The Employment Alliance is a collaborative venture between two community mental health agencies (Bridgeway, Inc. and Spectrum of Supportive Services) that provide employment services to adults in Cuyahoga County who have mental illness.†††††††† The Employment Alliance brings together these services under one roof in a central, accessible location close to downtown Cleveland.

The Employment Alliance provides employment services to adults in Cuyahoga County who experience severe mental illness, bringing the services of the two agencies together under one roof in a central, accessible location near downtown Cleveland.  Consumers may pick from the menu of available vocational and employment services, thus tailoring a program to meet specific needs of each consumer.

All the programming offered by The Employment Alliance is completely individualized.  Thus, although estimated time frames are indicated for every service, the length of services is dependent upon the consumer's needs

Career Advantage is the newest program of The Employment Alliance. 



Rehab Readiness Workshop This workshop runs for one month (8 sessions) meeting three hours per week, two days a week.

The Employment Alliance is pleased to offer a new tool for BVR/ORSC Counselors who are in the process of establishing a vocational goal/plan for the consumer. The workshop assists consumer in identifying transferable skills; work values; work readiness, and work barriers. The workshop is designed to be able to accept those consumers who may have difficulty with written evaluation. The specialized, tiered format of the curriculum accommodates higher functioning individuals as well as those with poor reading and writing abilities,.

Work Evaluation Estimated program participation time is 12 hours, generally spread over 2-4 days. A written report is submitted to the Counselor within 5 working days from the end of the testing.

Work evaluation is a valuable tool to an ORSC Counselor in developing an individual's vocational plan. The primary purpose of†† Work Evaluation is to provide data to determine the functional limitations and abilities of the consumer. The objective is accomplished through the provision of a comprehensive evaluation, which includes observational/functional evaluations of the participant. Psycho social and vocational testing is conducted. Tests administered may also include hands-on work samples, interest, values and abilities testing. When appropriate, Work Evaluation may also include the gathering of relevant medical, educational, and psycho- social information. Results of the Work Evaluation will be presented at a staffing with the client and the referring Counselor.

Academic Evaluation†† Six hours per evaluation.

Community Based Vocational Assessment Three weeks, four hours a day, or as an individual need dictates.

The goals of this service are:

This service places a consumer at 2 geographically convenient, community based volunteer work sites for one to two week situational assessments. Career exploration testing will be part of the experience. During this time, with the assistance of the employer, a participant's work habits, skills, attitudes, interests, and tolerances are observed. Employment Specialists review an extensive list of developed sites with the consumer and Rehabilitation Counselor from which the consumer may choose. Available work sites such as: Candlewood Park Nursing Home (activities aide); Cleveland Food Bank (assembly and sorting); Huntington Bank (mail clerk); Bryant & Stratton (electronics/drafting); and American Cancer Society (clerical, accounting, food service, etc.)

Within two weeks of the conclusion of the Community Based Vocational Assessment, the Employment Specialist provides the Rehabilitation Counselor with a written report summarizing the experience and making recommendations for the consumer's long range vocational plan. A staffing will be scheduled with the individual, the ORSC Counselor, and the Employment Specialist after or during the assessment as needed.

Community Based Work AdjustmentThe minimum participation is 2 weeks, four hours a day.

The primary purpose of this service is to provide consumers with the opportunity to gain real work experience within an employer's place of business. This exposure is intended to improve the work skills and stamina of the participants so that they can progress into competitive employment.

This service is designed for consumers who are

Work Adjustment sites are developed based on individual interests, skills, and geographic desirability. Weekly hours of work experience may vary due to the participant's needs and stamina, and if appropriate, may increase as the individual proceeds through the program.

The experience includes instruction and assistance in the following areas: punctuality, personal hygiene, following directions, interpersonal relations, employer expectations with respect to quality and quantity of work and specific skill building. Monthly evaluations of the participant's performance are conducted by the employer. Employment Specialists or other Employment Alliance staff make regular on-site observations. The participant has the opportunity to compare his/her perception of performance with the employer's on a regular basis.

The Employment Alliance staff offers work adjustment opportunities in manufacturing, clerical, custodial, furniture stripping, assembly, food preparation, and greenhouse. There is open continuous enrollment in each of these programs.

Job Placement

The Job Placement Package includes Job Seeking Skills Training (JSST), individualized job search, advocacy, education, about mental illness for employer's, retention, and follow along. The fee for this service is performance based. Although the entire package may be included in the consumer's rehabilitation plan, the referring agency will only be billed relative to the consumer's and The Employment Alliance's performance. The Counselor may authorize each component separately and will be billed following completion of each element as listed on the fee schedule.

Job Seeking Skills Training ( JSST ) Classes are held one week per month, for five days, three hours per day. This service is followed by individualized reinforcement by the Employment Specialist.

This service prepares participants to perform an organized independent job search or actively participate in assisted job placement to obtain competitive employment. This service is consumer directed and is therefore provided in a group setting and/or on an individual basis, depending on individual needs and preferences. The core service is a structured curriculum of preparedness activities that targets each participantís strengths and deficits for more intensive training. The service can also assist the Employment Specialist in evaluating the participantís overall job readiness. JSST offers the Employment Specialist the opportunity to make significant recommendations about the participantís unique abilities or needs in the job placement process. JSST may also identify further training or counseling requirements before the participant begins an actual job search. As needed, the Employment Specialist provides ongoing coordination with and recommendations to primary treatment providers.

Areas of focus may include: components of a resume and cover letter writing skills; interest testing; practice job applications and interviews; individual and group vocational counseling; volunteer or job shadowing and personal presentation; including assistance with purchasing a wardrobe suitable for the desired career field (may include assistance in using a BVR wardrobe voucher); identification of needed job accommodations such as assistive devices, specialized working conditions, etc.; teaching individuals how to find a job on the Internet; job keeping skills; self-esteem and confidence building; and managing a disability on the job. When part of the Placement package, includes consultation with job developers and job coaches.

Job Placement Weekly focused placement activities until Placement with supportive post employment follow-up during and after the retention period.

The primary purpose of this service is to assist the participant to obtain competitive employment in an occupational area that reflects his/her stated interests, strengths, and abilities. Job Placement Services are individualized and consumer directed.

Placement services include job development and job search activities. The Employment Alliance is designed to maximize the collaborative nature of these activities through a team approach to placement. Job Developers and Employment Specialists create employment opportunities, educate, employers about mental illness, advocate for the participants and develop and maintain positive relationships with the community employers. The particular jobs developed are determined by participants' needs and employment goals.

Participants work as partners in the job search, which individualizes the job search process while increasing the participant's job seeking skills and independence. Services involve assessing the participant's job search skills and augmenting their abilities. Activities include: developing a network of people and resources; placing three applications per week; cold calling; faxing/mailing resumes and cover letters; pre-interview support and encouragement; and post-interview review and support; getting ready for the first day of work; interpersonal skills on the job; and establishing natural supports both inside and outside the workplace.

Participants are encouraged to take advantage of Job Club for peer and staff support during and after placement.

A placement report will be submitted to the Counselor at the time of Placement and every month during and after placement untilthe 90 day retention is achieved.

Job Coaching Depends on individual need as defined in Vocational plan.

The primary purpose of Job Coaching is to provide newly employed clients those support services necessary to ensure retention of their employment. Specific services may include: individual instruction in tasks; task analysis leading to job modification or employer accommodations; evaluation of and feedback on work performance; moral support and encouragement; work related advocacy; instruction in related skills; transportation or travel training as needed; reporting and monitoring of entitlements.

Job Coaching is conducted at times appropriate to the schedule and needs of the employer and the consumer. The duration and intensity of the services are solely dependent upon the needs of the consumer as established in the Individualized Plan. Job Coaches reduce their involvement while continuing to provide appropriate and supportive follow-along. An Employment Report will be submitted to the Counselor at least monthly.

Follow - Along

The staff engages the consumer and the employer to ensure that the job is to both parties' satisfaction. The goal of follow-along is to prevent potential problems that could jeopardize employment. This service occurs after Job Coaching and is less intensive than†† Job Coaching.

Travel Training Depends on individual need as defined in Vocational plan.

The goal of Travel Training is to ensure that individuals seeking employment have the means and skills to travel to and from their job. In Travel Training, the consumer's transportation options are assessed . As needed, those who can drive and have a car are trained on the best route to drive to and from the job. Those who utilize public transportation are educated on the proper routes to take, accompanied on the bus or transit to and from the job. The eventual goal is for the consumer to be able to get him/herself consistently to the job.

Benefits Consultation Recommended authorization for most cases is 2 hours. May vary due to the individual needs.

Benefits Specialists provide targeted assistance to consumers during any phase of their vocational rehabilitation, assisting consumers to become familiar with Social Security and Medicaid rules and requirements, and to understand the impact of work on the entitlement benefits they receive, including Medicaid spend-down. The goals of benefits consultation are two-fold:

Benefits consultation aids job retention by developing informed consumers that are less likely later to feel the need to quit their jobs due to unintended effects of working, such as loss of access to affordable medication.

Benefits Specialists may consult with the consumer on reporting work to entitlement agencies and managing the impact of work on entitlement benefits. They may also accompany individuals to entitlement agencies. After the initial authorization, consumers may continue to consult with the Benefits Specialist once they are working or if their situation changes without additional authorizations.

Self Directed Job Search Center

The Self Directed Job Search Center is available to consumers to learn new skills and to assist in their job search activities. The Job Search Center is located within The Employment Alliance and the Self Directed Job Search Coordinator provides individualized assistance to consumers with the following resources:

         Microsoft Office Tutorials

         Typing 10-Key Tutorials


         Resource Guides

         Internet / E-mail

         Job Leads

         Voicemail Accounts


The Career Advantage Program Spectrum's newest program designed as an aid to the Welfare -to-Work Program.




Helpful Web Sites


Back to Top

Contact Information

Electronic mail address

Web address

Street address

                        The Employment Alliance 2519 Detroit Avenue, 2nd Floor, Cleveland, Ohio 44113

††††††††††††††††††††††† Spectrum of Supportive Services 5506 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44102

                        Bridgeway, Inc. 1708 South Pointe Drive, Cleveland, Ohio 44108

Office phone

††††††††††††††††††††††† The Employment Alliance  (216) 875-0460

Bridgeway, Inc. (216) 661-4164

                        Spectrum of Supportive Services Telephone  (216) 939-2065

FAX number

††††††††††††††††††††††† The Employment Alliance Fax Number (216) 875-0455

Bridgeway, Inc. Fax Number (216) 741-5704

                        Spectrum of Supportive Services Fax Number (216) 939-2077

Back to Top

Comments and Suggestions

        Please send mail telling me what you think about this page and how we might improve it.

Back to Top

Copyright information goes here.
Last revised: October 28, 2000.