the page to contact us.
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  • What We're Doing

    Our projects strengthen Connecticut's behavioral health workforce through recruitment, training and retention of all members of the behavioral health system. [more]

  • Meet Our Councils

    The Executive Council guides the Collaborative by establishing its priorities and monitoring its progress. [more]

  • Who We Work With

    The Career Pathways project identified educational pathways into behavioral health careers and the numbers of individuals traversing these pathways. [more]