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Grant Provides Training and Skill Development for Michigan Residents with Mental Illnesses

Contact: Angela Minicuci (517) 241-2112

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 27, 2012

LANSING - The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Administration (BHDDA) received an Employment Development Initiative Grant award totaling $113,000 from the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. Because work is such an important part of life and recovery, this grant will assist people with mental illnesses in finding and keeping jobs.

"Misinformation regarding how obtaining a job affects one's benefits can be the biggest barrier for people going to work," said Lynda Zeller, Deputy Director of the BHDDA. "By receiving this award, we hope to not only improve the process of finding a job for those individuals with mental illnesses, but also ensure that they can become successfully employed in their communities."

The grant will be used to provide training and technical assistance to local employment programs that work with individuals with serious mental illnesses to help them find jobs in their community. The project is designed to increase the number of prepared Employment Specialists in the field providing services, supervision training and technical assistance.

The Employment Specialist will assist with easier access to personalized benefits counseling and work incentive planning, which helps people get back to work much more quickly. A supervisors' learning collaborative will be established as well as a data measurement tool that more accurately depicts the number of people with serious mental illness who are employed.

"Opportunities such as these are important to the lifestyle and recovery of someone with mental illness, and we're eager to further develop supports systems to help employ these individuals," Zeller said.

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