Grant to invest in training fieldwork students to work with at-risk children, adolescents, and young adults

THOMASVILLE, GA, October 23, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — Thomas University’s Master of Science in Counseling program (MSC) recently received a second grant awarded by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA).

Known as the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training – Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults (BHWET-CAY) grant, $1,059,818 will be invested in training fieldwork students to work with at-risk children, adolescents, and young adults in medically underserved and rural areas, that are in dire need of an increased supply of trained professional counselors.

The BHWET-CAY grant will be available for two years beginning September 30, 2023. This grant will run simultaneously with the previously awarded BHWET Program for Professionals grant that Thomas University received in 2021 in the amount of $1.9 million.

These grant funds will be used to focus on enhancing the fieldwork component of the current MSC program by recruiting additional fieldwork sites that focus on service provision for children, adolescents and young adults across the United States and training grantees to work in these areas of most need upon graduation. Students funded on the BHWET-CAY grant will receive a monthly stipend to offset their cost of living while they are pursuing their clinical preparation.

The project is focused on achieving quality outcomes, including expanding its collaboration with community mental health agencies throughout the country; placing highly qualified and trained practitioners into high need, high demand areas to improve quality of care to at-risk children, adolescents, and young adults; creating relationships with other health care professionals to develop a thriving inter-professional network of service provision to the most at-risk consumers; and making mental health services more accessible to those living in rural areas with the least access to professional care.

“The BHWET-CAY grant will help Thomas University prepare students to be mental health care providers in areas where they are needed most,” said Dr. Pauline Patrick, Chair of the Division of Social & Behavioral Sciences. “By expanding our fieldwork network across the country, we are not only increasing the opportunities for hands-on experiences for our students, but we are also meeting the needs of the young people who live in those areas who may not have access to counseling professionals. TU will be able to help meet that need.” Dr. Cristina Jones, the Principal Investigator on the grant stated, “We are excited to receive this HRSA grant and continue to find ways to support our students with the financial investment involved in graduate study. With this coordinated approach to increasing the supply of behavioral health service professionals around the country, TU is well positioned to have a national impact on improving service provision to those in most need. We know through research that children, adolescents, and young adults are struggling with mental health concerns post-Covid and our program has the potential to address this need through focused training experiences.”

The grant will provide stipends to 18 of TU’s MSC fieldwork students per year to help them with personal finances while they are in their fieldwork sites. The grant will also provide funds to hire two full-time fieldwork faculty who will be tasked with supervising and training grantees.

TU’s MSC program was one of only 18 recipients of the BHWET-CAY grant, and currently runs four federal grants out of the counseling department. TU’s completely online Master of Science in Counseling Degree is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and offers four specialization areas in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, Addiction Counseling and School Counseling. Students completing the degree are eligible to become licensed professional counselors, certified rehabilitation counselors, certified school counselors and/or certified addictions counselors in the state in which they live.

To learn more about TU’s Master of Science in Counseling Degree, visit

Located in the beautiful historic city of Thomasville, Georgia, Thomas University is a regionally accredited, non-profit university whose mission is to provide an educational experience that explores and develops each student’s full potential. Situated on 75 acres just about 30 miles north of Tallahassee, Florida, TU offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s and education specialist degrees at our main campus, online and at satellite locations in Tallahassee and across Georgia.

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