Employment Services at CCC
Community Counseling Center developed the Vocational Program in 1992 in response to clients coming to our partial hospitalization program saying they were having difficulty finding or keeping a job. We received a Grant from the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) to get started and have been a contracted vendor for OVR services for over 30 years. Our provider agreements with OVR afford us the opportunity to serve adults as well as youth (14-21 years) through the Pre Employment Transition Services. We recognized a need and created programming to support people with disabilities in obtaining meaningful, community integrated employment.
Another option for vocational supports is through the Community Employment and Employment Related Services (CEERS) program. This program serves anyone who is currently receiving mental health treatment or support services. You must be 18 years or older and have a desire to work. The referral process is a simple form and requires no provider signature. A person can also self-refer. Many individuals remain open in the program even after being successfully employed and benefit from periodic meetings to address any on going issues or areas of concern as well as to celebrate their success.
In both of these programs our staff meet the individual where they are, assist in obtaining documents needed for employment, exploring job options through shadowing or informational interviews, create a resume and provide training on job search boards such as INDEED, do mock interviews and provide on-site job coaching once the position is secured. Should any on the job accommodations be needed, our staff negotiate them with the employer. We trained to provide benefits counseling to help individuals understand how earned income will affect their benefits. It is a myth that if you go to work, you will lose social security benefits. In fact, in most cases, going to work will increase your monthly income, improve self-esteem and promotes having a meaningful role in our community, all a part of psychiatric rehabilitation. Employers benefit from the additional supports and we have developed and maintained many relationships with our community business partners ever the past 30 years.
At CCC, we use the Individualized Placement Model (IPS) of supported employment.
IPS Supported Employment helps people with severe mental illness and other disabilities work at regular jobs of their choosing.
Some of the characteristics of IPS are:
It is an evidence-based practice
IPS supported employment practitioners focus on client strengths
Work can promote recovery and wellness
Practitioners work in collaboration with state vocational rehabilitation
It uses a multidisciplinary team approach
Services are individualized and long-lasting
We presently have 2 job coaches Brad Thompson and Marquez Saleem-Phillips, and one vacant position. Over the past year, our staff have supported 32 individuals in securing employment in the field/environment of their choice. The supports are based on need. Some candidates benefit from a polished up resume and job leads and do not require supports on the job. However, if an individual has more significant disabilities or barriers to work, the supports would be more intensive and could involve having a job coach on the job with them until they have mastered the skills and the employer is satisfied with the work. The supports are intended to be short term and the fading plan is agreed upon by the candidate, employer and job coach. It has been such a pleasure to spend the past 30 years helping people achieve their goals, improve their lives and give me and my staff the opportunity to play a small role in celebrating individual successes!
My favorite quote: It is something to paint a picture or to carve a statue so as to make a few objects beautiful. But it is far more glorious to paint and carve the atmosphere in which we work to affect the quality of the day. This is the highest of the arts!
So…..work hard and be nice to people!
Susan Poznar, CPRP
Director of Vocational/PEER Services
Community Counseling Center