The PEER project develops an employment priority and is strongly integrated with the other behavioral health services, especially community support services and case management. This project follows the individual placement and support model of Becker and Drake. The PEER Project is based on the premise that nearly every person with severe mental illness can benefit from the process of looking, finding, and working in a rewarding job.
Employment specialists work with participants in their natural setting and in the community to minimize barriers and enhance supportive outreach. Clients are not screened out. Those clients who express interest in competitive employment become participants and are given support in finding a job as rapidly as possible that is tailored to the client's interest, preference, ability, and choice.
The project emphasizes the support of individuals in their search for the best job rather than train individuals to fit jobs that have already been created. It also recognizes that vocational assessment and development is a never-ending process and not just a one-time placement. Long term follow-along support will be provided for both job retention and career development.