Peer Specialist Registered Apprenticeship Program

Peer Specialist Registered Apprenticeship Program

Strengthening the Texas workforce

In April 2023, Via Hope launched the Peer Specialist Registered Apprenticeship Program through the Department of Labor. This initiative is part of a HRSA (Health Services and Resources Administration) BHWET (Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training) grant. By partnering with organizations that wish to become registered apprenticeship sites, this program allows employers to develop and prepare their workforce across multiple industries, while providing a high quality career path for Certified Peer Specialists across Texas.

What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship is an employer-driven model that uses related instruction and on-the-job training to provide apprentices the opportunity to master essential skills and gain knowledge to be proficient in their occupation. Apprenticeship is a flexible training strategy as the program can be customized to meet employer needs. It is referred to as an “earn while you learn” model since apprentices get paid while they learn on the job.

Benefits to employers

Apprenticeship programs help employers:

  • Recruit and develop a highly skilled workforce that helps grow their business
  • Receive tax breaks for qualifying organizations
  • Potentially receive participant salary subsidy through a grant from St. David’s Foundation
  • Increase retention rate
  • Create flexible training options that ensure workers develop the right skills
  • Improve productivity and profitability
  • Demonstrate commitment to employees which improves morale and increases team effectiveness
  • Reward high-performing employees and move them up the career ladder within the organization
  • Identify future leaders and innovators who may already exist within the organization
  • Ensure that employees can keep pace with continuing industry advances
  • Foster improvement throughout the organization by way of a thoughtful review process
  • Gain access to federal and state funding opportunities
Benefits to Certified peer specialists

During this 2,000-hour program, apprentices receive on-the-job training and skills instruction with mentorship by an experienced peer specialist. The benefits offered to apprentices include:

  • Placement at a participating organization for experiential learning
  • Full time employment status
  • A stipend of $7,500 to be disbursed quarterly
  • A wage increase requirement, starting at $22/hour, increasing to $23/hour after 6 months and $24/hour after a year
  • National credential by the U.S. Department of Labor
  • Classroom instruction
  • Enhanced skills relevant to their occupation

For more information, contact [email protected].

Current apprenticeship Sites

Who should apply


For more information, contact Dr. Sandra Smith at [email protected].

Via Hope holds the responsibility of the sponsoring organization for Peer Specialist Registered Apprenticeship sites. 

This initiative is made possible with support from St. David’s Foundation. Funding is provided by HRSA (Health Resource and Services Administration), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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