Texas Border Business
EDINBURG, Texas – The Region One Education Service Center is the recipient of a $5.9 million five-year grant focused on increasing school counseling capacity in mental health, and social and emotional learning, as well as building a robust talent pool in the region of Licensed Professional Counselors and Licensed Social Workers.
The US Department of Education (USDE) funded grant will serve the following seven Region One school systems: Donna ISD, Hidalgo ISD, Lyford CISD, La Joya ISD, Brooks County ISD, Rio Grande City CISD and Webb CISD.
Titled the Region One Building Mental Health Leaders Project, the grant is intended to impact over 53,100 students across the seven school systems identified including over 9,300 educators in 91 campuses.
“Through this work, Region One will implement strategic, comprehensive proven evidence-based Mental Health Career Pathways to increase the number of school-based mental health professionals at each school system,” said Melissa Lopez, Region One Administrator for College, Career & Life Readiness.
With the goal of increasing the number of mental health professionals by 20% annually, Region One will partner with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Texas A&M International University to offer practicum opportunities, internships, field work, credit hours and/or any other related training applicable for a degree or credential to recruit and onboard school-based mental health providers.
“Creating support systems to build a funnel to these high-demand jobs is important to us,” said Dr. Daniel P. King, Region One ESC Executive Director. “Through this grant and the support of USDE and our higher education partners, we can ensure our school communities have the necessary trained mental health personnel available to fit their needs.”
A celebratory grant announcement is scheduled at Region One ESC on Friday, Jan. 27 at 8:30 am to officially acknowledge the partnerships and work that will occur within the next five years.