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.

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.

Brittany had lost her job in 2015 and she dedicated herself to raising her two sons. With the support of her family and utilizing several government programs for assistance, she searched for work. Brittany worked in her late teens and acquired experience with customer service & housekeeping. She wanted to remain focused on Housekeeping positions since they capitalized on her skills and she enjoyed the physical aspects of that role. However, she struggled to find a job and realizing that her job search tactics were ineffective.

Meeting with a BBSD Employment Specialist, Angel Ramon, Brittany was able to develop an in-depth career profile with disclosure of environmental, physical & metal hardships while incorporating direct workforce-preparation and job-search activities. Three days into the program, she was invited to interview with an employer for a custodial position. After the first month, she was invited to seven interviews where three of those interviews yielded job offers.

In March 2016, after one year of being without a job, Brittany was hired by All Seasons Resort: Capri by the Sea as a Housekeeping Attendant. She also accepted a per-diem weekend job to bring her to full time employment status. With the support that Brittany received from the BBSD Program, her success is largely attributed because she was able to participate in personal growth exercises, interview practices and employer interaction & transportation.

As Brittany continues to become self-sufficient with post-employment support from BBSD in conjunction with the CalWorks assistance program, her goal is to get a car, become financially stable and establish her own home for her and her children, which for her is the most important achievement.

Brittany and Angel “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.”

About the Breaking Barriers San Diego Program (BBSD):

BBSD serves to help people with disabilities gain employment and fully utilize benefits in a manner that leads to achieve self-sufficiently. Using the Individualized Placement & Support Model, Employment Specialist are there to assist clients in the community and at events such as interviews, job fairs, meetings & benefits counseling. We also have the capability to provide, time-unlimited, non-judgmental support after employment is obtained. The objective is to work in conjunction with their case manager(s), partner with programs achieve a successful exit from the CalWorks program once benefit parameters elapse.

More on this story: http://www.kra.com/kra-monthly-spotlight-56/