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Companies Recognized for Diversifying Workforce by Hiring People with Mental Illness

Over Thirty-five companies will be recognized at the Statehouse for choosing to diversify their workforce by hiring adults and young adults who have mental illness with the support of Clubhouse employment and recovery centers funded by the Department of Mental Health.  The event will take place in the Great Hall of the Statehouse in Boston on Wednesday, April 10th from 11am – 1pm.   Legislators will present awards to the companies in recognition of their leadership in choosing to give people who have a disability an opportunity to re-enter the workforce.

“Having a job, not only brings in a much needed pay check, but serves to inspire and encourage people, recovering from often challenging conditions, that they too can achieve their dreams and goals” said Reva Stein, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Clubhouse Coalition, the non-profit organization that is hosting the event.  “Countering the myths about people with psychiatric conditions, there are hundreds of companies in Massachusetts who are choosing to look past disability and see ability and opportunity” Stein continued.

The Massachusetts Department of Mental Health currently funds 32 Clubhouse employment and recovery centers and is contracting to open 3 additional centers by July 1st.  We are proud that the Clubhouse model has now been recognized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as an evidenced-based practice and pleased that the Department of Mental Health will be opening 3 additional Clubhouses this year.

“Through my recovery—and help from Earlene DeYoung, my advocate at the club—I have learned that being positive really helps.”, says Beverly Noonan, a member of Crossroads Clubhouse (a Riverside Community Care Clubhouse in Hopedale.)  Beverly is employed by the Central Mass Employment Collaborative (CMEC), doing clerical work, in a position that the Clubhouse helps to support.   Working with Stephanie and David is a pleasure, and when a situation arises I no longer get upset; multitasking keeps the job exciting for me.  I really love my job.”

“CMEC addresses a request of Massachusetts employers—a simplified delivery of qualified candidates to meet employer needs.” says David Beccia, Employer Liaison for CMEC. “The organization had secured 77 employment positions for people with various disabilities in 2012 alone. Our goal for the year 2013 is to secure at least 100 placements, and we’re already well over 30 to date. The more people we can get back to work, the better we all are as a Commonwealth. When employers focus on abilities and not disabilities, they diversify their workforce and as a result will be better equipped to succeed in the future “says David Beccia.

CMEC also helps individuals with disabilities update their skill sets through a grant from the Sydney Baer Jr. Foundation, helping to improve the lives of people with severe or persistent mental illness. Over 30 people have attended or are in the process of job related educational programs to date, resulting in several certifications and placements. In addition, CMEC is the first to bring Project Search to Massachusetts.

“Since being with Crossroads, I look forward to going into work,” says Beverly.  “I also look forward to going into the Clubhouse.  When working, I feel like I am part of the community and I am paying my way in society. Feeling independent again gives me that feeling of walking with my head held high.  I am thinking before acting and I resolve problems in a different light now.  My confidence is higher than it has ever been. Even home life is going in the right direction. Looking ahead is the only way for me. With all the positive things happening in my life I wish I could share it with the world.”

Each Clubhouse Center has chosen a local company that employs their members, to be recognized for their efforts to give people who have a disability an opportunity to contribute to their local economy as tax paying citizens while working to help themselves.

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