Everyone deserves an opportunity
A local resident, Bob Thomas, 39, was having some challenges at the office. Some weeks he could out produce anyone, then other weeks he could barely get out of bed and missed work. His family was depending on him, but some times he simply could not get to work. Before long, he lost his job, wife, children and home. He found his way to a doctor and was diagnosed with bi-polar and is now living in a shelter. Yet, due to medications sending his symptoms into remission, he is willing, able and eager to return to work, but the question remains, who will hire him now?
It is men like this, those with bipolar, major depression, or schizophrenia or schizoaffective, to different degrees, that Texana hopes to help rejoin the workforce.
“We are piloting a Supported Employment program, for Fort Bend County, to assist in putting these folks to work,” said Carol Racz, supervisor, Supported Employment, Texana Center.
According to Racz, to have and hold a job is a crucial source of dignity and purpose for many people and for those with mental conditions, it is also a key supporting factor in their recovery. The success of the program depends on the extent the community and area businesses embrace the program.
“We need the community to assist in placing these clients and there are many positions which they do qualify,” Racz said.
Texana provides career service training for those enrolled in the program which includes teaching soft and hard skills, writing a resume and interviewing. Also many of the clients are attending trade schools for training, and they have career goals.
A few of the positions Texana clients could interview include food service, health care such as certified nursing assistance, kitchen assistances, nursing homes positions, assembly lines, labor and construction, and others.
“We match people with jobs. For example, if someone calls with a position in housekeeping or janitorial, then we will find the client who has the skills and would be able to perform well in the position,” Racz said.
Presently, Texana has over 50 clients waiting to be placed.
“When our client’s work, there are many benefits to the community, but the main one is it saves tax dollars,” Racz said.
Texana clients who work are paid, and the paycheck provides additional support and funds to support themselves or assist their families. Paychecks are much better than living in State funded shelters, which, until they go to work, is where most live.
“We work with the clinical team and doctors to make sure those working are monitored. Also staff from Texana visits the worksite and works with supervisors,” Racz said.
Anyone in Fort Bend County who is currently served or meeting the priority population catagory, and are looking for a part-time or full-time employment, qualifies.
“People are referred by case managers or other physicians. Once the referral is made, the client completes an assessment to determine goals, strengths, and the support needed to reach the goals,”Racz said.
Racz has seen first-hand how the program can and does change lives and the difference an extra paycheck makes to a struggling family or provides housing to an individual.
“This program helps to restore a person’s dignity, helps them raise their heads high instead of walking around with the shame that usually comes after a diagnoses of a mental challenge. What is important for the community to know is these challenges were not chosen by these folks, it was simply the card life dealt them. But, there is hope and that hope is a job. I really believe in this program and I know with the community’s help, we will be able to place all of our clients who eagerly want to work,” Racz said.
Texana Center is a 501(c)(3) public, not for profit, organization that provides behavioral healthcare and developmental disabilities services to residents of a six county are, with its headquarters in Rosenberg. Texana serves approximately 9,000 clients per year in its array of services.
For more information or to post open positions available, please call Carol Racz, 281-239-1422.