Program Spotlight: Pathways

Mar 27, 2024

On Thursday, March 14th, the latest cohort of trainees celebrated their graduation from the Pathways program. Throughout the last nine months, the cohort of eight engaged in six weeks of intensive training and program shadowing and about seven months of paid field experience as a float mental health practitioner in People Incorporated’s programs. With their program completion, Grace, Mason, Audrey, Madalyn, Satchel, Andrea, Kaitlyn, and Dezzy joined the 65 total Pathways graduates to-date. This is the largest graduating cohort in Pathways history, and seven of the eight individuals are staying on to work full-time at People Incorporated.

“I’ve learned that I love crisis,” said Satchel, who will be moving into a full-time role at Nancy Page, one of People Incorporated’s hybrid crisis and intensive residential treatment services (IRTS) programs. “I was worried about whether or not I’d like it, but I’ve learned that I adapt well to it and enjoy working with people in crisis. I like helping them gain the tools and the ability to eventually help themselves.”

The other six trainees staying with People Incorporated will continue to work in the float pool, moving between programs and serving where needed. This is the 13th Pathways graduation since the program inception, which has a 94 percent completion rate. Of all-time program graduates, 65 percent have remained at People Incorporated to continue their careers, including one graduate from Pathways’ first-ever cohort. Both the completion and retention rates speak to the incredible bond trainees develop with the Pathways program leaders, with People Incorporated staff, and with each other throughout the course of the program.

“I don’t think I would’ve lasted this long if I didn’t have my cohort with me,” said graduate Andrea in a speech during the graduation ceremony. “They are always supportive. Teamwork is essential in this work, and I’ve been able to collaborate with People Incorporated staff, too. I’m so grateful for everyone I’ve met.”

The mission of the Pathways program is to create low-barrier access points for aspiring mental health professionals from under-represented cultures. The training, skill-building, and paid work experience Pathways offers creates a unique entry point into a field that is consistently understaffed, especially by individuals that reflect the diverse identities of the clients needing to be served.

The newest group of graduates exemplify the humility and selflessness needed to make an impact in the mental health field.

“You gain this sense of gratitude and understand how privileged you are in some ways, because in different circumstances, you could be in the client’s position,” said Satchel. “There may be differences in our experiences, but there are so many commonalities as well.”

Pathways continues to be an invaluable pipeline for training the next generation of mental health professionals. To ensure this program maintains its momentous and important growth, consider making a gift to Pathways today through the Give page on our website.