Mecklenburg County ABC Board awards grant to help CPCC students pursuing substance abuse counseling careers

last modified Sep 18, 2017 11:47 AM

The Mecklenburg County Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Community Health and Wellness Grant Program is providing a $155,596 grant to the Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) Human Services Division to fund its new, innovative program – Preparing Addictions Counselors of Tomorrow (PACT).

PACT will prepare eligible students enrolled in the college’s Substance Abuse (SAB) program for careers in the addictions counseling field and assist them in the process of state credentialing toward becoming a certified or licensed substance abuse counselor. The grant funds will support the project’s personnel, student scholarships, credentialing fees, professional association fees, conference registration, events, materials, supplies and travel.

“The grant will be used to establish a new scholarship and support model for students interested in substance use disorder counseling careers,” said Tony Beatty, SAB program chair for CPCC. “The model will enhance strategies for recruitment and is intended to increase the rates of retention and completion among our students enrolled in the program. That’s why this grant from the Mecklenburg County ABC Board is so valuable; we’ll now be able to adequately support this new education and workforce development initiative.”

The college’s PACT program will help address a state and Mecklenburg County need. Recent research indicates North Carolina is expected to see a 27 percent increase in jobs within the addictions workforce, with 80 projected job openings expected each year going forward. The demand for skilled professionals in the addictions field exists in Mecklenburg County as well. According to Burning Glass, from Feb. 2016 to Jan. 2017, there were 35 substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor positions available in Mecklenburg County.

CPCC’s SAB program has been training addictions professionals in Mecklenburg County for more than 30 years. It is the largest program of its kind in North Carolina, offering an Associate in Applied Science degree and four certificates of study, and serves more than 100 students every semester. The program primarily attracts non-traditional, adult learners, many of whom identify either as a person in long-term recovery from substance use disorders or as a family member of a person in recovery from substance use disorders. Through access to entry-level training, many recovering individuals seek an opportunity to change careers and give back to their community, serving the needs of those who are struggling with addiction as they once did.

As a result of the program’s longevity in the community, CPCC has developed strong partnerships with several organizations throughout the area that provide substance abuse programs and services to local

residents, including Anuvia Prevention and Recovery Center, Center for Prevention Services, Changed Choices, Dilworth Center, HopeHaven, Inc., Charlotte Rescue Mission (Rebound & Dove’s Nest) and The Arc of Mecklenburg County/FASD Committee of Mecklenburg. These organizations partner with CPCC’s SAB program to provide internship and employment opportunities, curriculum review, guest lectures, and more throughout the calendar year.

To learn more about CPCC’s Substance Abuse program, please visit cpcc.edu/health-human-services/substance-abuse.