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Global Implementation Research and Applications
The global workforce crisis significantly impacts how evidence-based treatment is provided to youth with developmental disabilities and co-occurring mental health conditions. Addressing the workforce crisis requires re-examining the long-standing methods of selecting individuals for employment based on academic degrees. This project offers an innovative workforce development option that provides specialized training to staff with advanced education degrees and staff with less education. The participants in this study were employed in a rural area of the USA within the mental health, child welfare, and correctional industries. All participants worked with youth experiencing intellectual disabilities and mental illness. Results indicated that participants improved their knowledge of the population, demonstrated a better understanding of EBPs, and were willing to employ evidence-based approaches regardless of their education or age. Although overall attitudes toward EBPs decreased, diverging attitudes increased, suggesting a need to accommodate treatment strategies when EBP models are unavailable for special populations. Initial knowledge gaps demonstrated by those with a master's degree and those with less education disappeared after the training. This finding supports the application of innovative task-shifting options in mental health, such as diverting more sophisticated care tasks to nonprofessionally trained persons, which can reduce workforce pressure and unmet demand for care. This study demonstrates cost-effective and time-efficient methods of training staff regardless of education by relying less on specific EBP models and more on adaptation.
Reay, Susan; Reay, William E.; Tevis, Kris; and Patterson, Lisa, "Do Degrees Matter? Rethinking Workforce Development for Youth with Intellectual Disabilities and Mental Health Challenges" (2023). Social Work Faculty Publications. 62.
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