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Chemical dependency credential to empower professionals


Responding to the chemical dependency crisis, Pennsylvania College of Technology is offering an online credential that will educate and empower professionals to make transformative change in their workplaces and communities.

The chemical dependency credential will enhance the skills of professionals working in fields such as health care, human services, law enforcement and education, and will also support the private sector, where employers are finding an increasing need to identify workers who might be struggling with chemical dependency.

Providing a comprehensive understanding of the scientific causes of addiction, prevention strategies, intervention opportunities and treatment options, the 12-credit credential is accepting students for the Fall 2019 semester. Consisting of four eight-week classes, the coursework can be completed in two semesters.

Through a collaboration with the Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation, health care professionals are being identified to benefit from the credential. That training will be sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Demonstration Grant, developed to address the economic and workplace impacts of the opioid crisis.

“Every day in Pennsylvania, 15 people die from a drug overdose,” said state Sen. Gene Yaw, who also serves as chairman of the Penn College Board of Directors. “Across the U.S., 170 people are dying every day from a drug overdose. This is clearly the greatest public health crisis we face today. No one law or program will solve the problem; but, like weaving a rope, each strand represents one measure to fight the epidemic. Alone, they might not be fully effective, but together they can strengthen the rope and our collective efforts.

“With health care programs being a major part of Penn College’s curriculum, I am happy to see the college use its resources to address this national problem.”

The professional credential aligns the expertise of Penn College’s School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications and School of Nursing & Health Sciences. College faculty will deliver the online coursework.

“Using local, regional and national resources, Penn College is dedicated to bringing together our collective efforts to change the course for those who have been touched by the heartbreak of substance use disorder – because that includes each and every one of us,” said Jane E. Grages, associate professor of nursing, who is among the educators teaching the timely credential. “The consequences of substance abuse have reached epidemic proportions. The complexity of the problem is explored in this series of courses using the most current scientific, sociological and human perspectives.”

From awareness and prevention to treatment and advocacy, students enrolled in the chemical dependency credential will learn the health, social, political and systemic aspects of drug use and addiction. Courses will focus on ways to implement effective prevention strategies, identify signs of chemical dependency, understand current treatment options and advocate for social policy changes.

“The most effective strategy for addressing substance use and abuse is through the mobilization of local citizens,” said Elizabeth E. Winder, assistant professor of human services and another educator engaged in delivering the credential’s coursework. “Local citizens serve as experts of their communities because they retain a strong understanding of regional assets and potential barriers to change. Penn College understands the powerful role that local people play in addressing the current opioid and subsequent heroin epidemics.”

For more information about the chemical dependency competency credential, call the School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications at 570-327-4521.

For more about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free at 800-367-9222.

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