The Washington State Behavioral Health Workforce Development Initiative (WDI) is designed to increase the number and diversity of well-trained clinicians committed to working in the state’s community-based behavioral health agencies. The initiative provides conditional grants for students in graduate-level programs in mental health, social work, and marriage and family therapy in exchange for serving in WDI-approved community behavioral health agencies or tribal health centers.

How your agency can participate

Please follow these steps to participate in the WDI initiative.

  1. Confirm your agency is on the WDI-approved behavioral health agency list.
  2. Create field-education opportunities for UW MSW WDI-grant recipients by contacting your School of Social Work field faculty or Arden Hellmann, the UW WDI administrator, at ArdenH@uw.edu.
  3. Encourage your employees to apply to the UW School of Social Work MSW program and to simultaneously apply for a WDI conditional grant as a professional development opportunity.
  4. Hire a current UW MSW student who has been approved for a WDI conditional grant.

How your agency can qualify as a WDI-approved site

If your agency is not on the WDI-approved behavioral health agency list, you may qualify if the following WDI-defined criteria are met. Your agency:

  • Employs master’s-level clinical mental health staff from at least one of the following disciplines: mental health counseling, social work, marriage and family therapy
  • Provides behavioral health services reimbursed by Medicaid.
  • Provides services in a community setting and not an institutional setting such as a hospital or VA medical center.
  • Provides at least one of the following three behavioral health services:
  1. Individual outpatient mental health treatment
  2. Outpatient substance use disorder level I or level II treatment
  3. Rehabilitative case management
  • Does not receive additional, non-Medicaid government funding for reimbursement of behavioral health services, such as funds from a hospital system.