NJ Employment Demo Relies on Peer Navigators

Mental Health Transformation Grantee Spotlight: Employment Works! Somerset County, NJ


This approach is unique from many programs that only offer separate peer-run services.

Consumers report feeling more supported due to the peer navigators’ perspectives within the teams.

Another benefit of peer involvement is a shared work load between staff.

EW! has been able to offer added services by having staff members with diverse skill sets and personal experiences. Peer navigators report that they feel that they are performing a valuable function by educating other staff about recovery and the many obstacles that consumers must overcome to successfully transition to competitive employment. To view an infograph of the Employment Works! program, please visit: http://pra.tw/fpXjW.


New Jersey

Grantee: County of Somerset

Project Director: Faith McCalla

Abstract: Employment Works! proposes a model systems change initiative that removes perceived barriers, expands access, and increases positive outcomes of Supported Employment for persons with SPMI by adding wrap-around mentoring and support components to the SE Evidence Based Practice model.

It will also create a strategy of community collaboration, integrating employment into the county’s wellness and recovery transformation initiative as an expected outcome and changing the mental health and vocational services referral processes to streamline access to SE services.

Adding the Recovery Partnership for Employment component of the program will create new opportunities, motivate and support consumers to choose employment as part of recovery, and provide peer-delivered Work and Wellness services to maintain and enhance employment.

Peer Navigators will provide individual vocational mentoring to support vocational wellness and facilitation of support around issues pre and post job search.

Grantee proposes to place 300 consumers in competitive employment, to make infrastructure and policy changes to integrate employment into the wellness and recovery transformation, generate significant data about the impact of peer delivered wellness and recovery supports on employment, and measure the financial impact of employment on the wellness and recovery of persons with SPMI