Behavioral health career fair has special focus on recruiting persons in recovery

Last month I published an article talking about how moving to a recovery-oriented approach to substance abuse can also be a form of economic development.  In particular, I posited that employers implementing hiring programs for people in recovery would be one such strategy.  A growing field that could greatly benefit from recruiting new, young energy is the behavioral health field, which includes addressing substance use and mental health.  Coming up on December 4th, my organization, AdCare Educational Institute of Maine, Inc. will co-host a special Behavioral Health Education and Career Fair.  The career fair includes a special focus on recruiting young people and young people in recovery.

This half-day education and career fair showcasing the wide range of behavioral health professions and academic programs available in Maine will be co-hosted by the University of Southern Maine, AdCare Educational Institute and Maine’s Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services.

The December 4 event at USMs Wishcamper Center will begin with an opening panel of Maine experts discussing current behavioral health trends, opportunities for education, training and career paths in the state.

Breakout conversations after the opening panel will feature a diverse group of professionals working across the spectrum in behavioral healthcare.

Attendees will hear from and interact with college and university faculty and staff, clinicians, social workers, case workers, prevention professionals, social service organizations and persons in recovery from substance use and mental health disorders working in the behavioral health field.

“Behavioral health workers play a crucial role in supporting Maine citizens struggling with mental health disorders and substance use,” says USM President Glenn Cummings. “This event is so important to recruiting our next crop of professionals in this essential field.”

The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor and Statistic, projects a 31% growth in this field between 2012-2020. Current high school, college or graduate students, recent graduates and those looking to re-enter the workforce are all encouraged to attend this one-of-a-kind career fair

Persons in recovery from substance use or mental health disorders are particularly encouraged to attend. “Having a past, doesn’t preclude you from having a future”, says Andrew Kiezulas, founder of Maine’s first chapter of Young People in Recovery, and a person in long term recovery. “One of the best ways to break the stigma associated with substance use disorder is to show the world who we are and what we are capable of.”

Every segment of the population will at some point have a need for behavioral health supports. Educational programs are available at almost every college or university in Maine. Careers opportunities run the gamut from working in law enforcement, government, hospitals, or clinics to working in communities, non-profits or in people’s homes.

Behavioral health career paths include supporting the health and wellness of Maine’s older population. With more Mainers reaching retirement age this education and career fair is another great example of professionals coming together to proactively build up the support network for our changing demographic.  At the other end of the spectrum, careers in prevention include public health coalitions that focus on the prevention of substance use amongst youth.  The career fair will include representatives addressing these different portions of the lifespan.

Presenters from Day One, Wellspring, University Maine Systems, Young People in Recovery, University of New England, Preble Street, The Family Restored, the City of Portland, and more will be available to speak with interested persons about their work in this important field.

The behavioral health education and career fair will take place Friday, December 4 from 4-8pm in the Wishcamper Center at the University of Southern Maine. All are invited, though attendees are encouraged to register by contacting Lorana Laliberte at AdCare Educational Institute of Maine, Inc.  She can be reached at (207) 626-3615 or by sending an e-mail to

written in cooperation with Anna Black.

Scott M. Gagnon, MPP, PS-C

About Scott M. Gagnon, MPP, PS-C

Scott M. Gagnon, MPP, PS-C is a Certified Prevention Specialist and is the Director of Operations at AdCare Educational Institute of Maine, Inc. He currently serves on the Maine Substance Abuse Services Commission as well as the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention National Advisory Council. Scott volunteers as the Chair of the marijuana policy education and advocacy group, Smart Approaches to Marijuana Maine and is the current Board President of the Maine Council on Problem Gambling. Scott also serves as a Co-chair of the Prevention & Harm Reduction task force of the Maine Opiate Collaborative, the effort convened by U.S. Attorney Thomas E Delahanty, II to address Maine's growing opiate and addiction crisis. Scott is the recipient of the 2015 Maine Public Health Association's Ruth S. Shaper Memorial Award and 2015 Healthy Androscoggin Will Bartlett Award and is also the 2013 recipient of the Maine Alliance to Prevent Substance Abuse Prevention Award.