Grant Paves Way for Imperial Valley High School Students to Enter Developmental Health Field

SAN DIEGO, March 10, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Fred Finch Youth & Family Services (FF) announced today that it had received a grant from the Foundation for Developmental Disabilities (FDD) to spearhead a pilot program supporting high school students in Imperial Valley – a highly underserved and underrepresented community. The program model called BEST (Behavior Education and Skills Training), will assist 10 Southwest High School seniors from El Centro, CA who are looking to learn more about careers in behavioral health this summer. 

"We are thrilled to be able to provide this paid pipeline program to these bright future behavior technicians," said Dr. Teresa Chapa, Southern California Regional Vice President at Fred Finch. "While Fred Finch has been working in Imperial County for a number of years and specifically with children with Autism and their families, this program is a new approach to address the ongoing shortage of behavioral health care."

The BEST program will provide participants with training in understanding Autism, Neurodevelopmental disabilities, Applied Behavior Analysis, and basic medical and mental health terminology. To remain culturally responsive to the needs of the community and representative of the population, the program will be delivered in English and Spanish. Participants will receive 64 hours of training over the course of 4 weeks. The training offered will include blended learning, experiential learning, hand-on activities, shadowing of Fred Finch staff.

"This provides the double benefit of supporting students at the beginning of their educational career path as well as providing them with the skills for a real job in the industry right away," said Sitara Sethi, CEO of FDD. "The developmental disability fields are truly impacted right now – and this program is a step in helping ease the pressures in Imperial Valley."

FDD has been working on addressing the impacts of the pandemic, as well as shortages in clinicians through carefully targeted funding with partner agencies with a known track record of success. The Foundation has been raising and distributing funds since 1986, to enhance the quality of life for persons living with developmental disabilities, supporting community integration, and increasing community awareness.

Media Contact:
Marcus Young

SOURCE Fred Finch