SEES, Interim’s Supported Education and Employment Services, works with the Monterey County Department of Health Behavioral Health Division and the Department of Rehabilitation Cooperative to support those who have experienced a work disruption resulting from a mental health disability.
For those moving into the work world, SEES provides opportunities to explore job readiness and financial considerations, as well as career coaching for résumé building and interview practice and strategies for creating open communication with employers and coworkers. SEES facilitates a weekly support group called the Job Club that focuses on work readiness. Job Club members increase their knowledge and understanding of employer expectations and practice for job interviews.
For those seeking training, ranging from self-help classes to degree-granting colleges or vocational schools, we help adults with psychiatric disabilities manage their school environments, schedules, and coursework effectively. A Peer Support Group is held weekly throughout the school year, and students are encouraged to share their experiences and discuss their progress toward achieving their educational goals.
Once our clients have entered the classroom or the workforce, we provide on-going support to help them deal with the symptoms of mental illness that can affect employment or education situations. And throughout the journey to health and wellness, SEES counselors work to connect our clients to all of the resources available to adults with disabilities in Monterey County.
Funding for SEES is provided by County and State grants as well as private donations. SEES clients do not have to be residents of Interim housing to qualify for services; although they do have to be referred by Monterey County Health Department -Behavioral Health Division. The program is funded through the State Department of Rehabilitation; no fees are charged to clients.
The SEES program office is located at 339 Pajaro Street, Suite A, in Salinas. Phone number 831.784.0153. SEES serves all of Monterey County, and staff can arrange meetings with clients in appropriate settings in the community.
WET: The Workforce Education and Training Program (WET), funded under the California Mental Health Services Act, supports consumers and family members who are working in the public mental health system or who are interested in working in the public mental health system. Services include support groups and training for consumers working in the mental system and training for supervisors and other staff who are working with consumers and family members as co-workers on areas such as ethics and boundaries. Workshops on mental health wellness and recovery principles are provided County-wide for clients, family members, and employers.
Interim’s Transitional Age Youth Vocational Program (TAY–VOC) helps young adults (ages 18–25) identify and pursue employment and/or educational opportunities. TAY Employment Counselors work with clients in their individual communities and support them in the employment process and educational training.
Clients are coached throughout the employment process—identifying job openings, completing job applications, completing résumés, and preparing for job interviews. TAY clients also receive support after a suitable employment opportunity has been found for continued career training.
Clients seeking support from the TAY program must be referred by Monterey County Behavioral Health.
Interim Client Agrees with State Reviewers: Supported Education and Employment Services Gets High Marks
Interim’s Supported Education and Employment Services (SEES) Program has received an excellent review from the California Department of Rehabilitation!
The SEES program is cooperative program with Monterey County Department of Health Behavioral Health Division (MCBH) and the State Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) to provide support for adults with mental illness who are moving into the work world or going back to school. The program serves about 80-90 clients per year.
DOR, which oversees the cooperative mental health and rehabilitation programs inCalifornia, performed an extensive audit review of the SEES program in July of 2012. The audit report applauded the quality of staff teamwork noting the presence of a “high level of positive communication,” “innovative strategies to assist clients,” and that “dedication, commitment and competence of the staff is clearly evident.”
According to the review, “Program and DOR staff function as a team with a common mission and goal of effectively serving consumers so they receive the maximum benefit from their time in the program.” The audit team also noted that “Employment Training and Development Specialists actively work to develop strong community linkages to benefit consumer outcomes and maximize resources.”
DOR District Administrator Deborah Sweeney said, “The collaboration between the DOR, Monterey County Mental Health (MCBH), and Interim enables us to assist people with mental health disabilities to truly fulfill the mission of the DOR. We believe that employment is essential to wellness, and that this program assists our consumers to become equal and independent as a result of these services.”
Terry Nance, an Interim client who works at Sunflower Gardens, SEES, and the OMNI Center, says SEES has been a big help to him: “I’ve never called in sick for a job since 1966. Not even a cold, flu or anything else. That tells me that I’m the type of person that’s used to working all my life. I think that’s pretty remarkable, myself. When I put in a good honest day’s work, it helps me sleep good at night. It’s good for my whole well being. SEES helped me to be responsible. It helped get me back into the work field. Sometimes you just have to be thankful for the good things that come your way. I’m very thankful for the SEES program and the work it has given me.”