Glossary of Terms for The WORKbook

A Guide to New York City's Mental Health Employment Programs

This Glossary of Terms is meant to help you navigate The WORKbook and find the best program for your needs.

Program Models  

Job Placement and Support

These are programs that help people get and keep jobs. Several different kinds of programs fit into this category, including Assisted Competitive Employment (ACE), Supported Employment (SE), and job placement programs.

Job Readiness and Training

These programs prepare people to enter the work world. Some programs train participants in specific skills, such as building maintenance or computers. Others are more general readiness programs and focus on a range of skills, such as workplace behavior or GED or literacy. Adolescent Skills Centers are job readiness and training programs just for teens and young adults.

Peer Specialist Training

These are programs that train people with mental illness to become peer advocates and experts. Training typically covers peer wellness and coaching, cultural competence, harm reduction, group facilitation and leadership skills, computer literacy, and other skills necessary for providing services to peers.

Psychosocial Club and Clubhouse

These programs promote recovery and reintegration into community life. While each club has different services and degree of structure, many resources are typically available. People with mental illness can socialize together, learn about recovery, and sometimes work side by side with staff to achieve vocational goals. They may then graduate to short-term Transitional Employment positions (part-time positions of six to nine months designed to teach new skills and encourage comfort in the workplace).

Treatment with Vocational Emphasis

There are two mental health treatment program models that include a heavy focus on employment – PROS (Personalized Recovery-Oriented Services) and IPRT (Intensive Psychiatric Rehabilitation Treatment). Both IPRT and PROS programs provide a range of employment services, including job readiness, development, placement, and support.

  • PROS are programs for adults with severe mental illness that focus on recovery and rehabilitation. PROS programs provide treatment, support, and rehabilitation, primarily through a combination of groups, clinic services, vocational services, and other supports.
  • IPRTs are designed to help consumers select employment, housing, education and social network goals.

Work Among Consumers

These types of jobs involve working together with other consumers with on-site professional support from a mental health counselor or job coach. Workers are paid at least minimum wage. Working with other consumers can help people develop the confidence to work in a more integrated setting. In this WORKbook, all the work among consumers programs are affirmative businesses.

Affirmative businesses are small companies that are staffed primarily by people with mental illness who work together in settings such as contracted cleaning services, thrift stores, newspapers, and other small businesses. They offer consumers the chance to work together, for minimum wage or more, as a unit on a job site. Training, supervision, and ongoing support from a job coach or supervisor, who may be a mental health professional, is provided. Often, work in affirmative businesses is viewed as a training ground for work in more integrated settings, including competitive employment.

Job Types  

Competitive Employment

These jobs involve real work that are paid at a competitive wage and that occur in integrated settings (i.e., disabled and non-disabled employees working together). Many times, supported employment services are offered. In supported employment, the person working is connected to a vocational professional who checks in with both the worker and the employee to make sure everything is going well, and provides ongoing support and assistance.


These positions involve real work that may be paid, typically in the form of a small stipend, or, more usually in this economy, unpaid. Sometimes internships include mentoring. Like volunteer jobs, internships offer experience, training, time to socialize with other people, and a way to build up a resume.

Transitional Employment

Transitional Employment jobs are provided through Clubhouse programs. Clubhouses provide members with part-time positions (typically 15-20 hours a week) that are temporary, and last from 6 - 9 months. These jobs are located in the community, and employers directly pay these workers minimum wage or more. Often this work helps members gain work experience, and build a work history by trying out different positions.


These jobs involve real work, but without salary or wages in return. While volunteer jobs are unpaid, these positions offer other rewards, such as experience, training, time to socialize with other people, and a way to pursue your interests.

Work Among Consumers

These types of jobs involve working with other consumers with on-site professional support from a mental health counselor or job coach. Workers are paid at least minimum wage. These types of jobs can help people develop the confidence to work in a more integrated setting. Work among consumers is often done through an "affirmative business."


Benefits Assistance

This service helps job seekers understand how work may affect their cash and health benefits, such as the complicated rules and regulations for getting and keeping SSI or Medicaid, and how the job seeker’s own financial well-being might be affected by employment.

Career Planning

These services focus on person-centered planning to help people advance in their career, and plan for financial self-sufficiency. Staff may provide or arrange for benefits planning so that a working person knows how any proposed career changes will affect his or her benefits. Economic self-sufficiency planning includes benefits assistance, as well as counseling to improve credit, work on taxes, build up assets, or reach other goals.

Economic Self-Sufficiency

These services refer to a variety of strategies and tools that employment staff may provide to assist an individual in achieving economic self-sufficiency. This service includes an action plan to achieve greater financial independence, training on budgeting and financial literacy, as well as linkages to resources to access work incentives, file taxes, save money, and/or improve credit.

Job Coaching

Getting hired is just the first step. Job coaching helps with what comes next – whatever is needed to help a person get started and settle into a new job, such as acquiring work clothes, dealing with transportation, budgeting for costs associated with going to work, interacting smoothly with colleagues, and keeping the job.

Job Development

This service helps people find and get jobs that match their career interests or strengths. Depending on individual preferences and agency resources, job developers may be minimally or extensively involved with contacting employers and locating jobs.

Job Placement

This category includes placement programs, such as Assisted Competitive Employment (ACE), which help people find and maintain satisfying jobs in local business and industry. These programs may provide skills training, additional supervision, and support. Supported employment programs also fall into this category.

Job Retention

These tailored services, on or off the job site, help consumers stay employed. Support might include disclosure counseling, help with negotiating job accommodations, or solving problems that may interfere with work.

Work Readiness Skills

There are a lot of skills needed in the workplace. Job readiness and training services help people learn important workplace skills, such as getting to work on time, answering the telephone, and using the computer.