The need for employment services for people with SPMI is overwhelming. Studies show that only 10-15% are employed and, when employed, they are underemployed – 70% who have college degrees earn less than $10 an hour.
- Offering all members work-related opportunities.
- Engaging all eligible and capable members in developing career goals.
- Empowering members to take control of their finances as part of their recovery process.
- Providing all necessary support, services, and referrals to successfully assist members to find and maintain jobs and maintain financial independence.
- Services cover all aspects of employment readiness, job training, and financial literacy.
- Some services entirely unique – like Transitional Employment.
- Services structured to meet each member’s needs, whether he/she is looking for work for the first time, trying to resume a career interrupted by mental illness, or already employed and looking to better his/her employment situation.
This is the first step in employment support for members with little work history or with little confidence about reentering the work force. Members work at their own pace and make their own decisions about how they want to be involved. Work opportunities (unpaid) occur onsite at Vail Place and support the infrastructure of the organization; they include facilities maintenance, clerical, food service, service center, outreach tasks, reception work, event/activity planning, project management assistance, committee work, fund raising assistance, searching for job leads, and planning and leading in-house classes.
Participation in the daily work of the program provides members the opportunity to learn about their capabilities – identifying their strengths, providing social interaction, encouraging them to adopt a regular schedule again, and helping them learn skills to improve their work readiness. As in other areas in the clubhouse, work readiness is often a peer-to-peer responsibility and achievement. For example, we have member led computer mentoring, in class and 1:1 formats, geared to teaching members the computer skills they need to re-enter the employment market.
Another area of pre-vocational opportunity is volunteering. We work with members to access community volunteer opportunities that enable them to work in environments related to careers that they are interested in exploring.
This is a community-based job providing real work experience and history outside Vail Place. Employment staff develop the community-based job sites. Staff learn the jobs, and then train members by working alongside them until they are ready to work on their own. Members continue on their own unless problems arise. If that happens, staff go to the work site until no longer needed, providing support or, if the member is unable to cover a shift, providing coverage themselves. Vail Place guarantees coverage to employers for all scheduled work shifts.
Members interested in TE are first encouraged to participate regularly in the CSP. Once involved in TE, members are encouraged to attend weekly employment meetings for support and to discuss job-related issues. TE placements last for six to nine months, after which the member can choose another transitional placement or move on to the next job placement level, Supported Employment.
TE jobs are part-time, entry level, and members receive at least minimum wage from the employer. Types of jobs include janitorial/maintenance, office work, mail room support, and food service jobs. The employer is responsible for FICA, worker’s compensation, and State and Federal taxes.
We work with members to obtain jobs in competitive, real-world settings, and provide ongoing support services, as needed, designed to help individuals perform well and maintain their job. Employment staff facilitate a job-seeking skills group at both locations on a weekly basis and meet with members on an individual basis to develop a career plan and provide personalized job placement services. These services include: job development, resume writing, interviewing skills, taking members to prospective job sites, and providing follow-up support once a person is placed. Support for members is provided at the clubhouse and individually in the community. For members who are employed, support services include helping them improve their current employment situations by working with them to seek jobs with more opportunities and higher pay rates.
- Learning how to manage and overcome barriers to employment: work skills, transportation, benefits management, and symptom management.
- Navigating (for those who are ready) to working full time and off Social Security and public assistance benefits.
- Accessing community and higher education opportunities to improve work skills and expand employment prospects.
Hopkins – 952.938.9622 and ask for the Employment Support Specialist
Minneapolis – 612.824.8061 and ask for the Employment Support Specialist