Your mental health challenges should not stop you from working. There are services that can help you find a job and train you so that you are prepared to work. If you take advantage of the services offered and make a commitment to finding work, you will be able to find and keep a paying job that is right for you.
It is important to have some training or education before you begin working. Being prepared may make you a more attractive candidate at job interviews and may also make your work more enjoyable and less stressful. You may want to ask your caseworker about enrolling in a vocational program while you are still in foster care. Vocational training can include skill-training courses, job-seeking skill workshops, and internships.
"The WORKbook: A Guide to New York City’s Mental Health Employment Programs" is a great place to start preparing for your job search. The WORKbook explains different types of employment programs, the services these programs provide, types of jobs that are available, and other resources. It also contains a directory of employment programs throughout the five boroughs. You can find the WORKbook online at:
Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID): VESID can help you obtain the vocational and educational services you need to find and keep a job. Some of the services you can receive through VESID include vocational rehabilitation, job placement assistance, independent living services, and transitional services. A VESID counselor will help you understand and apply for these services and will help you reach your employment goals. Contact information for VESID offices in NYC can be found at:
VESID also funds 39 Independent Living Centers (ILCs) around the state. ILCs are run primarily by individuals with disabilities and offer peer assistance with independent living services. For more information about Independent Living Centers and to locate one in your area, see:
Supported Employment (SE): Supported Employment will help you find and keep a paying job that meets your individual preferences and abilities. Employment specialists will help you create a resume, prepare for interviews, and search for and apply for jobs. Once you have a job, SE will provide you with the ongoing support and assistance you need to be successful in that job. SE generally includes mental health treatment in your service plan, and employment specialists will work closely with your treatment providers. If you are in supportive housing, you may be able to enter an SE program through CUCS. For more information, you can visit:
Adolescent Skills Centers: Adolescent Skills Centers provide services such as educational assistance, GED prep, vocational training and placement, life-management skills, and internship and job opportunities to 15-21 year olds. The YES Adolescent Skills Center at The International Center for the Disabled (ICD) offers a program that combines educational and vocational services with mental health treatment. You can get job readiness training, educational services (including GED prep), health education, and/or placement into jobs, training programs, or college. To participate in the YES Adolescent Skills Center, you must be receiving mental health treatment. If you are not, you may be able to receive treatment at ICD, or ICD may refer you to another program. For more information about ICD and the YES Adolescent Skills Center, call 212-585-6043 or visit: