GCB Staff Expert - Joyce Weddle
GCB Staff Expert – Joyce Weddle
Director of GCB Employment Services in Clermont County
Tell us about yourself – what was your path to GCB? Can you describe your role and how long have you worked here?
I am single, have resided in Clermont County for almost 40 years, and am a licensed social worker with a Masters degree. I spent half my career working with low income, pregnant clients in the county prior to joining GCB, where I have worked for almost 18 years. Growing up, my mother and sister experienced serious mental illness. I continue to assist my sister in managing her illness.
I oversee the mental health supported employment program as well as the Aspire Employment Services in Clermont County that helps people with substance abuse disorders gain employment. We also assist clients inside the Community Alternative Sentencing Center (CASC) in finding work, as well as refugees and immigrants seeking jobs. I also oversee ‘Ticket to Work,’ which is a program that helps beneficiaries return to work and get off of social security.
How did you become interested in your field?
I credit my mother, who lived by the golden rule and always put others before herself, with inspiring me to do this work. I hadn’t planned on working in the mental health field because I had lived with it so closely, but when the opportunity became available, I actually felt it would be a great fit.
What do you love about your work here at GCB?
I love the passion of my team, and how committed and accepting they are of our clients. We really believe that ‘work is recovery, and recovery works.’ We are very integrated, particularly in Clermont County, and our programming is comprehensive. My sister, for example, had not worked in 20 years when she enrolled in our program. She was matched with a part-time job that she held for the next ten years.
What about your field or clients do you think more people should know?
Anyone can have a mental illness break; our clients range from not having a GED to those with graduate degrees. The challenge is to regain your role with work, family and community after all of your self-esteem may have been stripped away. A lot of them have lost all hope. We focus on their strengths, vs. deficits – what can you do, vs. what can’t you do. We tell them, we don’t have jobs – we have YOU. What did you want to do growing up? That’s where we start.
Our program won a national award for implementation of the supported employment model that we follow; it’s research-based and proven successful. One of the eight principles we follow is ‘zero exclusion,’ which means that even clients with active symptoms can work if they are willing, and supported. The assumption is that working is too stressful for clients, but in reality, not working can be even more stressful. Work provides purpose, but services must be integrated to produce positive outcomes.
What are the biggest trends in your area of expertise?
The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the community are embracing more and more that everyone who can, should be helped to work. Also, many funders are requiring outcomes, which impacts how we do services. Although the focus is on getting clients jobs, we also have to focus on the quality of services and integration. GCB has a rich history of being involved at the state level in the field of employment services, and we have had the opportunity to impact programming by providing information from the ground level.
What is life like outside of work?
I like to spend time on a farm in Kentucky with animals and the people I love. I enjoy playing with children, reading, attending church and maybe playing games online a bit. Every day is a gift!