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Michigan’s behavioral health services job fair goes virtual: Opportunity to meet employers statewide on Feb. 21

Michigan – The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Employment and Training is teaming up with the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan (CMHA) to hold an online Behavioral Health Services Job Fair from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 21, 2024.

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People who have master’s or bachelor’s degrees related to this field can go online to meet over 40 behavioral health organizations from both the Upper and Lower Peninsula. They can chat online to find out about job openings. To get involved and see what jobs are available, you can sign up here or check it out through the Facebook Live event.

“Working in human services is a rewarding and mutually beneficial role,” says Trish Cortes, executive director of Washtenaw County Community Mental Health, one of the employers represented at the virtual job fair. “You gain the opportunity to work in the community, help others improve their lives and ultimately enhance the quality of life for those you serve and the community.  If you are looking to connect and make an impact, connect with Washtenaw County Community Mental Health.”

CMHA is hosting this online job fair to encourage more people to consider careers in behavioral health, as there’s a big need for more professionals in this area. With a growing demand for behavioral health services, there’s a particular need for more social workers in Michigan.

“It is of no surprise that, across the nation, organizations are facing a workforce shortage. For Michigan, and for Washtenaw specifically, we are feeling this impact,” Cortes says. “In Washtenaw, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to connect with others to aid in our recruitment efforts.”

MI Mental Health recently spoke with Allie McCrum, CMHA policy analyst and organizer of the virtual job fair.

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Q: How can people take part in the virtual job fair?

A: People are able to sign up to talk to an employer based on the locations that they like or the job descriptions that they like.  Then, they may be offered an interview or told how to apply for the position. There will be a lot of community mental health (CMH) programs as well as providers like Trinity Health, Hope Network, and housing providers.

We planned the date to line up with graduates of MSW and BSW degree programs so they would have an opportunity to see statewide where they can be employed. The job fair will especially help our rural CMHs that are struggling to find people.

Q: What kinds of positions will people with social work degrees be able to choose from?

A: Job seekers who have bachelor’s or master’s degrees in social work or other relevant majors  can apply for positions in case management for people with mental illness or developmental disabilities, therapist positions, and clinical positions.

I have been a case manager for the last year with the Community Mental Health Authority of Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham Counties. Usually, the CMH is the provider of last resort for people in poverty who are struggling, homeless, or can’t work due to their mental illness or disability. Just to be there, to see them be able to reenter society, regrow relationships with their families, get into housing, and get support from people who love them feels really great.

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LifeWays, which will also be at the online job fair, is a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic that helps people in Jackson and Hillsdale counties. It’s one of over 150 groups that are part of the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan (CMHA), helping over 300,000 people in Michigan who are dealing with mental health issues, emotional problems, intellectual and developmental disabilities, or substance use challenges.

“We’ve participated in three virtual job fairs, and while we haven’t made any hires directly from these events, we’re optimistic about the potential they offer,” concludes Maribeth Leonard, CEO, LifeWays. “Despite not finding the exact skill set we were seeking, we’re encouraged by the diverse talent pool we’re able to connect with through these virtual platforms. Moving forward, we’re excited about the opportunities that continued engagement in virtual career fairs will bring to our recruitment efforts.”