Team Employment: The community feedback period for this idea began on 12/12/2018 and ended on 2/10/2019. *STATUS UPDATE*

What is the problem that needs to be addressed? Please describe how it is related to mental health.

The Job Accommodation Network (a Department of Labor employer/employee publication) describes accommodations for many illnesses, including mental illnesses. Unlike a broken bone – a well understood disease process – mental illness has no timelines, nor definitive endpoints, excluding mortality. Upon reading the JAN accommodations, the recommended accommodation for mental illness is essentially self-employment. This sets up both employer and employee to fail. If you can divorce the reality from the policy


Why is this a concern for Orange County? What can Orange County and other counties learn from this project?

Orange County can benefit from research conducted by Google on what traits make a successful team ( The traits identified include: 1) Dependability 2) Structure and Clairity 3) Meaningfulness of work 4) Impact of work 5) Psychological safety net. Google is a very large employer with diverse teams and has the resources to conduct Human Resources studies like the one referenced above.


What is currently being done to resolve this problem in our county and throughout the United States? If applicable: Is it working; why or why not?

What is currently happening? An uncontrolled, undisciplined and disorganized mismatch of resources. Those able to maintain a “typical work week” while experiencing serious mental illness are rare. Employment opportunities that are available are typically “Individual contributor” types such as security guard (one of the most insane job options for someone experiencing mental illness), food preparation (another insane choice due to impaired sanitation, Call center, etc. Furthermore, the entire recruiting apparatus is geared towards screening for serious mental illness and subsequently not hiring those people. SSI/SSD/private disability insurance/unemployment, revenue streams are impaired for people experiencing mental illness.


What is new or different about this project idea? Please describe how this differs from what is already being done (Question 6). Please list any research that was done on this topic.

Form marketable groups of people experiencing mental illness that can work in the community while experiencing success. Orange County has made investments previously that are rare and enable quite a bit of exploration.


What is the project idea? Please describe how this project will operate.

Build teams of people experiencing serious mental illness. Instead of focusing on individual employment objectives, like janitorial, security guard, food service, etc. human resource professionals can experiment with pitching a group of people experiencing serious mental illness to the labor market. Hire as a team, not as an individual with an eye to how building a team. See what happens. An Institutional Review Board for human subject research is highly recommended.


Additional Information:



November 28, 2018


Thank you for your submission. The innovation team needs additional information to explore this proposed idea. Please elaborate on your responses as best as possible so that we may work through our review process.

  1. What would the learning objectives for this project be?
  2. How would you measure the success of this program?
  3. How do you envision this program being structured and run on a daily basis?

Thank you for your idea submission. Upon review and discussion, it was determined that this idea is similar to already existing peer led employment programs and it is unclear what new learning this project could contribute to the field of mental health. The Innovation team is unable to continue exploring this idea under the MHSA Innovation component as proposed.

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