Employment Services Expand to Serve Youth

Looking for work is a big job – a job that becomes even bigger when you face barriers, like a lack of self-confidence, lapses in work history, or underdeveloped people skills. Fortunately, big jobs are the perfect fit for Guild’s Employment Services team.

Program Highlight: Employment Services and Team Photo

Resume Writing as Confidence-Builder

Employment Specialists take what can feel like a daunting task and turn it into a confidence-building opportunity. “It’s amazing when we help someone put together a resume,” says Peggy Darmody, Employment Services Manager. “People often say, ‘Wow, I can’t believe that’s me – I’ve never seen my experience written down on paper that way.’” Resume creation is often the first step in breaking down the fear that can easily set in when people have had to leave the workforce to take care of their mental health.

Addressing Employment Gaps

Employment gaps are often a significant stressor because people begin to doubt their abilities and because they’re not sure how to talk about periods of unemployment. By working with both employers and clients, Employment Specialists help to bridge that gap. “Some people don’t have the people skills to connect with employers or figure out how to explain their employment history,” Peggy explains. “Employment Specialists must have a unique skill set: they need to be able to work as effectively with employers as they do with clients.”

Working with Employers and Job Seekers

Weekly meetings with potential employers are a requirement for Employment Specialists, providing an opportunity for them to learn about available jobs and to create partnerships. They also meet with existing employers – those who employ individuals served by Guild –to provide ongoing support with a focus on retention. From Peggy’s perspective, the approach creates a win-win, “All employers have individuals that are dealing with mental health challenges,” she says. “Some of them just don’t know it.” By working together – Employee, Employer, and Employment Specialist – workplace challenges can be discussed, and support needs identified and implemented.

Quote from Ken, individual receiving Employment Services: "Every day that I go to work, I realize that I do get a lot of self-confidence out of it. I do matter. People do enjoy my company."

Value of Ongoing Support, Ken’s Story

Ongoing support is critical in helping people maintain employment in the competitive workforce. This was especially true for Ken who had a job in retail, but found the environment created significant stress, exacerbating his mental health symptoms. Employment Specialist, Ellie, worked with Ken to create an employment plan based on his interests, strengths, and preferences and to find a job that reflected his goals. He works in a group home now and recently celebrated his two-year employment anniversary. ““Every day that I go to work, I realize that I do get a lot of self-confidence out of it,” he says of his life today. “I do matter. People do enjoy my company.”

Expanding Services to More Adults and to Youth!

Ken’s sentiment echoes what Peggy maintains about the value of employment in recovery: “Working gives people the chance to be productive, to create structure and routine, and to make new friends.” It’s one of the reasons she’s excited to see the work expand. Thanks to an Innovation Grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Guild’s Employment team has expanded to bring services to more adults and to start something new – providing services to youth.  Working with youth is a prospect that Peggy finds invigorating: “We’ll have the opportunity to shape future workers and link that – earlier on – with recovery.”


Ways You Can Help:

Help Us Connect with Employers: Are you an employer or do you know an employer who might be interested in partnering with our Employment Services Team? Contact our Employment Services Program Manager.

Help Us Reach $5,000 in Matching Funds for Employment Services: Give to the Max on November 15.

Join Our Team: We have an Employment Specialist position available. Learn more about the job.


More About Guild’s Employment Services:

  • Provides help and support to individuals — using the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model and a person-centered approach — so they can find, get, and keep jobs in the competitive labor market.
  • Number of teams: 1
  • Counties served: Dakota, Ramsey, and Scott
  • Accepts referrals from: Guild Incorporated’s Targeted Case Management and Delancey Services, Scott County Targeted Case Management, Mental Health Targeted Case Management providers in Dakota County, Youth Innovations – School Districts, Link Drop In Center, and Lincoln Place.



October 25, 2018

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