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Members are encouraged to set personal goals for education and employment.

They are then assisted in achieving their career goals by completing high school, attending college, or finding a paid job.

Connections House provides a variety of structured activities for career development: assistance enrolling in school, homework help, the prevocational work-ordered day, resume writing and interviewing skill-building, life-skills development, wellness and recovery resources, placements and training for paid transitional employment positions, off-site and on-site assistance for supported employment positions, ongoing off-site support for independent employment positions, job opportunities and onsite posting of available positions, job application assistance, and recognition for career achievements.

School & Work


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Creating opportunities

Helping members gain employment at area businesses is an important function of any clubhouse. Four of ICCD's 37 standards specifically address the employment opportunities a clubhouse is expected to provide its members. Standards 21, 22, 23, and 24 are listed below along with a detailed explanation of each component of the standard in italics:

The clubhouse enables its members to return to paid work through Transitional Employment and Independent Employment; therefore, the clubhouses does not provide employment to members through in-house businesses, segregated clubhouse enterprises or sheltered workshops.

This means that clubhouses must have TE and Independent Employment programs. It prohibits some types of other programs like in-house businesses and sheltered workshops, because TE is a more normalized and thus stronger vocational experience, and it fits better with the clubhouse goal of getting people back to work in the community.

Standard #21

The clubhouse offers its own Transitional Employment Program which provides as a right of membership opportunities for member to work on job placements in business, industry and the public sector. As a defining characteristic of a clubhouse transitional employment program, the clubhouse guarantees coverage on all placements during member absences. In addition, the transitional employment program meets the following basic criteria:

The big point is that clubhouses have to have their own TE program, and can't just send members to work through another program. TE jobs must also be sufficient in number and diversity to accomplish the goal of providing placements as a right of membership. In 1995, the Standards were revised to include the statement that absence coverage is a defining characteristic of clubhouse-based TE. That has all sorts of implications, including the assurance that any clubhouse doing Standards-based TE will have the best chance to use their placements for rehabilitation, and will also be a strong reference for any other clubhouse doing development.

a. The desire to work is the single most important factor determining placement availability.

Many vocational programs do intensive screening to select clients, trying to predict who will be successful at work. In clubhouses, the desire to work should be the single most important factor in selecting members for placements. Not necessarily the only factor, but the most important one.

b. Placement opportunities will continue to be available regardless of success or failure in previous placements.

The intent here is to make TE a vehicle to help members work through vocational problems in real world work situations, not just a chance given to members once all their problems are solved.

c. Members work at the employer's place of business.

The intent is to make TE the strongest and most normal work experience possible.

d. Members are paid the prevailing wage rate, but at least minimum wage, directly by the employer.

Getting paid directly by the employer and getting paid the same as co-workers, adds to the sense of having a normal job and assures the strongest work reference.

e. Transitional Employment placements are drawn from a wide variety of job opportunities.

Because clubhouse members have diverse interests and skills, clubhouses need a variety of placements to match member interests which can also change over time.

f. Transitional Employment placements are part-time and time-limited, generally 15 to 20 hours per week and from six to nine months in duration.

This Standard was changed by the world clubhouse community in 1995 to provide more flexibility in hours and how long members can work on TE. The use of the word "generally" in the Standard also provides flexibility. An example is group placements which because they are targeted at members with greater problems, often have fewer hours and days, and thus tend to be worked for longer periods.

g. Selection and training of members on Transitional Employment is the responsibility of the clubhouse, not the employer.

Companies use competitive interviewing to find the strongest candidate for a job. In clubhouse TE, the competitive process is substituted by the relationships and understanding that is created through side-by-side work in the units. In TE, we take on the burden of unsuccessful placement trys through our training, absence coverage and problem solving supports (subsidies). So in a very real way, we earn the right to choose who will get a placement.

h. Clubhouse members and staff prepare reports of TE employment for all appropriate agencies dealing with members' benefits.

Even though individuals are legally responsible to report all paid work to Social Security, this Standard requires that clubhouse's ensure that it gets done.

i. Transitional Employment placements are managed by clubhouse staff and members and not by TE specialists.

TE uses the significant relationships that develop between members and staff to encourage and help members go to work.

j. There are no Transitional Employment placements within the clubhouse. TEP at an auspice agency must be off-site from the clubhouse and meet all the above criteria.

We all understand why there aren't any TE placements within the clubhouse, but before 1995 the Standards didn't allow TE with a parent agency. Some clubhouses were pressured to have such placements, however, and often discovered that they were good, non-stigmatizing jobs, so the Standards were changed.

Standard #22

The Clubhouse assists and supports members to secure, sustain and subsequently, to better their employment

As for TE, the Standard requires an organized effort to help members get independent jobs, to support their working, and to help members upgrade to better jobs when that is their goal.

Standard #23

Members who are working full time continue to have available all clubhouse supports and opportunities including advocacy for entitlements, and assistance with housing, clinical, legal, financial and personal issues as well as participation in the evening and weekend programs.

This Standard centers on lifetime membership and the responsibility of the clubhouse to help members all along the way. It also implies staffing and program hours that are accessible to members working full-time.

Standard #24