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Who can help me find a job?

The answer is determined in part by what you need and also what is available in your area.  If you have experience with getting employment in the past and are aware of some of current job application practices like electronic applications, then you may be the person in charge of “getting” the job.

  • Many of us have some experience with getting a job, but want support. If you want a vocational professional to help you to obtain employment, there are a number of resources to consider. The most widespread services are the America’s Job Centers workforce training and placement (who serve all populations), the Vocational Rehabilitation agencies who provide services needed to achieve employment (who serve all disability groups) and state Departments of Mental Health (who serve those with mental health conditions only). Local mental health centers or private rehabilitation agencies can be very helpful in identifying vocational services.  Veterans may have access to their veteran-oriented services as well, which may be federal, state or private.
  • America’s Job Centers  are located in all states and serve the general population including people with disabilities. They have resources including tests, software, workshops and individual counseling to help customers to choose the kind of job they want. They have small staffs in relation to the number of people they serve, so people may find that they need to be reasonably independent when using this service..
  • Supported Employment (SE) (also known as the Individual Placement and Support model) is an evidence-based program model that has shown success in helping people with psychiatric disabilities get to work.  Usually part of a clinical team with a holistic approach, SE may be best suited to people who have determined that they are feeling ready to work, and who have Chosen what they want to do. SE programs are designed to help people with getting into the job search quickly, and support people to keep the job once they have gotten it.  SE specialists spend much of their time outside of the office supporting people at their jobs, developing relationships with employers, and helping job seekers in the community.  SE programs are known for doing an excellent job of getting employment quickly and using the job as a place to determine if the person needs additional supports.
  • Clubhouses are programs in which members and staff work side-by-side to run the units of the program.  Clubhouses may be organized around a “work-ordered day,” which means that the workings of the Clubhouse center around work in one area or another.  People who attend Clubhouses are members, and members are encouraged and supported to work in a variety of areas at the program itself, or in community placements through transitional employment and permanent, competitive jobs. Clubhouses will work with people from the point of not considering work to keeping work.. At times the clubhouses may collaborate with other programs in order to gather the resources that a person needs when entering competitive employment. The program plays a major role in helping members to connect directly to employment according to their particular needs (Clubhouse International).
  • The Veterans Administration (VA) offers employment services in many different programs for veterans both on and off the hospital campuses. In some cases, they have the resources to help individual veterans to explore employment possibilities as well as to directly access jobs.  The VA has Therapeutic and Supported Employment Services (TSES) at every site, Community Based Competitive Employment at some locations, Vocational Assistance at some locations.  There are also a set of program which are Homeless Veterans Community Employment Services.  The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) manages benefits and can often be a portal to employment and careers services for some who may not necessarily receive VA service connected benefits.
  • The Social Security Administration (SSA) also offers vocational services tailored to the individual through its Ticket to Work program.  A list of potential providers is sent to people who receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and/or SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), encouraging them to select an employment service provider, known as Employment Networks (EN’s). EN’s may help people to figure out what they want to do for work, get into jobs, and get into work that can provide financial independence, all while maintaining some Social Security benefits, including access to medical insurance (Medicaid and Medicare).  Information about EN’s may be listed according to whether they are able to work with persons with mental health conditions.(Employment Networks in the Ticket to Work program)
  • Recommended reading: Getting to Work: Promoting Employment of People with Mental Illness : A guide published by the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law details the general desire of people with mental illness to enter the workforce, and explains the functions and benefits of supported employment.

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