Behavioral healthcare workers are among the most vital members of professionals in modern society. To most parents whose loved ones have special needs, they provide the much-needed guidance that will go a long way in managing behavioral challenges and improving their quality of life. Parents whose loved ones were diagnosed with Autism are especially appreciative of ABA therapists, as the result is often evident in the remarkable progress their children showcase.

Behavioral healthcare workforce crisis

This is why big organizations like the Oregon Health Authority recognize and support programs like Oregon Tech’s Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis and Marriage and Family Therapy. Recently, the OIT programs were awarded a grant of $623,700 by the Oregon Health Authority. This grant will help tackle the behavioral healthcare workforce crisis that has become a problem in oregon for quite some time.

Essentially, the funds will be used to provide tuition fee assistance and stipends for current and incoming graduates who make a commitment to work in Oregon after completing their studies. The goal is to diversify the workforce, thus improving recruitment, & retention. This, of course, includes enhancing the capacity of culturally responsive behavioral healthcare workers in specific rural areas.

Behavioral healthcare shortage – marginalized communities

Oregon is facing a shortage of qualified behavioral healthcare professionals at the moment & the issue has rippled across marginalized communities, especially in rural areas & black communities. The root cause of this problem lies in the inability of the existing workforce to meet the rapidly growing demand for services. Thus, the new funds have been allocated to address this issue.

The grant currently supports a total of 23 students, including 7 ABA students and 16 MFT students. These students receive tuition assistance as well as stipends to support them through their studies. As an MFT graduate student and fund recipient at Oregon Tech, Monica Shaw is one of the beneficiaries of this grant. Upon completion of her degree, she plans to work with underserved communities in Oregon, specifically focusing on Indigenous families and youth.

Shaw acknowledges the vital role that the OHA tuition grant plays in helping her achieve her lifelong goal. She wants to use her knowledge gained through her Marriage and Family Therapy degree to make a positive impact in families and lives of Autism families that may have challenges.

ABA training in MIT program

ABA, a well-approved treatment for Autism, is among the most rigorous programs offered by Oregon Tech, equipping students with the necessary skills to effectively apply behavior analysis principles in a variety of populations and settings. Students are given hands-on experience through practical opportunities like working at the BIG ABA clinic in Klamath Falls under the guidance of Dawn Bailey. More details on how to apply, as well as further information about the MFT program, can be obtained by reaching out to Maria Lynn Kessler at

Nevada Autism Center

In addition to the work being done at Oregon Tech, there are also other organizations and programs dedicated to supporting individuals with Autism and their families. One such organization is Nevada Autism.

Every individual with Autism holds the potential to soar beyond all limitations, and at Nevada Autism, our unwavering commitment is to empower them with resources, education, and support to realize their true capabilities. Check out this page to learn more about our services.

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