VILLANOVA, PA — Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health has unveiled the ASCEND Career Accelerator program. This $16 million investment over five years will provide support to the organization’s nearly 6,500 committed workers throughout the U.S.
The program is designed to help the staff advance in their respective careers and bolster Devereux’s talent pipeline during an industry-wide staffing crisis amidst soaring demand for top-notch behavioral healthcare services.
According to Carl E. Clark II, Devereux’s President and CEO, Devereux ASCEND is a game changer for both those looking to build a fulfilling career in behavioral health and Devereux team members seeking professional growth. “Our commitment to helping employees reach their professional goals is significantly expanded with this program, which is designed to support and empower our team members at all levels of the organization.”
In developing the program, Devereux analyzed key trends in the evolving wants and needs of the modern worker/employee. As a result, ASCEND’s four, integrated program categories address the full spectrum of guidance and assistance that employees desire. These categories include:
- multi-track career path and advancement opportunities;
- financial support for tuition and education costs;
- personalized career coaching;
- dedicated mentoring and professional development.
A key component of Devereux ASCEND is direct pay and reimbursement for tuition and education costs. Under the program, full-time team members in career-aligned tracks will receive 100% of tuition, fees and textbook costs – up to $15,000 for undergraduate classes and $25,000 for graduate-level classes on an annual basis. Student loan repayment will also be offered up to $200 per pay period for eligible full-time team members, and up to $100 per pay for part-time staff and utilizing the national Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program where applicable.
“We hope this inspires others in our industry to follow our lead in supporting and guiding those who work at the heart of compassionate care,” said Devereux Senior Vice President of People Operations Mike Ernst. “We want all of our team members to know they are valued, and that we are invested in their futures, so they can achieve their professional development goals and grow their careers at Devereux. We also understand the impact of this program extends beyond our team members to their families, because we are working to create equitable access to education and career advancement opportunities.”
The ASCEND program builds on Devereux’s long-standing commitment to enrich and empower its employees. Key benefit areas include:
- Multi-track career advancement
To expand the options and advancement opportunities for all team members, ASCEND offers a variety of enriching career tracks for all behavioral health professionals and support positions. The multi-track career pathways provide a clear roadmap for advancement opportunities at every level of the organization – and at every career stage. The six career tracks include:
- Clinical: Clinician, Registered Behavior Technicians/Board Certified Behavior Analysts, etc.
- Operational management: Supervisors, managers, directors, etc.
- Medical: Nurses, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, etc.
- Education: Teacher assistants, teachers, principals, etc.
- Direct care: Direct care professionals/direct support professionals, leads, etc.
- Administration: Administrative and support roles, etc.
- Financial Education Resources
Financial support to ease the burden of student loans and continuing education is a critical issue for healthcare workers. Under Devereux ASCEND, full-time employees in career-aligned tracks will receive 100% of tuition, fees and textbook costs, up to $15,000 for undergraduate classes, and $25,000 for graduate-level classes on an annual basis. In addition, part-time employees will receive up to 50% of the full-time member benefits.
To address the growing burden of student loan debt, Devereux will offer student loan repayment benefits up to $200 per pay period for eligible full-time team members, and up to $100 per pay for part-time employees and utilizing the national Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program where applicable. The benefit requires a service agreement of 24 months.
- Personalized Career Coaching
Career coaching and guidance is an important part of Devereux ASCEND. To help clarify an employee’s career goals, while navigating the broad array of learning programs and education resource options, Devereux team members will be matched with a dedicated Career Coach within 30 days of hire. Through regular check-ins, our coaches will help participating employees build a personalized career plan that best matches their unique skills, interests and opportunities at each stage of their career to ensure they are fulfilled and supported.
- Dedicated Mentoring and Skill Development
To make professional development and skill-building easier and more rewarding, the program includes a variety of custom education and professional development pathways. Team members will be paired with dedicated mentors and coaches to help guide them through individualized learning journeys, training and certifications, learning cohorts and Servant Leadership development. These learning opportunities will be offered through a variety of modalities, and will be led by Devereux’s national network of subject matter experts to help team members reach their full potential.
Addressing the Healthcare Staffing Crisis
With its unpresented investment in ASCEND, Devereux is taking the lead in addressing the behavioral healthcare industry’s historic staffing challenges. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects healthcare employment to grow 16% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding an estimated 2.6 million new jobs in the next 10 years.
In the behavioral health industry, the shortage of healthcare workers is reaching a breaking point. By the end of 2025, U.S. demand for direct care professionals (DCPs) is expected to exceed 4.5M while the projected availability of DCPs will fall somewhere shy of one million. The Economic Institute projects a 200K shortfall of teachers by the same year, while the American Psychological Association predicts a 100K shortage of clinicians by 2030.
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