Jump Start Fellowship Program

MHALA's Jump Start Fellowship Program is an innovative 12-week program for those who want to work in the public adult mental health field.

A partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, Jump Start helps to build a diversified workforce in the mental health field. Each graduate earns a certificate as a Mental Health Recovery Specialist.

Offered in the spring and the fall in Long Beach and Antelope Valley, Jump Start combines classroom learning with applied internships. In week three, participants are matched with an internship so they can put learned skills to practice. By the end of the program, they will have completed 180 classroom hours and 240 internship hours.

Program Benefits

We prepare participants to have a competitive edge when seeking employment in the community mental health field. Jump Start fellows:

• Participate in leading-edge training that prepares them for work in an evolving mental health field
• Intern with potential employers
• Learn directly from recognized leaders in the mental health field
• Receive a stipend of $250 per week and $500 upon completion
• Enhance their resume
• Earn a certificate as Mental Health Recovery Specialists

The program is offered at no cost to participants. We cover program materials.

While we do not provide job placement, we offer tremendous support in helping participants gain employment. Jump Start is designed to prepare participants for entry-level positions in the public mental health field. We are looking for individuals who are motivated to start work at the end of the program.

Field Training and Internship Sites

Jump Start partners with various service sites within MHALA to provide essential field training to its participants. Through their internships, Jump Start Fellows gain practical experience working with people who have mental health needs, observe the changing culture of mental health services, and apply the training they learn in class.

Participants are matched with an MHALA internship site based on geography (Long Beach or Antelope Valley), personal factors (i.e., willingness to use a car), and expressed interest in a population. The goal is for participants to get as close to the experience of working in the field as possible.

All internship sites are with an adult population (over 18). Placements span a variety of work environments, including homeless services, employment services, full-service partnership programs, wellness centers, and other settings.


We are looking for participants who represent a broad range of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Graduates (with a bachelor's degree or higher in any field) of all ages, interests, and work experience are encouraged to apply, but a college degree is not required.

The ideal participant has motivation to work, commitment to social justice, and wants to make a difference in other people's lives.

Individuals who have a lived mental health experience — or have a family member who does — are encouraged to apply.

For more information, call 562-999-6964 or email us at training@mhala.org.

LA County Department of Mental Health logo.