Supported Employment Program

Breakdown of Services
Program:  Supported Employment
Agency:  B.H.I., Inc.-Homeless Outreach and Stabilization Team

To assure employment opportunities are offered to partners and that they receive supported in gaining, performing (in a competitive workforce) and retaining competitive employment.

The supported employment component of the BHI-HOST program is an integral part of the wrap-around services provided.  This program’s culture encourages members to become employed and pursue competitive employment.  The supported employment component of the BHI-HOST program is based on the evidence-based practice for Supported Employment.  Employment services are custom tailored to individual partners.  This approach emphasizes the dignity of occupation and enhances the partner’s sense of self-worth with its emphasis on partner choice.  Extensive training and preparation is not believed to be necessary before a person can be placed in a job.  The team will work with individuals to enhance motivation for partners to explore employment opportunities. 

The supported employment specialist spearheads the individualized supported employment plan with support from the entire team. 

I.  Career exploration:  Vocational and Employment goals, and Assessing the Need for Employment and Training
Synopsis:  In this section, the partner is given the opportunity to express a career interest.  The Employment Specialist will assist in creating a plan for the partner to pursue a vocational program or an individualized job search to find employment.

A.  Identifying Vocational and Employment Goals/career exploration

  • Identifying a career interest, educational and vocational goals
  • Creation of an Individual Education Plan
  • Creation of an Individual Employment Plan

B.  Assessing the Need for Employment and Training
Synopsis:  The following are examples of assessment questions designed to assist staff in assessing the clients’ needs and interests in pursuing a vocational program or immediate employment.

  • Partner’s past experience with schooling and learning
  • Partner’s present attitude toward schooling and learning
  • Literacy or educational level necessary to meet the client’s current vocational goals
  • Partner’s literacy level in any languages
  • Partner’s functional limitations that influence the type of work that would be appropriate

II.  Finding Employment:  Job Readiness skill-building
Synopsis:  Partners learn a variety of pre-employment skills that will enable them to become independent job seekers, and ultimately successful members of the workforce.  Through a network of collaborative service providers, partners will be supported with necessary items during their job search to increase opportunities for success in their job hunting.  Partners will complete job preparation training that will consist of the following topics of pre-employment support:

A.  Job Preparation

  • Job Search Tools:  Individualized job finding based on consumer’s strengths, preferences;  accessing hidden websites and navigating around  search engines by using key words; creating an email account; creating memberships to various job search engines and receiving job posting alerts; how to send resumes and cover letters online using search engines and email accounts; creating weekly employer contact lists (job search logs) that documents job search activity
  • Resume Development:  skill set development and recognition (transferable skills, knowledge-based skills, and personal attributes); resume tool packet
  • Determining whether to disclose one’s mental illness
  • How to complete an employment application:  Master application worksheet
  • (explaining employment gaps, updating contact information of previous employers, describing work duties, and explaining reasons for leaving);
  • Job interview skill building and Interview preparation:  How to prepare before, how to conduct one self during the interview and methods to use after the interview; how to dress for a formal interview; mock interviews and interviewer feedback
  • Connect to a local One Stop Career Center:  access free employment services such as free voicemail activation and computer access for job hunting
  • Interview attire assessment:  Partners will gain access to interview attire through Wardrobe for Opportunity.  Clients will receive 2 business suits (one blazer), one pair of dress shoes, a belt and socks.

Synopsis:  HOST partners are given the opportunity to participate in on-the-job training, and vocational training through a number of collaborative agencies in Alameda County.  The goal of the HOST-Supported Employment program is to provide clients with an array of vocational training opportunities, which, in turn, will allow them to pursue a career path of their choice. 

A.  Opportunities for Employment program for part time and temporary paid work
Synopsis:  Participants of the HOST program are given the opportunity to gain immediate and short-term employment via the Opportunities for Employment program.  Here, partners will learn on-the-job functions for selected occupations while earning above minimum wage income ($10/hr).  The Opportunities for Employment program serves as a stepping stone for partners who need to re-establish their work history and build their resumes.  The ultimate goal is for partners to find permanent employment while they participate in this program.  

  • Adopt-A-Block/Maintain a Drain program (Sponsored by the City of Oakland Public Works Agency)
    The Adopt-A-Block program provides an opportunity for the HOST program and its Partners to play an active and ongoing role in cleaning, greening and maintaining the neighborhoods and streets of Oakland.  The Adopt-A-Block program gives Partners the opportunity to give back to their Oakland community while earning valuable work experience and receiving compensation in wages for their efforts.
  • Food Bag Delivery Program:
    The Food Delivery program gives HOST Partners the exposure to on-the-job tasks of the Food Preparation and Food Delivery industry.  Partners prepare and deliver weekend food bags to fellow enrolled Partners who are currently housed in emergency hotels, which are located in the North and Central sectors of Alameda County.
  • Storage Warehouse Program:
    The Furniture Warehouse is the centralized storage location of all household supplies given to Partners during the day of their move-in.  Partners who are engaged in the Opportunities for Employment program perform various warehouse tasks such as taking inventory of all furniture items, storing, sorting and labeling household supplies in the furniture warehouse, and assisting in the bi-monthly pick up of purchased household supplies from multiple retail stores. 
  • Moving Assistance Program:
    The Moving Assistance Team gives HOST Partners the opportunity to learn On-the-Job functions for positions in the furniture delivery business.  Partners serve an integral role on the day of move-in, providing assistance in the labor and set-up of that day
  • Computer Lab:
    Manpower's online university career development center:
    This direct training program includes an online training center, which allows partners to login for training 24 hours a day via the Internet, and complete a wide array of certification programs ranging from customer service to warehouse to Graphic design and Office Technology courses. 
    Manpower’s online university is completely free for partners enrolled in payroll services.  It is also revolutionary and on target with the vision of the OFE program, which is a place for work and career development. 
  • Rental Cleaning Program:
    Partners assist fellow partners with maintaining their rental units in a clean and appropriate manner.  Partners use a variety of cleaning supplies and learn the trade of house cleaning by honing their cleaning skills when cleaning fellow partners’ apartments.
  • Wardrobe for Opportunity:
    HOST has collaborated with Wardrobe for Opportunity to provide onsite volunteer opportunities for HOST Partners.  HOST Partners are exposed to the employment world of retail, participating in activities within WFO’s stockroom.

B.  Vocational Programs and Enrollment Opportunities for HOST Clients
Synopsis:  Clients have the opportunity to enroll in a vocational or educational program after they have individually selected a career path.  The following institutions either are or are in the process of partnering with BHI-HOST for the purpose of providing partners equal opportunity to enroll for services.  The emphasis in this section is vocational schooling as a means to reach competitive employment.

Technical Programs and Schools

  • Rubicon Programs:  Landscape, Property Business and Bakery courses
  • Berkeley Youth Alternatives:  Berkeley Youth Alternatives:  Introduction to Law Enforcement and Security Administration

Community-Sponsored Adult Education

  • Berkeley Adult School:  Forklift, Certified Nursing Assistant, Medial Office Billing Assistant certification and many more

C.  Education
Synopsis:  For partners seeking a career that is more academically focused, the following institutions may serve as a stepping stone to adjusting to an academic environment.  Also, for those partners with academic goals that focus on remediation such as ESL and/or GED certification, the following institutions serve as a resource for partners to begin the process of achieving their academic goals.
Berkeley City College:  Pursuit of an Associates of Arts degree, choosing an academic major
Berkeley Adult School:  ESL, GED Preparation

IV. EMPLOYMENT Services:  Job seeking, Job development, SUPPORTED work and JOb Retention
Synopsis:  The following sections are descriptions of employment services offered to partners once they reach the stages of job search and job support.

A.  Job-Seeking Skills and Exercises (See Competency Areas for Employment-Section C)

  • Job Clubs:  HOST will provide partners with a computer lab, as a home base for conducting a job search.  To establish a Job Club, staff must provide daily job postings and office equipment (copy machine, computer with internet access, phone line to contact employers and copy machine).  Initially, staff will run Job Club, and eventually work with partners to operate and organize it.  OR
  • Access local One Stop Career Center for Job Search Services:  In order to maintain activity in a job search, one must have viable resources.  Clients will be advised to gain membership to the North Cities One Stop Career Center to conduct job searching endeavors, and obtain free voicemail accounts.  The North Cities Center will serve as a secondary employment center for partners to follow up with job leads and submit resumes and cover letters to employers.

B.  Job Development and Placement Approaches
Networking with potential employers:  The Employment Development Department will establish relationships with prospective employers for various occupations.  The following items listed below are supported employment components that the Employment team will make available through the support of employers:

  • Attend and/or join a system of local business and job development meetings to acquire more job leads for partners.
  • Identify and confirm a list of employers willing to establish a partnership/referral process to send HOST partners to job interviews for vacant positions.
  • Identify and confirm a list of employers willing to allot weekly slots for HOST consumer Job Shadowing opportunities.  The goal is to allow consumers an opportunity to gain insight and experience in a desired career field and ask an official/worker on-the-job questions to better understand the position in greater detail.
  • Confirm a list of employers willing to serve as mock interviewers for partners during job interview skill building training.

C.  Supported Work Programs

  • Job Coaching:  Develop an understanding between the supported employment program and the employer.  Ensure that the employer fully supports the approach of HOST staff’s on-going job support for consumers and allows time for weekly or bimonthly meetings via in person or over the phone with the Employment Specialist to discuss concerns and accomplishments and pressing on-the-job work issues.  Stress the importance of presenting issues dealing with partner accommodations to employers in the following areas: 
  • Job coaching
  • Additional individualized training,
  • Designating a co-worker as peer support,
  • Benefits counseling,
  • Flexible scheduling,
  • Allowing workers to shift hours for appointments, and possible leave during a hospitalization. 

Supported Employment Specialists will work with the treatment team to discuss issues mentioned above as well as other pressing on-the-job work issues for those consumers who are having a difficult time transitioning into the workplace.  The team will meet weekly to brainstorm ideas of how to combat on-the-job difficulties that consumers face.  The E.S. will then schedule an appointment with consumer to review more productive and professional ways of handling work-related issues.

  • Peer mentoring group:  Organize a group for consumers that meet weekly.  Along with having an E.S. to provide guidance on how to retain employment, consumers will have the opportunity to voice employment-related concerns with fellow peers.  Here, fellow consumers can provide to others personal examples of how they were able to deal with common work issues.  Thus, the focus will be on peer support, which will be facilitated by Supported Employment staff.  Eventually, facilitation will be coordinated by an actual consumer as a means to provide professional development training.

D.  Job Retention and Job Advancement
Reducing work-related challenges/obstacles by improving consumer work readiness

  • Starting a new job: 
  • Guidelines on how to perform effectively on the job
  • Handling crisis on the job
  • Ending a job

Synopsis:  Bonita House, Inc-HOST program has currently extended an invitation of partnership with the following agencies.  Again, as partnerships solidify, the HOST program will identify and contact more selected agencies to collaborate with HOST.

A.  Partnering agencies that assist the partner in employment services

  • Department of Rehabilitation
  • Wardrobe for Opportunity
  • North Cities One Stop Career Center (Rubicon) and Vocational Programs
  • Berkeley Adult School
  • Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency
  • Homeless Action Center
  • Alameda County Community Food Bank
  • Berkeley Youth Alternatives:  Introduction to Law Enforcement and Security Administration
  • West Oakland Technology Exchange Computer Center
  • Second Start Adult Literacy Program
  • National Furniture Liquidators