Monica Shaw, MFT graduate student

Oregon Tech's Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (MS ABA) and Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy (MS MFT) programs have been awarded a $623,700 grant by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to help alleviate the behavioral healthcare workforce crisis in Oregon. The funding provides tuition assistance and stipends for current and incoming graduate students who commit to working in Oregon after graduation, and seeks to diversify the workforce and enhance recruitment, retention, and capacity of culturally responsive, specific, and rural behavioral healthcare workers.

According to OHA, the shortage of qualified behavioral healthcare workers impacts communities across Oregon because the existing workforce cannot meet increasing demand. Underserved communities, including communities of color, tribal communities, and rural areas, face additional challenges due to the lack of culturally specific and responsive services.

The grant is currently supporting seven ABA students and 16 MFT students with tuition assistance and stipends.

“Oregon Tech is committed to increasing diversity in the behavioral health workforce,” said Humanities and Social Sciences Department Chair Maria Lynn Kessler, Ph.D. “From the start, our ABA and MFT programs have been built on responding to growing needs in the field, and we continually evaluate and enhance our training to respond to the changing behavioral health environment.”

Monica Shaw is an MFT graduate student and fund recipient at Oregon Tech. Following graduation, she plans to work with underserved communities in Oregon. “The OHA tuition grant is helping me achieve my lifelong goal of attending grad school,” said Shaw. “With my Marriage and Family Therapy degree, I hope to work with Indigenous families and youth in Oregon.”

Dawn Bailey ABA Clinic 2023
Dr. Dawn Bailey, ABA Clinical Director

Oregon Tech’s MFT is a full-time mental health graduate program that specializes in systems, families, and relationships. With a focus on addressing unique challenges in rural areas, the program trains marriage and family therapists to approach assessment, diagnosis, and treatment from a relational and systemic perspective.

"There is typically a long waiting list in rural Oregon for those who need behavioral health services to get the treatment they so desperately need,” said Kevin Garrett, Ph.D., MFT Program and Clinical Director. “Oregon Tech graduates help fill the growing demand for qualified behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment professionals in Oregon.”

Oregon Tech's ABA program offers a rigorous curriculum that prepares students to apply behavior analysis principles across diverse populations and settings. The program includes practical experience opportunities, such as working in the BIG ABA clinic in Klamath Falls under the supervision of Dawn Bailey, Ph.D.

“Oregon Tech has the only ABA clinic within 75 miles of Klamath Falls, filling a gap in behavioral healthcare for the community,” said Dr. Bailey. “The clinic provides high-quality training and supervision for Oregon Tech students, preparing them for employment, certification, and/or on a path to licensure upon graduation while simultaneously providing much-needed evidence-based services to the local community.”

Individuals interested in more information or applying for Oregon Tech’s ABA or MFT program can contact Dr. Kessler at