|Posted:||June 10, 2022 11:32 AM|
|From:||Senator Michele Brooks and Sen. Lindsey M. Williams|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Internship Stipends for School Counselors, Social Workers, Psychologists, and Nurses|
|We will soon introduce a bill to reduce the costs associated with becoming a certified school counselor, social worker, psychologist, or nurse in Pennsylvania schools.
Too often, we hear from school staff desperate for more school-based mental health professionals – something students regularly voice as a top priority for them as well.
Unfortunately, for aspiring professionals in these fields, it can cost more to work in schools than it does in other settings. For example, school psychologists must intern 1,200 hours in schools while earning their degree. Other school-based mental health professionals have similar internship requirements. This on-the-ground training is vital preparation for working in schools but typically is unpaid and comes on top of other higher education expenses. We should be incentivizing these professionals to work in schools, not deterring them.
Based off of a successful program in Ohio, our bill would enable districts to pay prospective school counselors, social workers, psychologists, and nurses a stipend during their internships. This will lower the barrier to becoming a school-based mental health professional and increase the number of caring adults in schools to support students now.
Please join us in co-sponsoring this important and timely legislation.