Employment Program

For many people with mental illnesses, their job helps to keep them stable. It creates routine and order and provides income. Without job skills, members cannot work. And without work, their self-esteem falls, their sense of security diminishes, and many become depressed.

Green Door is recognized nationally as one of the most successful job training and placement programs for people with a mental illness. Providing members with the skills that they need to obtain a job is paramount in maintaining their mental health and is a central component of Green Door’s mission. Green Door fosters pride and self-confidence in our members so that they may improve their lives, the lives of other members, and contribute to the community around them.

How the Employment Program Works:

As members demonstrate their success with job training in the Clubhouse, they move into the Employment Program where Employment staff help them begin the process of securing a job in the community.

Green Door’s Employment staff will help members:

  • Think about what type of work they want to do.
  • Learn the skills they need to obtain a variety of jobs.
  • Learn how to get along with colleagues in the work world.
  • Identify steps and resources they need to get a job.
  • Work on their résumé and practice interviewing skills.
  • Understand how paid employment will affect their Social Security benefits.
  • Build a résumé and get references in order to move to a higher quality job of their choice.
  • Stay clean and sober. We do not place people who have not abstained from illegal drugs and alcohol for at least six months.

Green Door’s Employment program is tailored to each member’s needs. Members are encouraged to move at their own pace so the amount of time it takes to go to work varies from person to person. Some members go to work within a month or two of entering the program, others may take longer depending on their unique circumstances. If people have a recent successful work history, they will return to work quickly. If they have been unemployed for many years or have lost several jobs, it can take longer to get them back to work.

Green Door offers several ways for members to get back to work.

Transitional Employment. If the member has not worked for a long time, has little on their résumé, and no recent references, they can build their résumé and references by working for a year in transitional jobs.

Group Transitional Employment. If a member is extremely fearful, cannot work without staff support, or is extremely disabled, we offer short-term (3-10 day) group jobs with staff support on site.

Independent Employment/Supported Employment. If the member has a recent work history, we may help them find their own job and return to work right away. If after one or two transitional jobs they are still too insecure to get a job on their own, Green Door will support them in finding a job and will provide off- the-job help so that they can keep the job.

Employment Program Successes:
  • More than 80% of Green Door members who have obtained Independent or Supported Employment jobs with Green Door’s help have maintained their jobs for more than two years.
  • Nearly 20% of Green Door working members have maintained their jobs for more than five years, with some working for more than 10 years.
  • 70% of members working independent jobs receive benefits from their employer.
  • The average wage earned in Independent/Supported employment by Green Door members is $9.33 an hour. People who have been working for several years earn up to $35,000 annually.

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Frequently Asked Questions


Are mental illness and mental retardation related?No. Mental illness has nothing to do with a person’s intelligence. Most developmentally disabled people have no psychiatric problems; many persons diagnosed with mental illness are very intelligent.How common is mental illness?After heart disease, mental illness is the nation’s second leading cause of disability. The U.S. Surgeon General estimates […]

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Transitional Employment


Transitional Employment is the stepping off point for many of our members who seek to become fully independent. Transitional jobs are part-time, short-term placements in the community. Green Door partnerships with local businesses, nonprofits, and corporations allow us to provide on-the-job experience to our members in real-life office environments. Transitional Employment partners set aside entry-level, […]

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