Peer Recovery Specialist Program offers Job Training with Purpose

At Haymarket Center, we guide patients through every step of their recovery, including what recovery looks like after treatment when re-entering the job force. Through extensive training, our career navigation model takes an individualized look at the future professional paths of those in treatment. In addition to GED lessons, our Family Enrichment Center offers computer skills training, job-readiness training, and many other programs to help recovering patients secure employment and set themselves up for success.

Through a grant received from the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, Haymarket Center is now offering patients who have completed treatment the opportunity to pursue a career as a Certified Recovery Support Specialist. In addition to helping patients seeking meaningful employment, the program has a dual benefit of addressing the shortage of behavioral health professionals by training individuals with lived experience.

“For about 12-15 weeks, patients learn the ins and outs, earn their CEUs and receive training to become recovery specialists,” says Kimberley Watts, Family Enrichment Center Manager, “the goal is to train them in a purposeful way and help support our programs.”

This program helps to alleviate some of the employment barriers faced by those in recovery, as many patients who enter Haymarket for treatment are unemployed and have limited education. For this training, individuals only need their high school diploma or GED, which can be attained through our FEC. In order to receive their certification, individuals must participate in 100 hours of classroom education, 100 hours of hands-on supervised recovery support work, and 2,000 hours of work in the field.

What makes peer recovery specialists unique is their ability to connect with people struggling with substance use disorder because they have experienced of achieving sobriety firsthand. Those connections make all the difference in the lives of those seeking treatment. “So far, the participants in this program are doing an excellent job,” Kim says, “many of our clients feel as though Haymarket has been the foundation for their recovery, and this is an opportunity to give back to the programs that have helped them so much.”

Whether these trained professionals continue their career at Haymarket or move on to other opportunities to help the community, they are helping to increase access to services in the substance use disorder field. We are thankful to our Certified Recovery Specialists like Loretta and Melinda for not only their hard work as members of our staff, but also for their ability to make a greater impact on patients here at Haymarket Center. You can help us increase access to care for patients taking the next step in their path to recovery by making a gift today. Visit our Ways to Give page for more information on how you can support Haymarket Center.

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