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Employment Specialist - STAY 


Job Summary:

The Employment Specialist (ES) is part of a multi-disciplinary team that helps program participants to meet their mental health and wellness goals. The ES focuses on helping participants with achieving their employment aspirations. The ES is responsible for all phases of employment service for program participants who wish to seek employment. Program participants may include transition aged youth (TAY) or teens with special circumstances including mental health disabilities, substance abuse, intellectual delay, or homelessness. The phases of employment services include: program intake, engagement, assessment, job development/job placement, job coaching, and follow-along supports. Employment Specialist develops, builds and maintains a database of employer contacts to match the participant to a position based on participant's preferences and developmental needs.

In TAY mental health programs, the Employment Specialist spends 65% or more of their work time in the community both with employers as well as with the participants. In residential and housing programs, the Employment Specialist works both onsite with the youth and in the community conducting job development with employers. Employment Specialists who work with teens may conduct classroom- or community-based employment training and career exploration activities.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Program Intake/Assessment: 1) Conducts thorough vocational assessments that integrate client strengths, interests, and preferences, including developmental needs (cognitive and motor skill level) with an environmental assessment, also considering reasonable accommodations. 2) Updates assessment following each job experience. 3) Develops and regularly updates an individualized job search plan based upon information from the vocational assessment/profile form and new job/vocational experiences.

Work Incentives Planning: 1) Discuss and counsel participants on the possible costs and benefits of working, and of the disclosure of a psychiatric disability to their employer. 2) Offers benefits counseling directly, and referrals as needed.

Employment Specialists working with teens may also: 1) Collaborate with classroom education staff to access curriculum and/or to develop curriculum related to work maturity, living skills, or career exploration as needed. 2) Support, as needed, the pursuit of goals and objectives enumerated in student Individualized Transition Plans (ITPs) and in Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).

Job Development/Job Placement: 1) Visit potential employers or current employers to assess the needs of the employer, explain the program and its benefits. 2) Develop, build and maintain a relationship with employers to create positions or place participants in existing positions, based upon their individual job search plan. 3) Discuss participant's strengths and attributes with the prospective employer. 4) Develop and maintain and employer database.

Engagement/Follow-Along Supports: 1) Provide support to employers (e.g., educational information, job accommodations) at participant's request. 2) Offer help with career development, i.e., assistance with education, a more desirable job, or more preferred job duties. 3) Facilitate and schedule a face-to-face with the participant one week before starting a job, weekly thereafter for the first month, and after the first month once a month for a minimum of one year, or longer as requested by the participant. 4) Provide persistent and consistent coaching, mentoring and support with a participant's employment efforts. 5) Utilize all resources to provide continuous monitoring and motivation including outreach to the family, if possible. 6) Transport participants as needed. 7) Transition supports to mental health team members following steady employment on the part of the participant.

Employment Specialists working with teens may also 1) conduct individualized task analysis and train participants to complete job assignments, highlighting competencies necessary for success on the job, including those related to social skills and work maturity. 2) Supervise participants in the Residential Program or Non-Public School both on and off campus, creating appropriate pro-active interventions as necessary both with and for participants and site employers with the goal of supporting job retention.

Documentation: 1) Records data associated with tracking employment-related events. 2) Documents participant contacts, reports and records functional evaluation and grading of student work effort, and meets with participants to debrief on successes and challenges. 3) Observes and reports on individual and group behaviors orally, in writing, and with agency and/or program's evaluative tools. 4) Follows and meets the record keeping requirements of funder and/or program guidelines. For TAY Programs this includes entering, updating and maintaining the Employment Data Log/IPS Data Log).

Other Duties: 1) Will drive on agency business as required and 2) other job related duties as assigned.

Position Requirements



1. B.A. degree from accredited college or university or equivalent years of related work experience.

2. Demonstrated sensitivity and responsiveness with diverse cultural and ethnic groups required.

3. Valid California driver’s license is required with a clean driving record.

4. Valid California Driver’s License is required with a clean driving record or ability to obtain within 10 days after hire.

5. Basic computer and keyboarding competence with the ability to use Microsoft Office Suite.

6. Must have access to dependable transportation and personal car insurance, meeting minimum liability coverage required for position


1. A minimum of two years post-college experience working with or providing mental health counseling to teens or transition age youth living with mental illness, developmental/intellectual disability, and/or severe emotional disturbance, often with unstable housing situations.

2. Experience delivering career development, job development, or vocational services.

3. One or more years of experience working with socioeconomically and culturally diverse populations.

4. Experience working as part of a multi-disciplinary team.

5. Knowledge of employment, educational, and healthcare resources in Alameda or Contra Costa County.

6. Bilingual in Spanish.

7. M.A. Degree in relevant field.


1. Communicates clearly and effectively, both verbally and in writing, with co-workers, supervisors, and youths.

2. Prepares clearly and concisely written reports and summaries.

3. Must be able to comprehend, follow, and clearly convey instructions to others.

4. Must be computer proficient and be able to work on a computer for up to 20 hours per week.

Physical Demands:

The physical demands and work environment described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals to perform the essential functions. The noise level in the work environment is usually quiet and, at all times is within safe OSHA standards.

1. Possesses the ability to actively participate in and supervise youth’s recreational activities, including noncompetitive sports.

2. Must be able to bend, lift as much as 25 lbs., and walk up to a mile at one time.

3. Must be licensed and have the ability and skill to drive cars, vans, or other vehicles for up to two (2) hours at a time.

4. Must be able to respond quickly to emergencies, and to learn and implement self-defense maneuvers, and to physically monitor youth to ensure they do not hurt themselves or others. Job may be dangerous if the individual cannot assess and avoid threats posed by youth.



    Medical, Dental, and Vision insurance (PPO or HMO options)

    Employer matching 401(k) retirement plan

    Employer paid life insurance

    Employee Assistance Program

    Flexible Spending Account (both medical and dependent care)

    8 Paid holidays

    21 days of Paid Time Off

Full-Time/Part-Time -unspecified-  
Req Number SOC-18-00253  
Location FFYC - Oakland  
About the Organization Based in Oakland, California, Fred Finch Youth Center works with young people facing multiple challenges, including homelessness, economic disadvantage, mental health and cognitive disabilities, and histories of significant trauma and loss. Many have experienced abuse; live at or below the poverty line; are growing up in foster care, and are seeking to make their way in the world as independent, strong young adults. Despite their circumstances, these young people possess numerous strengths including tenacity, kindness, and the ability to strive for a brighter future. Committed to the notion that no one is without hope, no matter how desperate their circumstances may appear, Fred Finch staff helps each person we serve find and build upon their strengths so they may reach their potential and lead meaningful, fulfilling lives.

Founded in 1891 as an orphanage, today's Fred Finch Youth Center operates 24 programs in California including mental health, housing, education, and independent living services, providing a pathway to healing and self-sufficiency. Our 127-year history and strong track record have made Fred Finch Youth Center a recognized leader in the treatment of children and families.

FFYC is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer who does not discriminate and follows all regulations under the Act as well as all the regulations under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Fred Finch Youth Center partners with contracted providers to provide mental health services to residents of the following counties:

* Alameda County * Contra Costa County * Fresno County * Los Angeles County * Merced County * Napa County * Orange County *Placer County * Sacramento County * San Diego County * San Mateo County * Santa Clara County


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