PHOENIX – The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) has partnered with Northland Pioneer College to provide scholarships to students in behavioral health care programs and courses.
“Offering more opportunities for students to earn health care and behavioral health degrees and credentials in rural Arizona is critical to strengthening the workforce and addressing shortages,” said Bill Kennard, AHCCCS Workforce Development Administrator. “Better prepared candidates make it easier for providers to streamline their new employee onboarding process, thereby ensuring AHCCCS members receive care more quickly.”
“This is a fantastic opportunity for our region,” said Jeremy Raisor, NPC Dean of Career and Technical Education. “We appreciate this partnership with AHCCCS in making this program possible at NPC. The communities in Navajo and Apache Counties have struggled with behavioral health challenges and this funding is essential for us to expand access to high-quality educational opportunities that will help fill the critical need for behavioral health professionals in our communities.”
Northland Pioneer College joins the Maricopa County Community College District in offering scholarship and tuition assistance programs for students who are pursuing health care careers in behavioral health and long-term health care services.
This program includes tuition waivers and scholarship opportunities totaling nearly $400,000 and will allow students to complete program requirements with little out-of-pocket cost. In exchange for tuition assistance, students are required to serve in the behavioral health field for a minimum of two years or a period that equals the completed program length.
This initiative aims to increase the number of individuals who join the workforce to pursue health care careers and address behavioral health workforce shortages in rural Arizona.
House Bill 2691 was passed and signed during the 2023 legislative session, allocating approximately $9 million in American Rescue Act funds to the two college systems by Sept. 30, 2024, with another $4.5 million possible, pending further legislative action.