Peer Workforce Development Initiative

Peer Workforce Development Initiative

Pathways Vermont is a leader in the state’s peer workforce movement and is working to greatly improve consistency, infrastructure, communication, and resource sharing among the peer-workforce community. We are dedicated to ensuring that all Vermonters are in a position to lead meaningful lives in their community.

Pathways Vermont was awarded a grant for a Peer Workforce Development Initiative (PWDI) by The Department of Mental Health (DMH) in 2020. The Peer Workforce Development Initiative grant was developed by DMH to help the state build and maintain an infrastructure for a statewide mental health peer workforce. Goals of the initiative include, creating a steering committee, evaluating statewide peer workforce needs, facilitating awareness and participation by providing resources and information to peer support workers, and ensuring the availability of peer support worker training.

“This is a great opportunity to help shift the paradigm around mental health services utilizing the collective voices of Vermonters with shared experiences. We are excited about the possibilities for transformative change by providing empowering connections throughout the statewide peer network.”
– Pathways Vermont Executive Director, Hilary Melton

Upcoming Trainings

The mission of the PWDI includes the facilitation of various statewide peer support work trainings. Pathways Vermont is working to continuously provide peer workers with innovative and evolving opportunities to learn, grow, and share experiences.  Our regular trainings and discussions include, but are not limited to:

  • Intentional Peer Support
  • Mad Movement Histories
  • Harm Reduction Approach to Psychiatric Drugs
  • Harm Reduction
  • Conversations About Suicide
  • Fat Liberation and Health at Every Size
  • Conversations About Oppression and Privilege

Upcoming Trainings

PWDI Resources

Vermont is one of just four states that does not have a statewide mental health peer specialist certification program. This link has resources from recent stakeholder meetings (held between September 2022 and September 2023) which review expert consultant Wilda White’s analysis of US and Canadian efforts to promote and expand mental health peer support worker workforce capacity through a certification program.

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Steering Committee Members

The PWDI Steering Committee is composed of statewide leaders in Vermont’s peer workforce. The committee convenes regularly to oversee peer workforce development and training in Vermont.

Hilary Melton


Dan Towle


Walt Wade

Gloria Van Den berg

Amey Dettmer

Tara Miller

Ken Russell

Will Eberle

Leslie Nelson

Malaika Puffer

Our Trainers

Person with glasses sitting a chair with a shirt that reads "I love people who use drugs"

J Helms

Pathways Vermont

Lindsay Mesa

Pathways Vermont

Alexander Ferguson

Pathways Vermont

Calvin Moen

Western Mass Recovery Learning Community

Rebeka Lawrence-Gomez

Ursa Consulting

Malaika Puffer

Health Care & Rehabilitation Services of Vermont

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