The Recovery Trust has developed a number of ways to provide education and support for people with mental illness and their families and to create community-based work opportunities for people with psychiatric disability. The ultimate goal of the programs is to improve outcomes from mental illness.
The Recovery Trust creates vocational opportunities for people with a psychiatric disability.
The Employment Alliance
The Recovery Trust launched a collaborative vocational rehabilitation program in Boulder County, Colorado, on April 1, 2014, as a pilot for replication around Colorado and elsewhere.
Under this program an employment specialist is working with the Boulder Independent Business Association (BIBA) and the Boulder County Farmers' Markets to locate local farms and other businesses that are willing to add a special mission to their work -- namely, to provide employment to people with psychiatric disabilities. The work opportunities can be unpaid internships or paid employment.
Social firms, or "affirmative businesses" as they are sometimes called, are businesses with a dual mission—to employ people with disabilities or some other labor-market disadvantage and to produce a needed product or service. The model was developed for people with psychiatric disabilities in Italy in the 1970s and has spread vigorously across Europe. Many such firms can be found in Canada, the US, Japan and elsewhere.
Usually over a third of the employees are people with a disability or disadvantage. Every worker is paid a fair market wage and the business aims, eventually, to operate without a subsidy.
The success of a social firm is enhanced by finding the right market niche, selecting labor-intensive products and providing a community-oriented service. Social firms have many benefits for their employees—they can increase the sense of competence and personal power among their workers with disabilities, foster a sense of community in the workplace, and enhance the workers' commitment through the enterprise's social mission.
Social firms are businesses with a dual mission—to employ people with disabilities and to produce a needed product or service.
The Iris Pharmacy in Boulder, Colorado, serves people with psychiatric problems and employs people with serious mental illness as pharmacy technicians.
Half of the staff of the Hotel Tritone in Trieste, Italy, are people with a psychiatric disability.
In many cities in Europe and Australia, you may see a "play bus" pull into a public square or park.