Article Contributed by
Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County
Through funding from the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County and the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI), the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) has created a program focused on workforce development.
The cover story of the MHA’s spring newsletter tells the story of OPEN, the Occupational Peer Empowerment Network whose peer specialists help lift people out of poverty by overcoming barriers to gaining, maintaining, and thriving as employees. The OPEN staff work with employees to help tackle challenges that are keeping them from being happy, healthy, and eager to succeed.
If their car breaks down or their babysitter doesn’t show up, workers can’t make it to their workplace. Training and replacing employees is a costly process for employers. MHA peer specialists assist participants to find the resources that enable them to be work-ready and continue to provide a support network on the job.
At the invitation of Owner/President Heather Turner, MHA OPEN has been working with Blackstone Advanced Technologies on worker retention. Employees are rewarded for participating in wellness programs presented by OPEN staff.
MHA Executive Director Steven Cobb and OPEN Team Leader Sheridan Smith are collaborating with the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier (MAST) Talent Pipeline and Apprenticeship Coordinator Tim Piazza to apprise other local manufacturers of OPEN resources. After providing background through their newsletter, MAST is inviting their members to ––join OPEN staff at a Workforce Retention Roundtable on Thursday, June 27, at their location in the Manufacturing Technology Institute at Jamestown Community College.
MHA OPEN offers Wellness Programs on budgeting, cooking, stress reduction/management, mindfulness, anger management, and more, as well as new workforce support including on-the-job coaching, systems navigation, and peer support. It can augment Employee Assistance Programs with early intervention that can enable employees to address obstacles before they impact their work performance.
When workers experience disruptions in their personal lives, MHA can help navigate services to provide support in dealing with housing, transportation, childcare, food insecurity, medical care, substance use disorders, occupational stress, emotional or mental health issues, financial or legal worries, and family troubles.
Like all Mental Health Association services, all OPEN resources are free.
Elsewhere in the Spring 2019 Newsletter are pictures and information about plans for Give Big CHQ on June 13, recent happenings at the MHA, new peer support groups, resource suggestions, and more.
This current newsletter as well as previous ones can be read in their entirety on the MHA website by clicking on “Read Our Newsletter” at MHAChautauqua.org.
The Mental Health Association is a peer recovery support center offering recovery coaching, peer support services and groups, advocacy, training, and veterans, family, employment and job support. The MHA provides linkages to mental health and substance use treatment, primary care doctors, health and human services, and is available to assist adult individuals in identifying community resources for healthier living. The MHA OPEN (Occupational Peer Empowerment Network) program is focused on workforce development.
Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in at Door 14 in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Jamestown. Hours are Monday-Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.