Transitional Employment Program a Win-Win for Upper Bucks County

WellspringClubhouse

For almost 20 years, Penn Foundation’s Wellspring Clubhouse has been providing adults recovering from mental illness with social, educational, and vocational opportunities and skills to regain self-worth, confidence, and purpose. Employment has long been an important tenet of the Clubhouse philosophy, fostered by the belief that everyone deserves a chance to secure meaningful employment and can be a contributing member of the community.

“Work is so important to mental health recovery,” explains Lu Mauro, M.Ed., CPRP, Director of Penn Foundation’s Wellspring Clubhouse. “It provides a sense of pride, accomplishment, and contribution. It also provides an opportunity for Clubhouse members to participate in a regular role in the community, just like everybody else.”

First Savings shares this philosophy, and that is why, for the past 5 years, the bank has been an employment partner of Wellspring Clubhouse, employing individuals with mental illness at its Perkasie location through the Clubhouse’s Transitional Employment Program (TEP).

“TEP is an opportunity for Clubhouse members to experience a real work environment through temporary, part-time job placements that typically last 6 – 9 months,” explains Jill Horan, Career Development Coordinator at the Clubhouse. “Clubhouse staff learn the job, train the member on the job, and provide coverage for the job. Staff also provide ongoing support for members throughout their placement.”

At First Savings, Clubhouse members work in the Customer Care Center, scanning old bank documents. “They are performing a very valuable function,” says Marie Koch, Customer Care Center Supervisor at First Savings. “They are wonderful people who work very hard to do a good job every day.  The work they do is productive and helpful for the Bank – they are not just filling a desk.  It’s great to have them as part of the Customer Care Center team.”

Lisa, who has worked in a TEP position at the bank since April, appreciates the friendliness and sense of community she feels when she’s at work. “There is always someone willing to help me. This job has allowed me to feel safe and appreciated.”

Adds Tyler, who has worked at First Savings since June, “I’ve never worked in a bank before. I’ve really enjoyed learning new skills and having the opportunity to practice my social skills. When my placement is over, I would love to find another bank job.”

In November 2011, First Savings received a National Clubhouse Employment Award in recognition of its partnership with Penn Foundation’s Wellspring Clubhouse and its leadership in helping individuals with mental health challenges re-enter the workforce.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Wellspring Clubhouse to provide workplace opportunities for its clients,” says Fred Schea, First Savings President and CEO. “We hope the participants in the program have learned as much from us as we have learned from them about desire, courage, and a willingness to take on new challenges in life.”

To learn more about Penn Foundation’s Wellspring Clubhouse’s TEP program or to learn how you can become an employment partner of the Clubhouse, contact Jill Horan at 215.257.4760 or jhoran@pennfoundation.org.

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