MEDFORD, Ore. — Seven students in OnTrack's On-PACE (Peer and Counselor Education) Program have completed their 18-month training to become Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors (CADC). The students have fulfilled all requirements, including 2,000 hours of on-the-job training, to prepare for the certification exam administered by the Mental Health & Addiction Certification Board of Oregon (MHACBO) in the coming weeks.
“This is a major milestone for the On-PACE Program,” said OnTrack’s Executive Director Sommer Wolcott. “Developing this fully certified training program has been a massive team effort and we have accomplished more than any of us imagined.”
On-PACE participants, 85 percent of whom have personal experience with substance use or mental health challenges, receive intensive training in OnTrack's residential and outpatient treatment programs and community partner facilities. The program’s 170 classroom hours are facilitated by 15 community leaders from the Rogue Valley's behavioral health system.
Julia Jackson, behavioral health director for Jackson Care Connect, says the program helps address the behavioral health workforce shortage, “It provides an immediate pathway for filling critical positions and supporting professional development and growth. I’m excited to be a direct contributor to the training and development of these dedicated individuals.”
Trainees in the cost-free program receive student stipends and are paid for their on-the-job training hours. Over four years, the On-PACE Program will have eight groups, each producing between five and ten CADCs, who will eventually fill positions within the local behavioral health system.
"It feels really good," said On-PACE participant Anthony Balentine, "It's really empowering. It gives me a sense of belonging. It gives me a path I'd like to be on. It gives me a reason to wake up in the mornings. I have a life that's worth living and enjoying."
"It feels so amazing to give back to the community that I was out there damaging for so long and help give back to the clients that we serve and help them be able to help themselves," said On-PACE participant Nichole Fox.
Both Balentine and Fox recently passed their certification exams and are now part of On-Track's team of counselors.
For more information about the On-PACE Program, call (541) 816-8030 or visit ontrackroguevalley.org. OnTrack Rogue Valley provides evidence-based, trauma-informed, family-centric treatment and support services for youth, adults, and families. Services include residential and outpatient drug and alcohol treatment, mental health counseling, and DUII services.