Intern Layoff Action Alert (note from APAGS)

Intern Layoff Action Alert

Action Alert – Help Urgently Needed for New York Psychology Interns

Dear APAGS Members and Allies of Psychology Graduate Students,

You may have heard by now about the serious internship funding situation in New York. Governor Cuomo’s administration has sent termination notices to over 3000 temporary and contract positions in state psychiatric facilities. Included in this cut are 22 psychology interns at five facilities, who are pursuing their doctoral internships required for graduation. These internships constitute formal agreements between the NY state facilities and doctoral programs from across the country. The affected interns were informed of this pending action on September 28, 2011, and the termination date is October 19. As you can imagine, this is devastating to the psychology graduate students affected. This could potentially delay their graduation by 2 years, as it is effectively too late to apply for an internship for next year’s cycle.

APA/APAGS is very concerned about this issue. The following actions have occurred since learning about this issue:

The attached letter has been sent from Dr. Melba Vasquez, APA President, and Dr. Norman Anderson, APA CEO, directly to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo regarding the serious impact that these terminated contracts would have on the education and training of these 22 students, and encouraging an alternative solution.  APA forwarded this letter to the Governor’s key cabinet officials and to senior staff in the Office of Mental Health.

APA has been in close contact with the New York State Psychological Association (NYSPA), which in turn has been working with  the New York State Union of Teachers to identify and advocate for a fair resolution for the psychology interns affected.

In addition, the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) has been advocating on behalf of the affected students. They have also sent a letter directly to the Governor and his senior staff and have been coordinating efforts with NYSPA and APA.

Action Alert for New York Residents

APA is now preparing an action alert for New York state residents to contact the Governor’s office  to advocate for a fair resolution of this matter. As APAGS members, psychology graduate students, or allies of psychology graduate students, we are asking you to send a message to the Governor’s office. To participate in this action alert do the following:

1)      Click on the following link http://www.governor.ny.gov/contact/GovernorContactForm.php. You will be taken to a page on the  NY Governor’s website.

2)      Enter your contact information.

3)      For the Subject, please enter “Psychology Intern Contracts.”

4)      For the Topic, select “The Economic Crisis” from the drop-down menu.

5)      For the actual message, please cut and paste the following statement:

I am writing to urge you to take whatever steps are needed to safeguard 22 psychology doctoral student interns from the pending layoffs to enable them to continue to pursue their professional training. These interns entered into contracts with NYS psychiatric centers (as part of formal agreements with doctoral programs from across the country) for a one-year term during which they are to receive training while providing mental health services. Were their contracts to be terminated, these interns would suffer serious disruption to their careers. They would need to wait a year until they could even apply for a new internship placement and would be unable to complete their university degree requirements without this internship experience. The State of New York would suffer as well — underserved populations would receive less needed services, and a critical source of future state mental health employees would be lost.  Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

6)      Answer a variable verification question (e.g., Is water wet? What season starts with F?)

7)      When ready, click send, and the message will be delivered electronically to the Governor’s office in New York.

This type of advocacy can take literally one minute. Grassroots advocacy such as this is sometimes necessary to successfully advocate for our profession.

APA remains concerned about the internship imbalance. APA will continue to advocate for ongoing federal support for the Graduate Psychology Education program, which funds internship and postdoctoral training in psychology, and other federal training support (see APA’s Education Advocacy site http://www.apa.org/about/gr/education/index.aspx). For more information about APA’s efforts in advocacy for internships, please go to the following link: http://www.apa.org/apags/resources/appic-2011.aspx

Please forward this message widely. Even if you are not a New York resident, please forward it to places where there may be New York residents or allies who are New York residents who may be able to send this message to support our affected intern colleagues.

Sincerely,

Nabil Hassan El-Ghoroury, Ph.D.
Associate Executive Director
American Psychological Association of Graduate Students

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