Mesabi Range swept by Vikings

VIRGINIA — Mesabi Range College was awarded a $494,671 grant by the Minnesota Department of Human Services to prepare students for a career as a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC). The grant is in response to the need for additional substance abuse treatment services throughout the state.

“I have realistic ideas about solving the substance use problems in our region,” said Mary Kay Riendeau, the Addiction Studies/Human Services Department Head, in a press release from the college. “Along with my colleagues, our passion is to educate as many people as we can in a genuine view of substance use.”

The LADC program has been offered at Mesabi Range College for more than 25 years. Over the years, the program has been adjusted to meet evolving needs of the students and the field.

“Being able to use technology such as webcams and ITV, makes it possible for me to extend my classes into the homes of students all over the state. I feel like I am able to serve more students because I’m not confined to a traditional classroom setting,” said Riendeau.

Recently, laws and regulations have changed to required county social workers, who work in this field, to become licensed. This is a certificate program that will allow students to gain the education they are now required.

“This was also done to increase the workforce capacity in rural areas,” said Riendeau over the phone Tuesday. “I am constantly getting calls that more LADCs are needed in our area but we don’t have enough students to fill these positions.”

It is the hope that this grant will help Mesabi Range College meet the needs for these various community members and organizations.

Through the grant, 64 scholarships are available for eligible students. Requirements include already having a bachelor’s degree and live in a specific, rural county in Minnesota. Priority will be given to current county social workers, underrepresented ethnicities, or individuals meeting federal guidelines for low income.

Those interested in more information are encouraged to contact the Addiction Studies Program Coordinator at or via phone 218-749-7779. Information can also be found at, under “Latest News”, select “Addiction Studies Certificate Scholarship.”


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