MDHHS awards $498,000 to Michigan State University’s School of Social Work to boost the public behavioral health workforce

June 5, 2024 - Brandon Drain

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has awarded $498,358 to Michigan State University’s School of Social Work to provide $30,000 stipends to students seeking to obtain a master’s degree in social work and who commit to working in behavioral health in the state upon graduation.

This is a concerted effort to increase the number of master's degree-level social workers in the behavioral health workforce throughout the state, according to MDHHS. At MSU, this will benefit Master of Social Work (MSW) students who are full-time students in its Advanced Standing program. Upon graduation, these social workers must agree to provide at least two years of full-time employment in public sector behavioral health in Michigan.

MSU’s School of Social Work plans on awarding 15 of its Advanced Standing MSW students the $30,000 stipend, according to the school’s director Anne Hughes.

“It’s a great boost to the workforce and the public mental health provider network,” she said. “Many of whom are so instrumental to the excellent field training that our students participate in.”

In addition to MSU, this award – totaling $5 million – was given to 12 other universities across the state. The award amounts were calculated based on the average number of students in the advanced standing MSW program, average student loan debt and demographic diversity, according to MDHHS.

“This program is another investment by the state to increase access to behavioral health care for Michigan families,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “We are committed to helping families access behavioral health care services when and where they need them. We anticipate up to 150 students will be able to obtain their master’s degree in social work through this program.”