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Workforce Education & Training Planning

Mental Health Services Act (MHSA)


The Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) requires the California Department of Mental Health (DMH) to develop a five-year education and training plan (Five-Year Plan). In April 2008, DMH's Five-Year Plan was approved by the California Mental Health Planning Council to cover the period from April 2008 to April 2013. The Five-Year Plan provides the vision, values and mission for Workforce Education & Training (WE&T) programs and activities to assist California in moving toward an integrated mental health service delivery system.

MHSA also requires DMH to establish guidelines for the content of the Workforce Education and Training (WE&T) plan that each county mental health program must submit as part of its program and expenditure plan. The county WE&T plan must demonstrate consistency with the vision, values, and mission of the Five-Year Plan, and address the intent of the MHSA through development of a competent and diverse workforce capable of meeting the mental health needs of the public.

As part of the planning process, counties are required to identify shortages in occupations, skill sets, and individuals with unique cultural and linguistic competence and aspire to the following goals:

  • Develop a sufficient number of qualified individuals for the public mental health workforce
  • Increase the quality and success of educating and training the public mental health workforce
  • Increase the partnership and collaboration of all entities involved in public mental health education and training

There are five separate WE&T funding categories, as indicated below:

  • Workforce Staffing Support
  • Training and Technical Assistance
  • Mental Health Career Pathway Programs
  • Residency and Internship Programs
  • Financial Incentive Programs

Our Planning Process

Building on the strengths of our other MHSA planning processes, Contra Costa Mental Health convened a Stakeholder Planning Workgroup to review community input and survey data and oversee the development of the WE&T plan. Included in the planning process were the following strategies for eliciting stakeholder input and gathering workforce information:

  • Focus Groups and Key Informant Interviews - involving consumers, family members, CBOs, educators, public mental health staff, and additional experts in the field.
  • A Workforce Needs Assessment - to collect data on the occupational composition, hard-to-fill positions, and unmet staffing needs of County mental health programs, network providers, and contract agencies/CBOs. Tools for Completing Workforce Needs Assessment
  • A Staff Education and Training Survey - to gather ideas from County staff on training areas and options for career advancement within the public mental health field. Staff Education and Training Survey

For an overview of our planning steps and timeline, go to: Overview of Planning Process