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Whitmer Signs Student Mental Health Apprenticeship Retention and Training Program Bill

July 27, 2022

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed Michigan Senate Bill 1012 into law. The legislation provides for the creation of a Student Mental Health Apprenticeship Retention and Training grant program (SMART), paying graduate social work students $25 an hour for their field education in public schools settings.  The legislation was supported by The School’s Joint Task Force on Stipends and the social work student campaign Payments for Placements in partnership with the Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Social Work.  

"As this legislation demonstrates, paid fieldwork is a win-win. The SMART internship program will improve public school children's access to mental health resources, on top of making an MSW education more affordable for hundreds of students,” said Payments for Placement co-chair and MSW student Arie Davey. “We're happy to have worked with the SSW and the NASW-MI on this advocacy effort. We look forward to working with them on securing further public investments in students, service providers, and clients."

“This legislation will play a major role in both offsetting costs for social work students and in encouraging our students to pursue a future career as a school social worker,” said Professor Joseph Himle, who served as chair of the joint task force. “Social workers are making large contributions in schools across the nation and their services are particularly important given the challenges that youth have faced in recent years. I applaud the efforts of our students, faculty and staff who contributed a substantial amount of time and energy advocating for this exciting legislative achievement!”

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