Public Behavioral Health MSW Training Program

May 10, 2023

The California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC) is excited to announce the launch of the statewide Public Behavioral Health (PBH) MSW Training Program to address California’s pressing public behavioral health workforce development needs. Funded by the California Office of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) and administered by CalSWEC, this program expands on the work of the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) MSW Training Program. Its central goal is to increase the employment and retention of MSWs in California’s publicly funded behavioral health programs and services by providing selected MSW students with specialized training and stipend support.

Under the agreement between HCAI and CalSWEC, the PBH MSW Training Program will provide specialized training and stipend support to up to 550 foundation and advanced year MSW students at up to 22 universities in California during academic years 2023-24, 2024-25 and 20205-26. Interested MSW students will apply to the PBH MSW Training Program one year at a time, but may participate for a total of two academic years. PBH trainees will be selected by participating MSW programs through a competitive application process. Selection will prioritize applicants’ ability to demonstrate long term interest in and commitment to working in public behavioral health programs and settings.

Trainees in the PBH MSW Training Program must complete identified courses on behavioral health practice, policy and research and foundation and/or advanced year field training in publicly funded behavioral health programs. Eligible field training sites include publicly funded behavioral health programs in community clinics, outpatient and residential treatment programs, inpatient psychiatric units, schools, SELPAs, regional centers, inpatient and outpatient health care settings, child welfare units, juvenile delinquency programs, and adult corrections settings, among others. Specialized training content will focus on preparing students for the realities of public behavioral health practice and emphasize the coordination and integration of services provided to adults, children, and families through multiple systems of care.

Trainees in the PBH MSW Training Program will be awarded stipend funding of $25,000 per training year, based on full time enrollment. Participating MSW programs will receive program coordination funding sufficient to recruit, select and coordinate student trainees and ensure the availability of curricular and field training resources for all trainees as necessary to meet identified training program requirements.

Graduates of the APS MSW Training Program are required to complete post-graduation service through employment in publicly funded behavioral health settings within the state of California. Trainees must begin service employment within 180 days of MSW graduation and the duration of the service obligation is the equivalent of 12 months of full time service for each year of training participation. Graduates are responsible for completing and submitting all required documentation of employment used to satisfy the service obligation

If you have any questions about the PBH MSW Training Program, please contact E. Maxwell Davis or Martina Parashkevova at