Supported Education and Supported Employment Summit
May 3, 2010

As California counties and their providers work to implement the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) vision of recovery-oriented services for individuals living with mental illness, employment of persons with mental disabilities has remained a challenge.Employment remains an important goal because work is a normalizing role for adults in our society and the source of much identity and self-esteem. Accordingly, many consumers view employment as an essential part of their recovery. But while most consumers (71%) want to work, few (15%)2 do as a result of significant existing employment barriers.  Supported employment and supported education offer more mental health consumers the important opportunity to advance their recovery by participating in the mental health workforce and to broaden the diversity of experience among California’s mental health professionals. As a result of participating in supported education programs, students experience improvements in work readiness, social skills, and self-esteem. Yet there is widespread recognition that supported education programs are not available to the extent necessary to bring significant numbers of consumers into the workforce, and continued budget challenges threaten existing programs. 

Against this backdrop, the California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions (CIBHS), with funding provided by the California Department of Mental Health (DMH), organized an advisory committee of statewide leaders (see Appendix 1 in the final report) in order to plan a one-day summit on supported education and supported employment.

CIBHS has posted numerous resources below related to supported employment and supported education.  The Final Report entitled, “Stepping Up: Innovations in Career Development for California Mental Health Consumers” can also be downloaded.