County of Alameda

Employment Specialist I, BHCS (#6781)

Bargaining Unit: SEIU 1021 - Social Workers (005)
$31.62-$37.80 Hourly / $2,371.50-$2,835.00 BiWeekly /
$5,138.25-$6,142.50 Monthly / $61,659.00-$73,710.00 Yearly

Under close supervision, to assist adults with severe mental illness in obtaining and maintaining competitive employment consistent with their vocational goals; and to do related work as required.


Employment Specialist I is the entry level and Employment Specialist II is the journey level of this class series. Incumbents provide services to clients assigned to the Vocational Program in the Alameda County Department of Behavioral Health Care Services. Employment Specialists deliver specialized employment services to a targeted client population who have severe mental illness and co-occurring disorders and provide follow-along support and job coaching in addition to job placement services. Incumbents are assigned various duties related to obtaining competitive employment for clients, including engaging, assessing, preparing, placing, and coaching clients.

Employment Specialists report to and receive direction from a Senior Employment Specialist. The Employment Specialist I is distinguished from the Employment Specialist II in that the Employment Specialist I requires close supervision during training whereas the Employment Specialist II exercises more independent judgment in the delivery of services.

These classes are flexibly staffed and the Employment Specialist I is expected to flexibly promote to the higher level upon demonstrating proficiency through satisfactory performance during the six-month training period.

NOTE: The following are the duties performed by employees in this classification. However, employees may perform other related duties at an equivalent level. Each individual in the classification does not necessarily perform all duties listed.

1.  Engages clients and establishes trusting, collaborative relationships directed toward the goal of competitive employment in community job settings with other workers without mental health disabilities.

2.  Assists clients in obtaining information about their benefits (e.g., SSI, Medicaid, etc.) and how they will be affected by employment in order for clients to make good decisions about employment opportunities. Refers clients to benefits counseling, as needed.

3.  Assesses clients' vocational functioning on an ongoing basis utilizing background information and work experiences. With the client's permission, provides education and support to family members. Discusses client's preference for disclosure of psychiatric status to employers. Assists and supports clients in making career decisions, setting
training and employment goals and identifying and implementing strategies to achieve goals.

4.  Assists clients in preparing resumes, master applications, cover letters, and job applications; instructs clients in job seeking strategies and interview techniques.

5.  Conducts job development and job search activities directed toward positions that are individualized to the interests and uniqueness of the people on his/her caseload, following the principles and procedures of Individualized Placement and Support (IPS) Supported Employment.

6.  Conducts a minimum of six face-to-face employer contacts per week. Employer contacts are designed to learn about the needs of the business, describe supports offered by the program and describe client strengths that are relevant to the position.

7.  Provides individualized follow-along supports to assist clients in maintaining employment and, occasionally, provides job coaching.

8.  Provides education and support to employers as agreed upon by clients that may include negotiating job accommodations and follow-along contact with the employer.

9.  Provides outreach services as necessary to clients when they appear to disengage from the service. Uses a variety of methods to provide outreach.

10. Attends weekly meetings with mental health treatment team and communicates individually with team members between meetings in order to coordinate and integrate vocational services into mental health treatment.

11. Has face-to-face meetings with Vocational Program Rehabilitation Counselors weekly and meets with Department of Rehabilitation Counselors at least once a month to coordinate services for clients.

12. Completes a Vocational Profile with the client; discusses the plan for employment with mental health worker and other treatment team providers and updates it quarterly. Develops job support plans with the client using input from the client, mental health workers, family members, past employment experiences and information about current job.

13. Spends 65% or more of scheduled work hours in the community providing direct services such as meeting clients at home, in the workplace, at a coffee shop, library, or other location in the community; taking clients to apply for jobs, research local GED programs or colleges, etc.

14. Establishes and maintains effective communication and working relationships with clients, their families, schools, employers, community organizations, other outside agencies and the general public.

15. Completes a variety of documents including case notes, letters, and reports and
completes a variety of forms to monitor client’s progress; completes all required documentation to maximize program accountability and funding; maintains consistent practice and procedures, and compliance with mandated guidelines.



The equivalent of two years of full time experience performing a combination of functions related to the vocational counseling and rehabilitation job solicitation and placement of adults with severe mental illness, substance use disorder, or co-occurring disorders, or the recruitment or sourcing of employers within the business community.


(Substitution: Possession of Bachelor’s degree from a recognized college or university in the field of sociology, psychology, rehabilitation, counseling, business administration, marketing, or a closely-related social science field may be substituted for one year of the required experience.)



Possession of a valid California Motor Vehicle operator’s license is required for both levels.


NOTE: The Civil Service Commission may modify the above Minimum Qualifications in the announcement of an examination.


NOTE: The level and scope of the following knowledge and abilities are related to duties listed under the “Examples of Duties” section of this specification.

Knowledge of:

  • Principles of vocational and employment counseling and training.
  • Educational and experience requirements for a wide variety of jobs and employment opportunities.
  • County, State, and Federal laws governing employment, labor conditions, American Disabilities Act guidelines and public welfare.
  • Social Security Administration Work Incentives.
  • Principles, practices and techniques of marketing, job development and client placement.
  • Outreach program development, implementation and evaluation.
  • Computer applications related to the work.


Ability to:

  • Interview, counsel, and maintain effective working relations with clients, family members, employers, schools, county staff and other agencies.
  • Develop individualized, practical and effective employment training plans.
  • Understand terms and best practices in both mental health and drug and alcohol treatment. 
  • Develop and update curriculums with current career and employment resources.
  • Effectively market and represent a program, its clients and services to employers.
  • Work with a diverse client population.
  • Communicate clearly and effectively, both orally and in writing.
  • Administer examinations and draw valid conclusions from their results.
  • Work cooperatively and effectively with community agencies, service providers, school
    officials, and the public.
  • Write clear and concise reports.

SSA: 2/77
sj Retyped: 3/85
TT:pb Revised: 12/86
Old document: 0669h
New document: 6781-6782.doc
CSC Date: 12/30/86
TE:pf Rev. 2/11/02
CSC Date: 12/4/02
SG:po Revised 7/16/09
CSC Date: 8/12/09
RY:cs Revised/Retitled 02/14/13
Old Title: Vocational Services Specialist I/II
CSC Date: 3/20/13
RE:ac Revised 1/31/19
CSC Date: 5/22/19


Alameda County offers a comprehensive and competitive benefits package that affords wide-ranging health care options to meet the different needs of a diverse workforce and their families. We also sponsor many different employee discount, fitness and health screening programs focused on overall well being.  These benefits include but are not limited to*:

For your Health & Well-Being

  • Medical – HMO & PPO Plans
  • Dental – HMO & PPO Plans
  • Vision or Vision Reimbursement
  • Share the Savings
  • Basic Life Insurance 
  • Supplemental Life Insurance (with optional dependent coverage for eligible employees) 
  • County Allowance Credit
  • Flexible Spending Accounts - Health FSA, Dependent Care and Adoption Assistance
  • Short-Term Disability Insurance
  • Long-Term Disability Insurance
  • Voluntary Benefits - Accident Insurance, Critical Illness, Hospital Indemnity and Legal Services
  • Employee Assistance Program

For your Financial Future

  • Retirement Plan - (Defined Benefit Pension Plan)
  • Deferred Compensation Plan (457 Plan or Roth Plan)

For your Work/Life Balance

  • 12 paid holidays
  • Floating Holidays
  • Vacation and sick leave accrual
  • Vacation purchase program
  • Catastrophic Sick Leave
  • Group Auto/Home Insurance
  • Pet Insurance
  • Commuter Benefits Program
  • Guaranteed Ride Home
  • Employee Wellness Program (e.g. At Work Fitness, Incentive Based Programs, Gym Membership Discounts)
  • Employee Discount Program (e.g. theme parks, cell phone, etc.)
  • Child Care Resources
  • 1st United Services Credit Union 

*Eligibility is determined by Alameda County and offerings may vary by collective bargaining agreement.  This provides a brief summary of the benefits offered and can be subject to change.


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