Grant supports job-training services for people with mental illness and homeless veterans
Sheppard Pratt was awarded a $250,000 grant from the SunTrust Charitable Irrevocable Trust to pilot a workforce development project to help support jobs and promote financial well-being for Marylanders who are suffering from mental illness, including homeless veterans in Baltimore City. The grant is funding a one-year pilot period.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, this funding has been invaluable in keeping Sheppard Pratt’s vulnerable clients employed through services offered by Sheppard Pratt’s Vocational Services Program. The program has been able to enhance and expand its existing job-training services including:
- Assessing clients to pinpoint their vocational interests;
- Identifying basic skills required for the employment they seek;
- Providing skills training;
- Helping conduct job searches;
- Teaching clients to manage the symptoms of their mental illnesses; and
- Providing ongoing job coaching and troubleshoot issues that arise.
The program operates at eight of Sheppard Pratt’s vocational service sites throughout Maryland including Baltimore City, and Allegany, Baltimore, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Washington Counties for people with serious mental illness.
To date, nearly 350 clients have found gainful employment through the program. Most notably, 93% of these clients have remained employed despite a surge in unemployment nationwide as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grant also supported the purchase of commercial grade kitchen equipment to launch a culinary training program at the Veterans Services Center located in Fell’s Point in Baltimore City. The Center, which opened in 2018, helps service members who are homeless and/or experience mental illness address basic needs, including housing, job training and employment, and mental health and substance use. The culinary training program will help approximately 100 veterans per year build a path to meaningful employment. Meals prepared by trainees would feed more than 30 veterans and their family members each day. With an estimated 30,000 veterans in Baltimore City alone, the Veterans Services Center is a one-stop shop to meet the vital needs for housing, job training, employment, mental health, and substance use.
“The unexpected spread of COVID-19 and its accompanying economic challenges have made Sheppard Pratt’s vocational services more important than ever before. Support from SunTrust Charitable Irrevocable Trust has helped us expand access so that our clients can prepare for meaningful employment and live independent lives,” said Harsh K. Trivedi, MD, MBA, president and CEO of Sheppard Pratt. “Our statewide vocational programs help individuals in the community obtain the skills necessary to secure employment and continue to thrive, including for veterans and other vulnerable populations.”
In 2019, Sheppard Pratt provided vocational services to nearly 2,000 individuals in the community, 500 with serious mental illness. The health system provides the most comprehensive behavioral health care services in the nation, serving more than 70,000 people annually in more than 160 programs including inpatient and outpatient treatment, housing, education, job training, and rehabilitation among many others.
“Sheppard Pratt’s workforce development project aligns with SunTrust’s now Truist’s interest in advancing financial well-being in the communities we serve,” said Greg Farno, Truist’s Maryland President. “We are honored to play a role in supporting those in our community who experience mental illness in Maryland. We believe the project will benefit our business community by providing trained employees to meet the state’s workforce needs.”
About Sheppard Pratt
Sheppard Pratt is the largest private, nonprofit provider of mental health, substance use, developmental disability, special education, and social services in the country. A nationwide resource, Sheppard Pratt provides services across a comprehensive continuum of care, spanning both hospital- and community-based resources. Since its founding in 1853, Sheppard Pratt has been innovating the field through research, best practice implementation, and a focus on improving the quality of mental health care on a global level. Sheppard Pratt has been consistently ranked as a top national psychiatric hospital by U.S. News & World Report for more than 30 years.