On the threshold of the month of May, which is National Mental Health Awareness Month, our Spotlight! is focused on the KRA/San Diego Metro Region Career Centers’ innovative new program, Breaking Barriers San Diego (BBSD), which supports area businesses in hiring jobseekers with mental-health challenges.
KRA’s 2015 Community Care Campaign targeted disability employment as a high-priority workforce-services concern, collaborating with local private- and public-sector partners to initiate, expand, and/or support service-delivery systems that focus on customers’ abilities, not their disabilities.
Under the auspices of the San Diego Workforce Partnership, KRA/San Diego has been able to implement BBSD, an employment program that assists customers whose mental illness presents a significant barrier to sustainable employment.
Supporting a CalWORKS (California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids) population, BBSD operates under an extremely effective Individual Placement & Support Employment Model (IPS), affording Angel Ramon, BBSD Employment Specialist, up to 65% pre-placement “field time” to devote to jobseekers, like Brittany, and “time-unlimited” post-placement support for employers.
Angel was so effective in developing new BBSD business relationships, as well as coaching Brittany on developing her own job-search skills, that she interviewed with seven employers, received three job offers, and accepted a Housekeeper position with an exclusive, beach-front 26-suite resort.
“Through the IPS Model, I was able to meet with Brittany and partnering programs outside the office; provide transportation; and accompany her to interviews, job fairs, CalWORKS benefits-counseling sessions, and other events.
After 4 months, I’m still supporting Brittany in maintaining her retention status. She is well along the path to achieving financial independence, the beginning of fulfilling a goal of establishing her own home for herself and her children—for Brittany, her greatest achievement.”