Monday, April 13, 2009

My new job

So, I've written tons and tons about the shelter over time, but I haven't yet written anything about my new job in terms of what I do, and what our program does.  The simple answer is that we provide job search support and employment support to people with mental illness who are unemployed or underemployed and whose mental illness is stable and does not currently prevent them from attaining and maintaining employment.  Okay, maybe that's not a "simple" answer, but it's an answer!  

Basically, here's how it works.  It's a small program with yearly renewable funding (meaning my job is only a for sure till March 31, 2010 last year the funding got doubled though, so I'm not tooooo worried).  People get referred by a variety of providers or self refer.  We do an intake, talk about them at the staff meeting, and then hopefully, they get into the program.  

First thing on the agenda is a four week class.  It meets for three hours a day and usually has 4-6 people in it.  They cover topics like stress management, social skills, assertiveness, conflict resolution, job interviews, resumes, cover letters, employement expectations, working with mental illness etc...  The classes are run much more like a counseling group then they are like a lecture, or at least the social worky classes are, I don't do employment classes so I'm really not sure about them.  During the four week class they check in with a counselor (me) or an employment support counselor once a week for ongoing stuff/issues with the class.  

After class, they get a "report" card and have a review meeting.  Most people "graduate" and get their certificate.  Then they move on to the job development phase.  In this phase our job developers work with them on finding the job (or the right training) that works for them.  It's really personalized attention, and can be really helpful.  The job developers also have ins with a lot of employers who are willing to hire our clients.  

Also following class, clients are given the option of working with a mental health counselor to talk about ongoing mental health issues, family issues, whatever.  There are two of us (like I said, small program) and we sort of split this up.  

Once a client has employment (and our current success rate is over 75%) they are hooked up with one of our employment support counselors.  This person connects with them weekly (at first) and the goal is to provide people with longer term support so they don't crash and burn in their new job.  

Finally, there is discharge.  We usually work with people for about a year, but of course there is variation.  If a person is in our program longer then a year with have to justify it to our funders, but it's usually not too hard.  

And so, that's my program in a nutshell!

2 comments:

oregonamy1972 said...

Sounds like a very awesome program. I hope you're liking it so far!

cb said...

It sounds great! I'm certainly looking forward to hearing more about it.