Supporting adult clients as they pursue careers or education opportunities
The vocational services program at Skyland Trail supports adults with mental illness who want to pursue employment, volunteer positions, and internships or continue their education.
The vocational program is part of the whole person approach offered as part of the residential and day treatment programs. Vocational services also is offered as a stand-alone outpatient program for graduates of Skyland Trail or other adults in the community.
Group and individual sessions focus on clarifying career goals, identifying strengths, building skills, and learning how to problem solve in school and career settings. Coaching is tailored to the individual based on a client's previous experience and goals for next steps.
Returning to school with a mental health diagnosis
Many clients, especially young adults clients, may have a goal of continuing their education. They may be interested in going to college, pursuing an advanced degree, enrolling in specialized training programs, or completing a GED. For these clients, work with vocational services may involve assistance with the application process, including strategies to address any past withdrawals or issues with academic standing. Career Services counselors may also help clients apply for academic accommodations that may be an option for students with a diagnosed mental illness.
Clients also receive coaching on how to stay healthy while in school. Groups and individual sessions focus on topics such as school/life balance, making social connections at school, healthy relationships with peers and faculty, healthy sleep schedules, how to ask for help and receive support, and basic financial literacy.
Career Preparation & Development
Some clients are beginning new careers and looking for opportunities to enter the job market, while other clients are mid-career professionals looking to continue their careers while better protecting their mental health.
For clients beginning their careers, Career Services may begin by helping them identify their strengths and interests though tools such as the Strong Interest Inventory. Results of these assessments may help clients select a career path and establish a series of smaller steps to help them achieve a longer-term career goal. Group and individual sessions may focus on topics like cultivating early professionalism, developing a portfolio, managing relationships with coworkers and supervisors, and setting appropriate financial expectations and budgeting goals for the early career phase.
For mid-career professionals, Career Services may be more focused on helping clients improve work-life balance, combat burn-out or boredom, or address specific challenges like public speaking, communicating with supervisors, or asking for accommodations when needed.
Work Adjustment Program
Through the Work Adjustment program, clients can be in volunteer or paid positions on the Skyland Trail campus. Here, clients' employment skills and work habits are evaluated by the staff and the client before the client considers a community work or volunteer position.
Some clients may not require or desire additional education or current employment. There are opportunities for these clients to engage with the community in meaningful ways. The vocational services team can guide these individuals toward volunteer opportunities or participation with social or civic groups that will allow them to continue to meet new people, learn new skills or pursue new interests, contribute to the community and be valued for their contributions.
Outpatient Vocational Services
Vocational serivces is available as a stand-alone outpatient program to graduates of Skyland Trail. Some individuals may need additional time to work toward career goals with support from career services counselors. Others may need a career "booster" after a period of time or extra support while navigating a career transition. Vocational services are available for a monthly fee to help clients continue making progress toward the goals they established while in intensive services or to make adjustments to their career plans.