JANUARY’S WEDNESDAY NETWORK
Are You Sitting At The Table Or Watching
From The Sidelines?
The Wednesday NetWORK – Meet the new email newsletter from NSWM curated just for you the first Wednesday of every month.
In order to sit at the table, there are many things involved. We at NSWM want to help you get there whether it’s featuring organizations looking for top talent such as yourself or providing you resume and interviewing tips to get you the management job you desire. The NetWORK will be everything work-related from job posts to resources on making a first impression to career development.
FEATURED ARTICLES FOR JOB SEEKERS & EMPLOYERS
For readers unfamiliar with Mental Health Association of Oregon, would you please take a few moments to describe the agency.
Mental Health Association of Oregon (soon to be doing business as “Mental Health and Addiction Association of Oregon”) is an inclusive peer-run non-profit that is dedicated to self-direction and honoring the voice of lived experience. In existence for over 35 years, the organization has recently experienced tremendous growth following the expansion of peer delivered services in Oregon. We provide a variety of services, all from a recovery perspective. MHAO has three departments: our direct peer recovery services through the EVOLVE East and EVOLVE West Departments and our Training, Technical Assistance, and Workforce Development Department.
Within our EVOLVE departments, our team of peer delivered services workers provide support in programs across a variety of settings: police behavioral health unit, jail, mental health court, DHS child welfare, hospital emergency department, a clinic that serves pregnant and postpartum women who are faced with addiction challenges, forensic diversion, supportive housing team, 911, inpatient unit for people experiencing medical crisis related to addiction challenges (e.g. endocarditis, liver failure, etc.), in addition to supporting individuals out in the community.
Our Training, Technical Assistance, and Workforce Development Department houses a national technical assistance center, peer delivered services workforce development coalition, training and innovations center, and annual regional conference. We educate systems and individuals on the power of peer delivered services and how to implement them. Through this work, we have done activities such as: supported Tribes to develop culturally-responsive peer trainings, provided scholarships to certification programs to promote employment, delivered numerous trainings, events, and presentations, engaged in national advocacy, developed peer programs in the Mariana Islands, and promoted the inclusion of peer voices nationwide.
MHAO is committed to promoting self-directed recovery and wellness for all individuals. We honor lived experiences. We support people wherever they are on their journey, free from judgment, or agenda. MHAO believes that recovery is possible for everyone. We support these aims through education, advocacy, recovery, direct peer services, training, technical assistance, community collaboration, and through development of the peer workforce and leadership.
What types of opportunities are available within MHAO in terms of employment opportunities for human service professionals?
MHAO has septupled in size over the past four years, and our growth continues. As we bring on new contracts and programs, additional positions open up. Typical positions that we hire for include peer support specialists, recovery mentors, and project coordinators. The positions that we hire for most frequently are direct service positions that require lived experience of mental health and/or addiction distress. On occasion, we also have administrative and management positions.
How is MHAO distinguished from others?
MHAO is a unique organization in that the majority of its positions require lived experience of mental health and/or addiction challenges. This also applies to positions that work with specific communities, like those who are justice-involved. For example, if a role will be supporting pregnant women who struggle with addiction, we would look for that lived experience in a candidate (or the ability to connect with that community) as well.
We believe that knowledge should come from the community, and those whom we serve are the experts on their own lives. This enables the organization to better provide respectful, responsive services.
Another characteristic that makes MHAO unique is that all of its direct services are entirely voluntary and provided at no cost to the service recipients. Services are funded through grants and contracts.
For those entering the job market what advice would you give them in terms of making a good impression and standing out from other applicants?
Remember that you are always representing yourself, whether it is on social media, public events, or in the workplace. Conduct yourself ethically and professionally.
Practice telling your “story” – who are you? What makes you a compelling candidate? In a concise way, how would you describe your relevant experience and skills?
Before submitting any materials for a job, ensure all documents are free of typos and tailored to the specific position for which you are applying. It takes time to customize each component but it is well worth the effort! Wherever possible, quantify your success (e.g. modifying “engaged in volunteer outreach” to “developed statewide outreach campaign that resulted in 150% increase in volunteer advocates across 10 sites”).
Be prepared – research the organization and position you are applying for and think about what questions you would like to ask during the interview process. Do your homework and gather as much information as you can to have a good understanding of the agency, mission, and position – this will also help with coming up with thoughtful questions.
Many people find it helpful to practice responding to common interview questions in advance (there are hundreds of lists of frequently asked questions on the internet!).
Regardless of the stage a person is at in their career, self-care and a work/life balance is important, especially in social work! We need to take care of ourselves not only to be able to effectively do our jobs but also to be doing well as human beings.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about employment with MHAO?
I invite anyone with questions about Mental Health Association of Oregon or peer delivered services to contact me, Adrienne Scavera:
(503) 922-2377 x106
Have you utilized The Network for Social Work Management as a resource in the past? If yes, how so? Did you find it effective? If no, are you planning to do so in the future?
I have! I am a member of The Network for Social Work Management. It has positively influenced my practice through its provision of management resources and tools.
MHAO is committed to promoting self-directed recovery and wellness for all individuals. We honor lived experiences. We support people wherever they are on their journey, free from judgment, or agenda. We support these aims through education, advocacy, recovery, peer services, training, technical assistance, community collaboration, and through developing peer workforce and leadership.