Elgin, Ill., — Elgin Community College is among a select few Illinois colleges to be awarded a state grant by the Illinois Department of Human Services to support a new program for Certified Recovery Support Specialists (CRSS) and Certified Peer Recovery Specialists (CPRS). The program will begin accepting applications this spring, with classes launching in fall 2022. ECC is one of only 11 colleges in Illinois approved to provide this unique program opportunity for individuals who want to pursue a career in human services and have lived experience of recovery from mental health or substance use challenges, or both.
The program will have in-person and remote learning options for more than 100 students and will cover the cost of tuition, fees, and books, as well as other wraparound services, including childcare and transportation, to promote student success. The CRSS/CPRS program will provide the training necessary for individuals to qualify to take the certification exam required by the State of Illinois. Although anyone may take these courses, the only individuals eligible to become a CRSS or CPRS are individuals with personal lived experience in recovery.
"ECC will be the only community college in Kane, McHenry, DeKalb, and Winnebago counties with a Human Services program that provides a pipeline for students in this critical profession," said Peggy Heinrich, EdD, vice president of teaching, learning, and student development. "The experience and expertise already established by ECC in the area of Human Services make us ready to lead the way in developing this growing profession for uniquely qualified individuals who can fill a vital need in mental health and substance use treatment and recovery services."
Individuals with either of these certifications will work as recovery support specialists in various mental health and substance use treatment and recovery settings. Recovery support specialists will work with people in recovery in three core areas: advocacy and aiding persons in recovery with personal advocacy skills, mentoring people in recovery, and recovery/wellness support.
This program is for people entering the field and those already working in substance use or mental health fields who wish to transition from their current role, either clinical or administrative, to working as a recovery support specialist.
For more information on ECC's Recovery Support Specialist program, visit elgin.edu/academics/departments/recovery-support-specialist/.