The Washington House of Representatives passed House Bill 1311 on Friday by Rep. Dan Bronoske to authorize the issuance of substance use disorder professional certifications to persons participating in apprenticeship programs. The bill is the first piece of legislation by the newly elected representative to pass off the House floor.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Washington state was experiencing a shortage of professionals in the behavioral health and substance use disorder workforce. “The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in substance use because of social isolation, loss of work, reduced connections with family and friends. This workforce is needed more than ever,” Bronoske commented in remarks during the virtual floor session.
He continued, “Our vision is that everyone who needs behavioral health services and treatment gets treatment when they need it. They should get the best care from workers who reflect the communities we live in, and with the best possible training.”
Apprenticeships are not new to Washington’s workforce development, but this bill would provide the first opportunity to utilize them to address gaps in the behavioral health workforce.
The bill now goes to the state Senate for consideration.