"We must open the doors of opportunity. But we must also equip our people to walk through those doors."
-President Lyndon Baines Johnson - Special Message to Congress: The American Promise March 1965
History of Opportunities Unlimited
Stairways Behavioral Health has always supported client work and vocational activity as an integral part of rehabilitation and recovery. Historically, Stairways operated programs such as Grime Fighters, Creative Catering, and the Posy Peddler, to provide employment opportunities for clients to earn income while developing the skills necessary in the "world of work". In addition, over the years Stairways has founded several Fairweather Lodges, wherein resident clients take on significant leadership roles in managing their home (lodge).
One requirement for residency in a Lodge is that the member must participate in work or volunteer activity. To assist with the work requirement, a Fairweather Lodge custodial business was created and Stairways contracted with this business to clean SBH buildings which assured FWL residents of employment in order to execute these contracts. The end result was that clients were living in Stairways housing, cleaning Stairways buildings and receiving their payroll checks from Stairways.
Opportunities Unlimited of Erie was formed in July 2006 and is governed by a separate Board of Directors, as defined in the OU By-Laws. Stairways Behavioral Health has provided some financial and administrative support since then. Today, Opportunities Unlimited has greatly expanded the number of clients and customers who are served by the company, the number of business lines offered and has become a designated Employment Network. These strategies are intended to result in an increase in revenue which is needed to continue to grow the organization and the numbers of individuals served.
Currently all positions are part time, but it the goal of the company is to establish full time positions that are supported by full benefits packages. Creation of these positions will rely on company growth and financial viability.
Link to OU Board Members