County of Marin - News Releases - Workforce Development

For Immediate Release
February 24, 2016

Marin Invests in Workforce Development

Scholarships awarded to recipients from culturally diverse backgrounds

San Rafael, CA – With the help of state-funded scholarships, a culturally diverse group of 21 Marin residents has completed a vocational education program in drug and alcohol, domestic violence or mental health peer counseling programs and are on their way toward professional careers.

A view of the Marin Health and Wellness Center, with the sign in the foreground and building in the background.Marin HHS is helping bring consumers of the behavioral health care system into its workforce with 'lived experiences.'
All the graduates are current or former consumers (or family members) of the county’s behavioral health care system and will bring unique expertise of “lived experiences” to this growing industry.

Marin County’s Mental Health and Substance Use Services Division (MHSUS) will host a public award ceremony February 29 for the recent graduates, who received scholarships through the state’s Mental Health Services Act.

Most of the graduates will be placed as volunteers and interns in several of the county-funded mental health and substance use service organizations in pursuit of gainful employment. Currently employed participants will become eligible for wage or salary increases in their respective places of employment.

“I am impressed by the interest, enthusiasm and commitment demonstrated by the recent graduates,” said Suzanne Tavano, Director of Marin MHSUS. “They will bring important and unique perspectives to our service delivery system. Many come from diverse and traditionally under-served communities, and all want to give back to their community.”

MHSUS’s vision for the program is to promote the unique perspectives of consumers and their family members as professionals in the County’s behavioral health care workforce and to utilize their talents to work with a culturally diverse consumer population that are often hard-to-reach or underserved. Additionally, the scholarship program provides employment opportunities for county residents to work in their local communities as “help agents” to the most vulnerable members of the county.

“It is very exciting to see so many of our community residents take advantage of this opportunity to advance their own careers with an intention of bringing their knowledge and skills back to the communities where they live,” said D.J. Pierce, Director of Substance Use Services.

The graduation celebration is Monday, February 29, from 4-6 p.m. at the Marin County Civic Center’s Board of Supervisors chamber, Suite 330, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael.

In March, a new set of students will begin the same vocational path that the graduating students have taken. Mentors will be available from this graduating class to provide support and encouragement.

All public meetings and events sponsored or conducted by the County of Marin are held at accessible sites. If you are a person with a disability and require information or materials in alternative formats – or if you require accommodation to participate in a county program, service or activity – please contact department staff at (415) 473-7331 or (415) 473-4381 (voice/TTY) or e-mail


Cesar Lagleva
Program Manager
Mental Health and Substance Use Services, Department of Health and Human Services

20 North San Pedro Road
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 846-3789
(415) 473-3166 F
(415) 473-3232 TTY
Email: Cesar Lagleva
Marin HHS webpage