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Pueblo WorkforceCenter

Meet Colorado Mental Health Institution Pueblo

Workforce Challenge

The Colorado Mental Health Institution (CMHIP) located in Pueblo has been experiencing severe staffing shortages. This has put their accreditation at-risk, has been highlighted in the media and caused them to close the Circle program, which is a residential mental illness and substance abuse treatment program. This program was funded by the General Assembly last year so the temporary closure is a concern with lawmakers as well. Among other positions, CMHIP is in dire need of Psychiatric Technicians. Pueblo Community College (PCC) is the only college in the state that offers a Psychiatric Technician program. Due to low enrollments, the college was considering closing the program.

Workforce Solution

The Pueblo Workforce Center (PWFC) met with PCC and CMHIP to identify the cause of the low enrollment problem. It was identified that PCC required students to complete two prerequisite courses that were non-credit bearing and cost $1,300, therefore not eligible for PELL or WIOA funded tuition assistance. The PWFC asked PCC to modify their program to include these courses in their certificate program so students would be eligible for PELL and WIOA tuition assistance through the PWFC, which they agreed to do.

Outcomes & Benefits

The PWFC utilized the RESEA program and a list of individuals that had been part of a large lay-off to conduct outreach. On August 21st, fifteen students began college in the Psychiatric Technician program. In addition to having PELL available to them, they were sponsored using funds from the WIOA NEG Sector Grant. CMHIP championed this effort by guaranteeing that each student will be employed part-time while in college at above minimum wage. Once they graduate and receive their license, they will be earning, on average, 42% more per hour than they were being paid from their jobs of dislocation.

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