Governor LePage Honored by National Organization for Employment Efforts

November 17, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011
Contact: Adrienne Bennett (207) 287-2531

Governor LePage with High Hopes Clubhouse members and staff.

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul LePage was inducted as a Project Employer Advisory Board Honoree during the third annual National Employment Expansion Project celebration in Washington, D.C. Wednesday. The Governor received the honor for his involvement and dedication to the High Hopes Clubhouse in Waterville.

The National Employment Expansion Project honored Governor LePage during their National Employment Celebration on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. where more than 200 people attended including dozens of business leaders and members and staff of the Waterville and Augusta Clubhouses. The mission of the High Hopes Clubhouse of Waterville and the Capitol Clubhouse of Augusta is to provide people with mental illness educational, social and employment opportunities.

Lisa Soucie, Director of the High Hopes Clubhouse, congratulated Governor LePage saying, “The Governor’s shared vision that a job is more than work but a part of a person’s identity has assisted with many of our members’ rehabilitation and recovery from mental illness. Governor LePage has supported the Clubhouse by assisting in job development, attending the Clubhouse, transporting members and attending clubhouse functions such as the National Employment Expansion Project.”

“This is a program that I stand behind 100%,” the Governor said. “When I look at my involvement with the High Hopes Clubhouse in Waterville, it’s not about me getting any recognition or accolades – it’s all about the people who are participating in this program.”

Governor LePage has been involved with High Hopes Clubhouse since opening in 1997. As a member of the Advisory Board he recognized the Clubhouse focuses on the importance of persons living with mental illness having an opportunity to enter the workforce and decrease or eliminate public benefits, therefore becoming self sufficient. Additionally, Governor LePage offered and supported the first Transitional Employment (TE) site when he was General Manager of Marden’s and then as Mayor of Waterville. It’s estimated that the Governor has worked with hundreds of Clubhouse members, many of whom returned to the workforce, by utilizing the opportunities that Governor LePage helped to provide.

The Maine Clubhouses incorporate a comprehensive approach to helping people with mental illness gain employment. Members choose the level of support, both on and off the job. Clubhouses assist members through the process of securing and maintaining gainful employment. In all Clubhouse employment, the member is an employee of the company, earns a competitive wage, and receives a pay check directly from the company. All work takes place at the company’s place of business, Clubhouses offer support through Independent Employment (IE) Supported Employment (SE) and Transitional Employment (TE).

On Wednesday, the Governor also presented awards to staff of Lakewood Continuing Care, of Inland Hospital in Waterville and Fairfield Inn & Suites of Augusta on behalf of the National Employment Expansion Project. Governor LePage commended both businesses saying, “I know personally that hiring Clubhouse members is a good business decision. In Addition, you are setting an example as an excellent community partner and helping people with psychiatric disabilities to build their confidence and work experience. I know these jobs can transform people’s lives.”

About The National Employment Expansion Project: The National Employment Expansion Project is a multifaceted approach to expanding employment opportunities for Clubhouse member across the United States while raising the positive visibility of members’ employment success. The Project combines strategic relationship building with employers, use of technology to identify employment opportunities and sustained public recognition with the media, policy makers, employers, and rehabilitative Clubhouses.

Photo: Governor LePage with members and staff of the High Hopes Clubhouse in Waterville at the National Employment Expasion Project in Washington, D.C. Wednesday.

Governor LePage with Capitol Clubhouse members and staff.

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