WKU awarded a $1.92 million grant for counseling workforce


Gabi Broekema/HERALD

Potter Hall, home to Western Kentucky University’s Counseling Center, its presumably empty on Wednesday night, Sep. 9, 2020, in Bowling Green, Ky.

Debra Murray, Digital News Editor

WKU received a $1.92 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration among $22 million in awards to 56 recipients as part of the Behavioral Health Workforce and Education Training Program for Professionals.

WKU will receive $480,000 a year for four years starting July 1. 

According to a press release by WKU news, the program will address three main goals including expand the relationships with community-based partners to increase the number of qualified counseling internship training sites, increase the number of qualified graduate counselors interested in serving high need areas in the region, and promote professional collaborative trainings in behavioral health and primary care settings. 

The program aims to improve distribution of a quality behavioral health workforce and access to behavioral health services.

“We’re beyond excited so this is almost a $2 million award that will be used over the next four years to support our counseling students, our counseling faculty, and our community as we engage together,” Corinne Murphy, dean of College of Education and Behavioral Science. “We did not anticipate a pandemic to increase, and exacerbate the need for this area and so it reflects on the work that our counseling program has done over the last four years.”

The program will not only benefit WKU, the Department of Counseling and Student Affairs, and College of Education and Behavioral Sciences but it will benefit the entire region as this grant will help prepare many kinds of counseling professionals.

“There is a need to expand the number of trainees who graduate from our counseling programs and serve our region as well as provide quality professional training in evidence-based practices,” Cheryl Pence, an associate professor of Counseling and Student Affairs said. 

Digital News Editor Debra Murray can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @debramurrayy