Centreville, MD: Satisfying employment is a key factor in recovery for many people with behavioral health issues. That is why local businesses are partnering with Crossroad Community, Inc. (CCI) to provide job opportunities for adults and young adults recovering from mental illness. “We have been able to create amazing relationships with area employers where co-workers and supervisors take pride in playing a role in an individual’s behavioral health recovery,” said Matt Dewey, CCI’s Supported Employment Program Coordinator.
Over the past three years, the Supported Employment Program has seen an increase in referrals from therapists and community members who see the benefit of the program. A team of five full-time Employment Specialists has assisted in 26 new job placements in 2016, and eight additional placements were obtained in the first quarter of 2017. Approximately 80 individuals, who are either employed or in the process of finding jobs, benefit from this program, which was licensed by Maryland’s Behavioral Health Administration (BHA) as a Mental Health Vocational Program in 2002. Crossroads took an additional step in 2009 to achieve fidelity status as an Evidence Based Supported Employment Program. Since 2010 the program has met the stringent Evidenced Based Practice using, according to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “clinical expertise, scientific evidence and the interests, values and choices of the people served.”
Located throughout the five Mid-Shore counties, over 25 local businesses participate in the program, including Lowes of Easton, Redner’s Market, McDonalds, Acme, Hardees, Commerce Street Creamery, Harris Teeter, Bayleigh Chase, University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton, Walmart, Royal Farms, Portside Restaurant, Hyatt Resort, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Wawa.
“Meaningful jobs give purpose and raise self-esteem,” explained Sharon Huseman, a CCI Employment Specialist. CCI’s Supported Employment Program builds on the organization’s mission to empower individuals with behavioral health needs to recover and live satisfying and productive lives. CCI’s vocational services are designed to support individuals in choosing, obtaining, and maintaining employment. The Employment Specialists work with each person to create a plan based on his/her desire to pursue employment, assist with creating a resume, and teach job search skills, including how to submit applications and prepare for interviews.
Once employment is gained, the Employment Specialists provide job coaching on site with ongoing support and encouragement, help build and maintain a successful and desirable work environment, and advocate for accommodations, as needed. “Employment also provides many of our consumers with an opportunity for socialization in the community,” said Brent Schraffenberger, a CCI Employment Specialist.
To be eligible for CCI’s Supported Employment Program an individual must be 16 years of age or older; have an Axis 1 behavioral health diagnosis; meet medical necessity criteria; and be active in behavioral health treatment.
Crossroads Community’s other services include Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Residential Rehabilitation, Young Adult Program, Youth Services, and Case Management. In addition, a Respite Program is provided for families by partnering with trained licensed foster care families, giving relief for both children and their caregivers.
Serving residents of Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline, Talbot and Dorchester counties, Crossroads Community has locations in Centreville, Chestertown, and Cambridge. Many of its services have specific eligibility criteria. For more information on the Supported Employment Program or any of its other services, please call 410-758-3050 or visit www.ccinconline.com.