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NASW Michigan Chapter receives grant to address substance use workforce shortage


LANSING, MI -- The National Association of Social Workers Michigan Chapter (NASW-Michigan) has been awarded a two-year, $310,000 behavioral health workforce development grant by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. NASW Michigan’s project is intended to address a significant workforce shortage in the substance use and co-occurring mental health field.  

The project will bolster the number of culturally competent and highly skilled social workers in Michigan by offering new supervision training with a focus on substance use treatment. The ultimate goal is to ensure that social workers are better equipped to respond to and assist with the demands that children, teens, young adults and their families face around substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders.  

Clinical social workers are one of the nation’s largest groups of providers of mental health services, including substance use treatment. Using the grant to bolster this workforce will help Michigan address its opioid addiction crisis. There were 2,729 deaths from drug overdoses in the state in 2017, more than from car accidents, according to Michigan state government data.  

The behavioral health workforce development project was made possible through the collaborative approach of NASW-Michigan Executive Director Maxine Thome, PhD, LMSW, ACSW, MPH; Board Member Ronnie Tyson, LMSW; Director of Public Policy Algeria Wilson, MSW; chapter staff, and social work experts from across the state.

“NASW-Michigan is excited to take a lead in creating a strong social work workforce to address the growing substance use problem across our state and nation,” Thome said.  “We recognize the critical need for supervision training in Michigan, and the barriers that exist for individuals with unmet substance use and co-occurring mental health needs.”

“This grant will help us tackle this issue from both clinical and macro perspectives, and we were able to put forth a vision, inclusive of various key organizations, to address barriers to the profession of social work,“ she said.

NASW-Michigan looks forward to working with The Michigan Health Endowment Fund and key statewide organizations over the next two years to effectively improve the social workers knowledge around this critical topic.


The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.