Project Build Up logo

Project Build Up – Building the Workforce to Address Problem Gambling

Status: Current
Year: 2019
Location: Massachusetts
Client: Government organizations
Services Provided: Training and Technical Assistance, Community Health Grantmaking
Technical Expertise: Mental & Behavioral Health

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health Office of Problem Gambling Services (OPGS) contracted with HRiA to develop and implement a new initiative. This initiative—Project Build Up—was designed to strengthen the capacity of the workforce in outpatient substance use and gambling treatment agencies to provide or promote gambling treatment services, with an emphasis on addressing the disproportionate impact of problem gambling on communities of color.

Under Project Build UP, HRiA provides the following services:

  • Manage and distribute grant funding to outpatient substance use and gambling treatment agencies to support workforce development, staff recruitment and retention, and/or marketing strategies designed to support and promote problem gambling treatment.
  • Provide technical assistance to support staff recruitment and retention planning, and/or marketing strategies designed to support and promote problem gambling treatment.


During the pilot phase of the project (April-June 2019), Project Build Up provided grants to several outpatient problem gambling treatment sites. The funds were used by the sites to:

  • Obtain Massachusetts Program Gambling Specialists certificates,
  • Cover training expenses for clinical staff, and
  • Reproduce a workbook to support individual and group counseling for problem gamblers.

Additionally, HRiA provided support to one site by developing marketing materials in English and Spanish to promote problem gambling services.

As a result of Project Build Up grants, sites increased the capacity of their staff to provide problem gambling treatment services and conduct outreach to referral sources in universities, treatment programs, public housing, and criminal justice agencies to educate their clients and residents about the availability of services.

To further inform the development of this initiative, HRiA recently conducted an assessment of outpatient treatment agencies to better understand the range of problem gambling treatment capacity, referral rates, and training needs across the Commonwealth. These findings have guided Project Build Up’s activities for the upcoming year.

Building on the success of the pilot stage, the grant program was expanded to reach all Massachusetts Department of Public Health-funded outpatient problem gambling treatment programs across Commonwealth.

New communication materials to promote problem gambling treatment programs were developed, along with guidance for their use. Materials developed include key messaging, suggested copy and images for program websites, blogs, newsletters, and social media, and a postcard available in multiple languages. Materials and guidance available here.

Related services and programs

HRiA also operates the Massachusetts Helpline and leads a number of other projects focused on substance use and behavioral health.

Read more about our areas of technical expertise here.