District 540 Board of Trustees has approved the adoption of a 7
credit-hour Peer Recovery Support Specialist microcertificate
program. The new certificate programs will allow students to advance
into the workplace directly from Heartland.
The program is being developed in collaboration with Chestnut Health
Systems in response to a projected need for certification programs
in substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health. Peer
recovery programs are becoming more widely adopted in the U.S.,
following the recommendations of the President’s New Freedom
Commission on Mental Health, published in July 2003. Job growth is
promising as Illinois is one of several states working to establish
guidelines for education and certification.
“This Peer Recovery Support Specialist program of study is another
example of how Heartland is looking to meet the workforce needs of
our community with short-term certification programs,” said Dr. Rick
Pearce, Heartland Community College Provost and VP of Academic
Affairs. “This will be the first certified peer recovery support
program offered at a college or university in Illinois. Students who
earn this certification will have the skills to become a vital part
of the area’s mental health support system.”
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Through a combination of experience and professional training,
students will learn how to facilitate recovery, build resilience of persons in
recovery, and construct criteria to guide ethical decision-making. Upon
completion, students will demonstrate competency in mentoring and education,
professional responsibility, advocacy domain and recovery/wellness skills.
The first cohort of the program will focus on substance abuse recovery.
Subsequent cohorts will be trained in substance abuse, behavioral health, and
mental health support.
The District 540 Board of Trustees approved the adoption of the program at their
November 17, 2020 meeting. The next step in the process of program development
is Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) approval. Heartland is targeting the
Fall 2021 semester for the first cohort of students in the program.
Director, Public Information
Heartland Community College]