Employment, Education & Training Programs
A variety of programs and resources exist for individuals with mental illness who need assistance in preparing for work, obtaining training for employment, or completing a GED or educational programs. Many other general employment, education and training programs resources are found at 211wny.org or by calling 211.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) and New York State have developed programs and policies to address these concerns. The Social Security Administration publishes the “Red Book” which provides detailed information for disabled individuals on planning for employment, on employment supports, on work incentives and on how benefits are protected. A copy is available by calling 1-800-772-1213 or online at www.socialsecurity.gov/redbook.
Incentives and supports include special programs such as the Ticket to Work Program or Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) program. Information can be obtained at by calling 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) or through their web address at https://choosework.ssa.gov/. This website offers linkage to employment-related services near you by zip code and type of services you are seeking, as well as seminars on work-related topics.
The potential loss of financial benefits and health care, however, is a legitimate concern when considering work, education or training opportunities, especially if you are receiving, or applying for, Social Security Disability. It is very important to be familiar with the provisions and policies of employment supports and incentives. It is highly recommended that you work with someone who has expertise in this area so that you will not lose benefits to which you are entitled.
Neighborhood Legal Services provides free information and assistance with Social Security and employment issues.
NEIGHBORHOOD LEGAL SERVICES
237 Main St, Ste 400, Buffalo, NY 14203
Serving Erie County
Niagara Falls Office
225 Old Falls St, 3rd Flr, Niagara Falls, NY 14302
Serving Niagara County
Programs for Individuals with Mental Illness or Other Disabilities
Some types of employment specifically address the needs of an individual with disabilities, including mental illness. A sheltered employment/workshop program offers vocational rehabilitation for persons with disabilities. Rehabilitation is accomplished through paid and unpaid employment in the workshop, and participation in therapeutic programs.
Supported employment is paid competitive work performed in any work setting in the community, and pays an hourly wage that is equal to or greater than legal minimum wage. Supported employment takes place in an integrated setting; an environment where both disabled and non-disabled persons are employed. The only difference is that supports are provided to disabled employees and the employer by the staff of a vocational agency to assure that the employees are successful in their jobs.
Employment, Education & Training Resources
ACE Employment Services
Restoration Society, Inc.
66 Englewood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14214
Flexible employment-related training and support services who are eligible through ACCESS-VR (see above). May include one- on-one services as well as supported employment, job coaching, use of the certified Ticket-to-Work employment network (SSA), assistance with writing a resume, applying for a job on line, interview skills; rapid placement services, and/or home and community based employment related services. Should be in a stable living environment. Certified Peer Mentors are also available through these sites.
Service Area: Erie and Genesee Counties
BestSelf Vocational Services
254 Franklin St, Buffalo, NY 14202
Provides pre-vocational evaluation, vocational services, and supported employment for individuals recovering from mental illness and substance abuse.
Restoration Society, Inc.
327 Elm St., Buffalo, NY 14203
A recovery support center, open to Erie County residents. Offers 1-on-1, group, and class services for skills training, work readiness and support, parenting skills and visitation support, educational assistance, financial wellness and planning, social skills, social and leisure activities, and daily meals. Also offers social events, holiday celebrations/dinners, a variety of classes and home & community based services. Based on WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Planning) best practices. Walk-in’s are welcome and, in many cases, same day service is possible.
Educational Opportunity Center (EOC)
555 Ellicott St, Buffalo, NY 14203
Tuition-free programs for adults in basic educational skills such as reading, writing, and math. GED preparation and technical programs in areas such as dental assisting, business/computer technology, and general office training. Advisement, job placement, college placement and case management.
Goodwill Industries of WNY
1119 William St, Buffalo, NY 14206
Fee: Varies by sponsor
Vocational evaluation, work adjustment training, GED, literacy tutoring, sheltered employment job placement services, technology training, alcohol and substance abuse counseling. All disabilities and disadvantages. Adult education and food bank satellites are co-located and available to program participants.
Horizon Health Services, Inc. – Career Opportunity Centers
699 Hertel Ave. Ste. 330
Buffalo, NY 14207
Vocational training programs for those with a mental illness or addiction.
Pre-employment screening, job training, diagnostic testing and job placement. Follow-up services for persons with mental illness, chemical dependency, or mental disabilities. Must be a client.
Mental Health Peer Connection
Western New York Independent Living Center
3108 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14214
Free services for domestic violence victims and their children through collaboration with over a dozen partner agencies, all in one secure location. Victims can receive emergency counseling, file criminal charges, create a safety plan, obtain an order of protection, treatment for injuries; and others.
Native American Community Services (NACS) of Erie & Niagara Counties
Workforce Development Program
1005 Grant St, Buffalo, NY 14207
Workforce Development Program is committed to assisting tribal members in finding meaningful jobs through career counseling, job search assistance, education and training, GED classes, as well as small business development and technical assistance to achieve economic self-sufficiency and improve quality of life. Available to eligible Native Americans.
Service Area: Erie & Niagara County
Jewish Family Service
70 Barker St, Buffalo, NY 14209
Career services are available to everyone, including the unemployed, underemployed and persons with different needs including physical and emotional disabilities, single heads of households, refugees, and older adults. Services include: Career counseling, assessment and planning, and job search assistance
Service Area: WNY
WNY Independent Living Center (WNYILC)
3108 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14214
Assists individuals with disabilities gain employment and reach life goals.
An informative publication, “Working While Disabled,” is available
Go to WNY211 or call 211 to access