Live a better life through community

Finding Employment Opportunities

Finding Employment Opportunities

learn guitar


Jobs give us a sense of purpose, self-worth, and accomplishment. They can also play a key role in the recovery process by providing opportunities for you to socialize, learn new skills, and discover your talents. The thought of applying for a job can be terrifying, but if you follow these simple tips and check out these potential employers, you will be on the path to live the life you have always dreamed of.

Understand that this is Difficult:

· Recognize that finding a job is difficult even without having a mental disorder.

· Take a deep breath and try to break out of your comfort zone. You never know, you may be pleasantly surprised by the result!

· Do not be disappointed if you do not get hired for every job you apply for. Instead, just keep trying and know that something will eventually turn up.

· Discuss your job hunting adventure with people who are willing to listen and be supportive of you. Chronicle your process by writing a blog on the Strength of Us website; we love to hear what you have to say!

Training and Preparation:

· Visit The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for more information on employment services and support. They can provide help with school-based preparatory experiences, career training, and work-based learning experiences.

· Determining what to do after high school can be tricky. Review all of the possible options to help make the right employment choice for you.

· Also check the Entering the World of Work: What You Should Know About Accommodations pages on the On Our Own resource group for more tips on how to become happily employed.

 Employment Programs:

· There are many employment programs available for young adults living with mental health conditions who are interested in finding a job. Do not count yourself out!

· If you are interested in supported employment, ask your therapist, social worker, case manager, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional to recommend an employment program in your area.

· Your peers and friends can also be great resources for finding out about employment programs in your community. Ask around and see what is out there.

· There are a number of employment programs available in local communities to help young people with mental health conditions job hunt.

Vocational Rehabilitation Programs:

· Vocational rehabilitation programs provide assistance with transitioning from school to work and adult life.

· Vocational rehabilitation counselors help you to develop a transitional plan that identifies the steps needed to reach your goals. Services may include vocational evaluation and assessment, career counseling, job seeking/job retention counseling, job placement, a follow-up after job placement, post-secondary education programs (college, university, vocational school and trade school), and training programs (supported employment, on-the-job training and unpaid work experience).

· Access information on Vocational Rehabilitation Programs available in your state, and see if you are eligible for disability benefits. 

Supported Employment:

· Supported employment programs are designed to help you participate in the labor market and are often integrated with treatment.

· The only eligibility requirement for supported employment programs is your expressed interest in working. Your strengths, capabilities and preferences are highly important in the job search.

· Clubhouses are community centers that help people with mental illness to reach their full potential, and find individual placement and support. Search for your local clubhouse here.

· For additional guidance on supported employment, check out the Seeking Employment tip sheet.

Additional Work Opportunities: AmeriCorps

· AmeriCorps is a program that can provide you with the opportunity to help out struggling communities and in return, receive a job, skills development, and opportunities to travel.

· Typically, full-time members earn a modest allowance, money for education, health care coverage, training, and student loan deferment while serving.

· Each program engages volunteers in areas such as education, the environment, public safety, and homeland security in any state, United States territory, or tribal reservation.

· In order to be eligible for the AmeriCorps, you must be at least 17 (age may vary per individual program) or older and be a United States citizen.

· Check out the links below to find out more and see which is the best fit for you:

o AmeriCorps National can help you get involved with national organizations across the country.  

o AmeriCorps State lists all of the AmeriCorps opportunities in you state and local community.

o AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) specifically focuses upon ending poverty in America.  

o AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) works to strengthen communities and develop leadership skills.

o FEMA Corps (Federal Emergency Management Agency) solely specializes in natural and man-made disaster “preparedness, response, and recovery.”

 Additional Work Opportunities: Job Corps

· Job Corps is a government funded program that provides young adults with the skills to become successful in long-term, stable employment. They ensure hands-on technical training, education, money, a personalized career development plan, health services, a safe environment, and job preparation.

· It provides many programs to choose from and has a network of campuses across the country. This requires no cost from you or your family!

· In order to be eligible, you must be a young adult, between ages 16 and 24, and must be a United States citizen.

· Job Corps locations are found around the country, and students will be placed in the training center closest to their hometown.  

Additional Work Opportunities: Peace Corps

· Peace Corps works to engender “peace and friendship” on a global scale. Volunteers travel to countries around the world helping other people while receiving benefits, learning new languages, and gaining leadership skills.

· Volunteers work with local governments, communities, and schools to address critical needs in a wide array of areas including education, health, business, information technology, agriculture, and the environment.

· Volunteers receive a living allowance that covers housing, food, and incidentals, enabling them to live in a manner similar to people in their local communities.

· Anyone is eligible to apply as long as you are over the age of 18.

· The application process can take up to a year to complete and can be quite competitive. So, make sure to plan ahead, do some research, and think about what location and program would be best for you.