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Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Launches New Career Accelerator Program


ASCEND Program Represents Multimillion-dollar Investment in Talent; Offers Personalized Career Coaching, Mentorship/Development and Tuition Assistance

  • Offers nearly $16 million in tuition and financial assistance over the next five years
  • Creates clear and accessible career paths into higher-level roles
  • Connects team members with Devereux’s national network of experts for mentorship and training
  • Strengthens Devereux’s talent pipeline to ensure future capacity for key services

Villanova, PA – May 1, 2023 – Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health, one of the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit providers of behavioral healthcare, today announced the launch of its new ASCEND Career Accelerator program to help advance the careers and support the vocations of its nearly 6,500 dedicated team members across the U.S.

The program represents a total investment of nearly $16 million by Devereux over the next five years to strengthen its talent pipeline, amid the industry’s perfect storm of historic staffing shortages and surging demand for quality behavioral healthcare.

“Devereux ASCEND is game changer for the thousands of talented, caring people out there looking to build long and fulfilling careers in the field of behavioral health, as well as for our dedicated team members who want to further their careers,” said Devereux President and CEO Carl E. Clark II. “This program significantly expands our commitment to helping employees at all levels of our organization reach their professional goals, hone their strengths and skills, and make an even greater impact for the individuals and families we are privileged to serve.”

In developing the program, Devereux analyzed key trends in the evolving wants and needs of the modern worker/employee. As a result, ASCEND’s four, integrated program categories address the full spectrum of guidance and assistance that employees desire. These categories include:

  • multi-track career path and advancement opportunities;
  • financial support for tuition and education costs;
  • personalized career coaching;
  • dedicated mentoring and professional development.

A key component of Devereux ASCEND is direct pay and reimbursement for tuition and education costs. Under the program, full-time team members in career-aligned tracks will receive 100% of tuition, fees and textbook costs – up to $15,000 for undergraduate classes and $25,000 for graduate-level classes on an annual basis. Student loan repayment will also be offered up to $200 per pay period for eligible full-time team members, and up to $100 per pay for part-time staff and utilizing the national Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program where applicable.

“We hope this inspires others in our industry to follow our lead in supporting and guiding those who work at the heart of compassionate care,” said Devereux Senior Vice President of People Operations Mike Ernst. “We want all of our team members to know they are valued, and that we are invested in their futures, so they can achieve their professional development goals and grow their careers at Devereux. We also understand the impact of this program extends beyond our team members to their families, because we are working to create equitable access to education and career advancement opportunities.”

The ASCEND program builds on Devereux’s long-standing commitment to enrich and empower its employees. Key benefit areas include:

  1. Multi-track career advancement
    To expand the options and advancement opportunities for all team members, ASCEND offers a variety of enriching career tracks for all behavioral health professionals and support positions. The multi-track career pathways provide a clear roadmap for advancement opportunities at every level of the organization and at every career stage. The six career tracks include:
    • Clinical: Clinician, Registered Behavior Technicians/Board Certified Behavior Analysts, etc.
    • Operational management: Supervisors, managers, directors, etc.
    • Medical: Nurses, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, etc.
    • Education: Teacher assistants, teachers, principals, etc.
    • Direct care: Direct care professionals/direct support professionals, leads, etc.
    • Administration: Administrative and support roles, etc.

  2. Financial Education Resources
    Financial support to ease the burden of student loans and continuing education is a critical issue for healthcare workers. Under Devereux ASCEND, full-time employees in career-aligned tracks will receive 100% of tuition, fees and textbook costs, up to $15,000 for undergraduate classes, and $25,000 for graduate-level classes on an annual basis. In addition, part-time employees will receive up to 50% of the full-time member benefits.

    To address the growing burden of student loan debt, Devereux will offer student loan repayment benefits up to $200 per pay period for eligible full-time team members, and up to $100 per pay for part-time employees and utilizing the national Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program where applicable. The benefit requires a service agreement of 24 months.

  3. Personalized Career Coaching
    Career coaching and guidance is an important part of Devereux ASCEND. To help clarify an employee’s career goals, while navigating the broad array of learning programs and education resource options, Devereux team members will be matched with a dedicated Career Coach within 30 days of hire. Through regular check-ins, our coaches will help participating employees build a personalized career plan that best matches their unique skills, interests and opportunities at each stage of their career to ensure they are fulfilled and supported.

  4. Dedicated Mentoring and Skill Development
    To make professional development and skill-building easier and more rewarding, the program includes a variety of custom education and professional development pathways. Team members will be paired with dedicated mentors and coaches to help guide them through individualized learning journeys, training and certifications, learning cohorts and Servant Leadership development. These learning opportunities will be offered through a variety of modalities, and will be led by Devereux’s national network of subject matter experts to help team members reach their full potential.

Addressing the Healthcare Staffing Crisis

With its unpresented investment in ASCEND, Devereux is taking the lead in addressing the behavioral healthcare industry’s historic staffing challenges. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects healthcare employment to grow 16% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding an estimated 2.6 million new jobs in the next 10 years.

In the behavioral health industry, the shortage of healthcare workers is reaching a breaking point. By the end of 2025, U.S. demand for direct care professionals (DCPs) is expected to exceed 4.5M while the projected availability of DCPs will fall somewhere shy of one million1. The Economic Institute projects a 200K shortfall of teachers by the same year, while the American Psychological Association predicts a 100K shortage of clinicians by 2030.

About Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit organizations, providing services, insight and leadership in the evolving field of behavioral healthcare. Founded in 1912, Devereux operates a comprehensive national network of clinical, therapeutic, educational and employment programs that positively impact the lives of tens of thousands of children, adults – and their families – every year. The organization’s unique approach combines evidence-based interventions with compassionate family engagement.

With nearly 6,500 employees working in programs across the country, Devereux is a trusted partner for families, schools and communities, serving many of our country’s most vulnerable populations in the areas of autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, specialty mental health, education and foster care. For more than a century, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health has been guided by a simple and enduring mission: To change lives by unlocking and nurturing human potential for people living with emotional, behavioral and cognitive differences. www.devereux.org.



1 Behavioral Health Workforce Report, SAMSHA 2021


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