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Integrated services help people find professional and personal success

“People who struggle with mental health and chemical health should be included in this society” and “have an avenue’” to build careers, Rep. Hodan Hassan (DFL-Mpls) told the House Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division Tuesday.

She sponsors HF605, which could help meet this goal by supporting the work of Avivo, a nonprofit that provides chemical and mental health services integrated with career training and employment supports.

The bill, held over for possible omnibus bill inclusion, would appropriate $600,000 in Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021 to help support the organization’s career education and job skills training programs.

A companion, SF827, is sponsored by Sen. Paul Anderson (R-Plymouth) and awaits action by the Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy Committee.

The combination of supports helps people who may have struggled in other programs to improve their sense of self-worth and find long-term success, President and CEO Kelly Matter said.

The nonprofit, formerly known as RESOURCE, has operated in the Twin Cities since the 1960s. It serves low-income individuals and families struggling with “multiple, systemic barriers” to education and employment who might not meet the criteria for other workforce placement programs, Matter said.

Avivo has a licensed career school and offers eight education and technical training programs focused on accounting support, manufacturing, IT support, maintenance and custodial work, mechatronics, medical office support, office support, and warehouse operations.

Courses provide industry certifications as well as job skills and range from three weeks to six months and has locations in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and St. Cloud.

Avivo’s business partnership council has members representing nearly 200 employers, including Marsden Services, Allina Health, Park Nicollet Health Services, Wells Fargo, and U.S. Bank. These partners help to shape the program’s curriculum and also provide internships and jobs to program graduates, Matter said.

The program has begun serving people for longer periods of time, which costs more money per client, and wants to begin introducing employment earlier into the treatment process. Funding from the legislature would help meet both of these goals, Matter said.

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