Building the Field: Supporting Enhanced Training Opportunities for Recovery Coaches

Navigating the health care system can be complex and confusing, but for those experiencing substance use disorder (SUD), these challenges can become significant barriers to care. Behavioral health services and addiction treatment options are often delivered by programs that are organizationally, geographically, culturally, and financially disconnected from the general healthcare delivery system. As a result, four out of five people who need substance use treatment do not receive it.

To eliminate barriers and to ensure that people receive the type of care and support they need, it is critical that we work to expand and bolster the addiction treatment workforce. Recovery coaches, who bring lived experience with substance use and recovery, can help people navigate these systems and ensure they have access to care options that best meet their needs.

In 2022, RIZE awarded one-time grants for training opportunities that provide recovery coaches with concrete tools and strategies to become effective recovery coach supervisors and to improve their ability to support people with co-occurring disorders. RIZE awarded grants within the following tracks: Upskilling into supervisory roles and Improving support for people with co-occurring disorder:

Choice Recovery Coaching will utilize this funding to support the expansion of the peer recovery coach workforce within Massachusetts. The funding will specifically support the facilitation of “Coaching Recovery and Mental Wellness” to train recovery coaches in supporting individuals with co-occurring disorders like SUD and mental illness.

Torchlight Recovery will utilize this funding to develop culturally responsive training programs and emphasize upskilling so recovery coaches can transition into leadership and supervisory roles. Coaches will receive unconscious bias training, learn strategies to foster inclusion, and use mindful inquiry to reduce bias.

In 2023, RIZE awarded four one-year Building the Field grants of $10,000 each to the following organizations:

Center for Health Impact will utilize this funding to support recovery coaches with specialized training in Mental Health First Aid and Motivational Interviewing for Co-occurring Disorders (COD). These trainings are designed to enhance non-clinical recovery coach practice and the recovery coach role in the inter-disciplinary team by strengthening the understanding and confidence to support engagement and integrated symptom management for people with COD.

Malden Overcoming Addiction, Inc. will utilize this funding to offer training opportunities for recovery coaches to advance into supervisory roles and cross-train in substance use and mental health recovery. Malden Overcoming Addiction will implement a salary structure to compensate recovery coaches appropriately, based on their level of training, as they transition into supervisory roles.

North Suffolk Community Services will utilize this funding to host a four-day Advanced Recovery Coach Training that will allow coaches to expand upon they key characteristics of a recovery coach thus preparing coaches to take the next step in their career and help advance the peer workforce. Funding will also support training on a peer recovery support platform that will provide coaches will additional marketable skills needed to step into supervisory roles.

Western Massachusetts Training Consortium will utilize this funding to support four recovery coaches in completing requirements to achieve their Certified Addictions Recovery Coach (CARC) certification from the state of Massachusetts while they also receive additional trainings necessary to upskill into supervisory roles: Coaching Mental Wellness and Applied Coaching and Supervision. Throughout the trainings, the coaches are offered intensive support and supervision to prepare them for supervisory roles upon completion of the required trainings. This training will help meet a critical need for recovery coach supervisors in rural areas, and thus increase the capacity to train additional certified recovery coaches.