Occupational Therapy Helps Residents Find Jobs

At Alexian Brothers Bonaventure House, we take a comprehensive approach that combines housing services with case management, recovery support, occupational therapy, spiritual care, and an aftercare program to continue support for residents as they leave. Our occupational therapy (OT) program aims to build the life skills needed for successful independent living.

Recently our OT team has focused a couple of new initiatives on helping residents who are looking for employment. Occupational therapist Brad Egan, OTD, OTR/L, has started a biweekly group to discuss employment issues. The other member of the OT team, Ray Cendejas, COTA/L, provides individual support to residents between groups based on any issues identified there.

Brad has also developed a job board, which is posted in a high traffic area at
Bonaventure House just outside our family room (a lounge for residents). The bulletin board features a map of local businesses that are hiring.  

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Brad had a few words to share about the project:

The job board was created with the help of Midwestern University occupational therapy students completing their Level I psychosocial fieldwork course. It was created in part because of concerns case managers brought to our team about the number of clients on their caseloads who indicated they wanted to return to work but for some reason or another had not yet applied for jobs.

Our thought in creating the board was that we could feature businesses that were hiring within a two block radius to make the reality of getting a job seem more attainable and the process of finding a job a little more straightforward. It was actually quite interesting to find over 38 jobs in the immediate area. All very walkable, almost in our backyard

The transtheoretical model explores different stages of change. In this case, we were really focused on the individuals who were experiencing ambivalence about returning to work–those clients who are saying “I want to go back to work” but who are not really taking the little action steps (i.e. applying for jobs, looking for jobs, updating resumes).

We hoped that the intervention might be helpful in nudging some of those clients into action, especially when they saw how many opportunities were actually in the immediate area. Based on some anecdotal information, it appears that two residents have pursued jobs that were posted on the board.

We plan to update the job board every six or so weeks. And after another walk through our two block radius, there are already six more jobs to post.

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