Graduate students in social work at two area universities will get paid internships thanks to a new federal grant.
UNCG announced Monday that the Joint Master of Social Work Program — a combined effort between N.C. A&T and UNCG — will share a $1.1 million grant over the next three years.
Starting this fall, students studying for their master’s degrees will be eligible for annual $10,000 stipends if they work with local agencies that deal with children and young adults with mental health issues.
Melissa Floyd-Pickard, a social work professor and chairwoman of UNCG’s social work department, said about 70 students will get stipends over the life of the grant.
Floyd-Pickard said the money will help reduce the amount of money that students will have to borrow to get their degrees. That will help both the students — “We don’t want students to take on so much debt,” she said — as well as the social work program itself, which will use the promise of stipends as a recruiting tool.
Local agencies should benefit, too, Floyd-Pickard said, because the grant will pay for more people to work with area youths.
“It will really make a difference on the ground in Greensboro,” she said.
The program is now talking to several state and local agencies and health clinics who work with children, adolescents and young adults up to age 25 who suffer from — or are at-risk for — anxiety, depression, substance abuse or other mental health issues.
About three-fourths of the grant money will go to stipends. The rest will be used to hire part-time instructors, cover travel expenses for students who attend national conferences and pay the agencies that take graduate students as interns.
The grant money comes from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration, which awarded $99 million in grants in September to train new mental health professionals; support teachers, schools and communities in recognizing and responding to mental health issues; and improving access to mental health treatment for youth and young adults.