Psychiatric Tech Program receives state funds after two-year wait

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Delta’s Psychiatric Technician Program was awarded $1.3 million in funds by the state of California.

In 2008, the state proposed a prison hospital in Stockton. Now expected to open in 2013, the money comes from a contract between Delta College and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to train future San Joaquin County psych techs.

The two-year time gap between initial plans and resources becoming available was the result of a lawsuit by city of Stockton, San Joaquin County, and the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department over a lack of acknowledgment and support given by the state to the local community.

Delta College, which was not involved in the lawsuit, had to wait until a settlement was reached in August 2010 in order to begin talks for funding.

The school received approval from the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians to increase the programs admission numbers on Dec. 2, the day after the contract was signed.

“We went right down to the deadline to make sure this program started,” said Dean of Workforce and Economic Development for Delta Dr. Hazel Hill.

As one of 11 Psychiatric Technician programs in the state, Delta is expected to train 270 technicians with the newly received financial resources.

The money will be awarded in monthly allowances of just over $37,000 in a three-year span.

“It’s a great opportunity to show that we’ve got funding now that we need to use efficiently and effectively,” said Hill. “There’s too many times when we get funding and the funding goes away…and you never know we had it. I want this to leave a very positive mark.”

Currently the schools program has 40 tech students enrolled for the year 2011.

This number is expected to almost double in the 2012 year as a result of the expanding resources and support the funding allows.

Students who are chosen for the program based on such requirements as prerequisites and grade-point average are then placed in a 46 week, five-day a week curriculum.

Adjunct Associate Professor of the psychiatric program John Schaeffer estimates to be 18 months of studies, the technician training can act for many as the title stepping stone for other career endeavors ranging from nursing to psychology.