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NewsMay 16, 2023

Lesley University, Riverside Community Care announce Riverside Scholars@Lesley

Innovative workplace initiative to expand ranks of mental health counselors

A brick building with a white door and many windows. On the right, a tree blocks the blue sky.

Responding to a shortage of behavioral health counselors, particularly those caring for people from under resourced communities, Lesley University and Riverside Community Care have launched an innovative workplace development partnership called Riverside Scholars@Lesley.

An affordable and secure pathway toward employment in behavioral health counseling, Riverside Scholars@Lesley offers significant scholarships to students pursuing a master’s degree in mental health counseling. The model helps sustain success by bringing students in as cohorts (tight bands of fellow students with similar goals) and offering internships and a path to employment in Riverside’s extensive network of services. Lesley is seeking 15 students interested in becoming Riverside Scholars@Lesley.

Lesley and Riverside are already breaking new ground with the opening of one of the first, if not the first, licensed outpatient behavioral health centers on a college campus, serving Lesley students and the local community. Opened seven months ago, the Riverside Outpatient Center at Cambridge has already cut wait times for services for Lesley students from months to 2-4 weeks. The growing partnership also builds on Lesley’s role of graduating the highest number of mental health counselors in New England and on Riverside serving as one of the state’s largest non-profit mental health provider organizations, with expertise in caring for diverse communities.

“This partnership is a great example of how universities and employers can solve the demand for more professionals in mental health and other fields by increasing affordability, support and security,” said President Janet L. Steinmayer. “We seek to replicate this model with other partners and appreciate Riverside’s leadership in the field.”

Riverside CEO Marsha Medalie said the need for such workforce development initiatives is significant.

"With these additional incentives for joining the behavioral health field, a more diverse population of graduates, many from under-resourced backgrounds, will now be able to begin their careers with Riverside.  The demand for behavioral health services is at an all-time high, and these new clinicians will help bolster our culturally sensitive, compassionate care."

Interested in becoming a Riverside Scholar? Click here to learn more.