A west-central Wisconsin employment support program has received a major boost with a new national grant.
The Johnson & Johnson Dartmouth Community Mental Health Program recently committed $80,000 to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. The grant then was awarded to the four-county Western Region Recovery and Wellness Consortium.
Barron, Chippewa, Dunn and Eau Claire counties are part of the consortium.
The consortium, with support from University of Wisconsin-Stout, has operated since January 2011 with more than $100,000 in blended funding from the National Association of State Mental Health Program directors and the state DHS.
The program helps residents with mental illness receive evidence-based employment services, resulting in improved employment success.
To celebrate the receipt of the Johnson & Johnson grant, a kickoff event will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Feb. 13, in ballrooms A and B of the Memorial Student Center at UW-Stout. The event is free and open to the public.
The event will feature human services officials from the four counties. Also on hand will be officials from the state DHS and Workforce Development; Dartmouth College; and employment service providers.
A panel discussion will include several of the more than 70 area residents who have been helped by the program. Nationally, more than 10,000 people have been served by the program in 12 states, the District of Columbia and Alameda County, Calif.
The program is based on the Individual Placement and Support Model of supported employment developed at Dartmouth College Psychiatric Research Center in Hanover, N.H.
UW-Stout is one of the partners in the program. A project coordinator at the Stout Vocational Rehabilitation Institute works with the counties to ensure compliance with program guidelines.