SITKA — Alaska has a shortage of health care workers and some of the biggest needs are in behavioral health. In 2007, University of Alaska Associate Vice President of Health Karen Perdue, the former Alaska Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner, said Alaska had 1,033 behavioral health job openings, with a vacancy rate of 13.9 percent and a mean longest vacancy of 17.1 months. In rural Alaska, the vacancy rates and unmet service needs are higher.
The Behavioral Health Academy, which takes place on April 4-8 at several locations in Sitka, will help introduce people to the wide variety of behavioral health careers available in Alaska, and let them know what training and skills are needed to fill those positions. The week-long academy is free and open to those ages 16-25. The academy takes place at the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) At Kan¿k H¿t Community Health building (1212 Seward Ave., down the hill from SEARHC Mt. Edgcumbe Hospital), at the University of Alaska Southeast-Sitka Campus and at other locations around Sitka.
The Alaska Mental Health Trust is funding the academy, and sponsoring organizations include the Southeast Area Health Education Center (SE AHEC), SEARHC, the University of Alaska Southeast-Sitka Campus, Sitka Counseling and Prevention Services (SCAPS), the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the Southeast Alaska Career Center (SEACC), Sitka Tribe of Alaska and Mt. Edgecumbe High School.
While the academy is free, participants do have to complete a short application that is due by March 25 to the Southeast Alaska Career Center (SEACC). Applications are available at school counselors’ offices and at SEACC, 205 Baranof St., Sitka, 99835. Applications also can be downloaded at http://www.seahecak.org/ or at http://www.ssd.k12.ak.us/SEACC/index.htm, and completed applications can be faxed to (907) 966-1353. The application includes a student statement and requires one letter of recommendation. For additional information, contact event coordinator Meghan Doughty at (503) 545-7761 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Iva GreyWolf at (907) 966-8674 or email@example.com.