Buckelew provides paid employment opportunities to individuals working at our Social Enterprise businesses, Blue Skies Cleaning Services and Blue Skies Clerical. Social enterprises are businesses operated by nonprofits as a revenue-generating workforce development strategy. Our primary motivation for starting social enterprises is to create employment opportunities for people who have been disconnected from the workforce due to behavioral health disorders. Employment plays a crucial part in our clients’ recovery.
The importance of employment shouldn’t be a surprise to any of us who work—or have ever lost a job. And it’s a sad fact that, while 60-70% of people with mental illness would like at least a part time job, only 10-15% nationwide do. Buckelew is using social enterprise—coupled with evidence-based supported employment practices—to make a dent in the 85-90% unemployment rate among our target population, and make a major difference in the lives of those we serve.
Participants in Buckelew’s Employment Services who are interested in working at one of our social enterprises are hired to work transitionally at one of these paid training venues. A work adjustment counselor assists workers in overcoming barriers to employment. One-on-one support is provided to each person who is hired as a trainee. Work adjustment counselors help trainees develop the “soft skills” that are applicable to any community job, such as grooming and hygiene, punctuality, attendance, symptom management, acceptance of constructive feedback, and workplace communication.
In addition to soft skills training, workers at Blue Skies Clerical learn computer skills, data entry skills and front desk duties. Workers at Blue Skies Cleaning Services learn janitorial skills, customer service skills, product knowledge and safety training.
Every person in the communities of Marin, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties who has been disconnected from the workforce due to a behavioral health condition (e.g., serious mental illness, substance use disorder, serious emotional disturbance) is eligible to participate in Buckelew’s job training and job placement services.Social enterprise is a big part of how we work to create hope, and a chance for clients to live sustainable, thriving lives in our communities.