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Employment Options: Working for People with Disabilities

  • Published: 2009-12-07 (Revised/Updated 2016-04-11) : Author: Thomas C Weiss : Contact: Disabled World
  • Synopsis: Employment services to people with disabilities and low-income populations in the MetroWest area.

Quote: "Employment Options approaches Workforce Development by working with stakeholders to assess and coordinate training, education, and career counseling."

Main Document

Employment Options, through support, encouragement, and inspiration, creates a home-away-from-home where people with disabilities have the opportunity to overcome barriers to employment while discovering self-sufficiency, personal growth, and hope.

The organization's mission is to provide employment services to people with disabilities and low-income populations in the MetroWest area. They are always interested in having motivated and talented people join their community.

The past many years have found Employment Options expanding their services through a focus on workforce development, family supports, as well as family-specific legal advocacy. The organization has a great variety of programs to offer. Their major programs include the following.

Workforce Development:

The Workforce Development program provides unemployed families and low-wage workers who are seeking employment or advancement in the health care field with education, training and supports.

Options Clubhouse:

The Options Clubhouse is a hub where adults who are recovering from mental illness have the opportunity to help one another and themselves to find housing, employment, education, advocacy, wellness, and parenting support.

Family Initiatives:

The Family Initiatives program includes a number of different opportunities for people who participate. These opportunities include the Family Project, Clubhouse Family Legal Support Project, Family Options, Collaborative Advocacy, Consultation, as well as training.

Family Options:

Family Options is the only program in Massachusetts with a focus on parental mental health. The program represents a collaborative partnership between AstraZeneca, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Employment Options. In unity, the organizations are redefining the standards of treatment in regards to mental illness through combination of adult and child services in order to work with families as a single unit through a strength-based approach.

Employment Options is currently recruiting two-hundred people in the Triad area for work in three different, national call centers. The jobs represent legitimate work-from-home positions which are open to people who are on SSI or SSDI. Employment Options is a national employment network that specializes in the Social Security Ticket to Work program that help people on SSI or SSDI to find jobs. The call center jobs involve both full and part-time work, with an average pay of $10.25 per hour. People who are interested may contact Sheika at: 1-800-441-3114. You can learn more about the Ticket to Work program at: www.yourtickettowork.com

Over time, Employment Options has been successful at presenting opportunities to low-income people with mental illness through their clubhouse program. The year 2002, for example, found the organization widening their efforts to in order to present opportunities for entry-level workers who needed opportunities for advancement in the health care industry. Through due diligence and additional means, they have beens successful in this endeavor. Employment Options has created and facilitated partnerships with the department of employment and training, the regional employment board, employers, the department of transitional assistance, community colleges, and ESOL programs in the MetroWest and surrounding areas in order to provide people with education, training, and career coaching supports.

The organization provides employees with English and entry-level skills in order to improve their ability to become employable, as well as advance to a higher wage bracket and skilled jobs within the health care industry. The result has been a track record in health care which has led to retention rate improvements, increased employee work skills and confidence, and development of succession planning in order to fill critical skill shortages in mid and upper level nursing career areas. A portion of Employment Option's training work is achieved directly in conjunction with employees in group settings. At other times, the organization works with people in a one-on-one environment to help them identify and pursue their career goals.

Employment Options approaches Workforce Development by working with stakeholders to assess and coordinate training, education, and career counseling. They advocate as intermediaries, serving as a form of bridge between employing agencies and people who are seeking to advance their careers. The organization is committed to addressing skill gaps in the workforce via the delivery of career initiatives for employees who are at the entry-level. They have the ability to effectively act as a liaison between people at the entry-level in their careers and supervisors, enabling them to provide a seamless approach to employability in the MetroWest area through development of a capable and strong workforce.

The organization, through interactions with employers, helps to both develop and sustain entry-level employees. The results are a reduced turnover, lower recruitments costs, enhanced customer service, as well as improved productivity. Employment Options has formed long-term partnerships with five nursing homes in the MetroWest area, assisting them to invest in entry-level workers through the core services the organization provides. The team at Employment Options understands the challenges that people face as they make efforts to be successful and help employers. They have a small-company environment that allows people to experience different areas of business, all while experiencing both personal and professional growth. Employment Options also makes use of something very important - the clubhouse model.

Employment Options follows The International Standards for Clubhouse Programs, a consensus that has been agreed upon by the worldwide Clubhouse Community's definition of of the Clubhouse Model of Rehabilitation. The principles expressed in the standards are part and parcel of the Options Clubhouse community's success in assisting people who experience a form of mental illness and their ability to remain out of hospitals while achieving their financial, social, as well as vocational goals. The International Clubhouse Standards also represent a form of, 'Bill of Rights,' for the Options Clubhouse members, and a code of ethics for the Clubhouse's staff members, Board, and Administrators. These International Standards insist that a Clubhouse remain a place which offers both opportunity and respect to members.

Every two years, the worldwide Clubhouse community reviews the standards, amending them as needed. The process of amendment is coordinated by the ICCD Standards Review Committee, which is comprised of members and staff of the ICCD-certified Clubhouses from across the world. You can find a copy of the International Standards for Clubhouse Programs (www.iccd.org/quality.html) through the ICCD.

People in the Options Clubhouse work side-by-side, with staff and members joining to accomplish the needs of the day. They work to achieve wellness initiatives. Clubhouse participants have started to partner with Advocates, Inc. in order to expand exercise, fitness, coaching and wellness education with both members and staff Employment Options (www.employmentoptions.org/index.html)


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