United We Heal Oregon: Providing Opportunities for Behavioral Health Apprentices
Lindsay Gilinsky describes herself as “an older member of the workforce who is leveraging an apprenticeship to pivot in her career.” She explains that she is a great example of success that can come from pursuing non-traditional education pathways.
Lindsay participated in not one, but two apprenticeship programs with United We Heal Oregon. She completed the Qualified Mental Health Associate (QMHA) apprenticeship in May 2022. “Since graduating from the QMHA program, I have been promoted to a case management type position at my agency's drop in mental health clinic,” she explained.
“The QMHA apprenticeship helped me achieve my goal of becoming a clinical provider in the mental health field. It has allowed me to create a career path for myself that led to a promotion and opened so many doors for me within my agency.” After graduating from the QHMA program, Lindsay decided to continue her eduction and career growth by enrolling in the Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor (CADC) Apprenticeship Program. This program will provide another level of training and certification in mental health and will allow Lindsay to further specialize in her field to provide expertise in a specific area of clinical support
“My ultimate goal is to create an LGBTQ+-specific role within my agency that serves both clients and employees, and having my credential has helped get that ball rolling. As a queer person, this work is very dear to my heart.” The QMHA apprenticeship program provided technical and on-the-job training as well ast it allowed her to to exam her own mental health by forcing serious self-refelction and self care remonding herself of the “whys” behind doing this type of work.
She is on track to graduate from her second apprenticeship program in 2024 and acknowledges that this sort of growth, both personally and professionally, can be attributed to the development of quality training programs that reinforce the need for a wrap-a-round services approach to programs and apprentice success.
Lindsay is excited her new career! “My advice to anyone considering the apprenticeship is simply this: DO IT! The time will pass regardless and it will help you decide if this is truly the field for you, without the commitment of student loans.”