Vocational Program Description


The Olympia House Vocational Program offers services for adults with substance abuse problems who desire vocational training and support while maintaining sobriety. Individuals in early recovery face a variety of issues as they begin to create a clean and sober life. A primary component in building self-esteem and functioning as an independent adult is the ability to financially support oneself.

The vocational program meets 5 days per week for 4 ½ hours per day and last for 3 months.  The program is designed to provide both one-on-one and group assistance to those who want to develop job skills or need assistance in preparing to pursue academic training.  The daily schedule consists of both rehabilitation groups and skill training.  Clients can choose either the IT track or carpentry track.

Services are provided by a trained alcohol and drug counselor who acts as the vocational counselor to work with the client to develop a completely customized program based upon the goals of the individual. With a focus on wellness and recovery in all aspects of one’s life, the Olympia House Vocational Program supports people in their journey to sobriety.

Overview of Services

Located in the heart of Sonoma County, Olympia House Vocational Program is based at a facility adjacent to the Olympia House residential program, surrounded by more than 140 acres of lush agricultural land. Services may be provided on-site or off-site at a mutually agreeable location. The facility consists of a fully operational workshop and classroom area that allows for training in the areas of carpentry and information technology.

Services include:

    • Hands-on technical skill development
    • Educational training
    • Basic work skills
    • Placement assistance

Olympia House also values the contributions of family members and treatment providers who have established relationships with the individuals we serve. Family is defined however the individual being served determines it. Every effort is made to incorporate family input into the recovery process whenever this has been included into the individual recovery plan.

Olympia House also attempts to incorporate outside treatment providers into the individual recovery plan based upon the wishes of the person served. We believed that continuity of care can be an important factor in the ongoing recovery process.

Vocational Recovery Plan

The process begins with an initial assessment that includes history of substance use, mental health issues, legal issues, family and social issues, housing and employment, educational and medical issues, and identification of desired supports. As the individual works with our staff in the development of their unique vocational recovery plan, the specific goals are identified.

Based upon the vocational recovery plan, individuals may spend several hours per week learning how to use woodworking or plumbing tools on building projects. They may also receive several hours of classroom-based training, learning about the trade they have chosen and regulations associated with the trade. Toward the end of the program, they may receive assistance in resume writing, interviewing skills, and job searching.

The Olympia House Vocational Program, like the other Olympia House programs, follows a “whatever it takes” approach to assist the individual in creating a satisfying, clean and sober life.

Program Goals and Objectives

The goals of the program are determined by the individual and may include:

  • Acquisition of basic work skills
  • Acquisition of specific trade skills
  • Linkage and assistance with educational pursuits
  • Resume writing and job searching
  • Interviewing skills
  • Acquisition of budgeting and money management skills
  • Assistance and linkage to needed services and benefits

List of Services

In support of the goals of this program, the following services are provided:


Individuals who express interest in joining the vocational program are provided with an initial assessment performed by a member of the vocational staff. The assessment will evaluate the individual’s needs from their point of view. When appropriate input from family or other significant persons may be included in the assessment. Based upon this assessment the person served and vocational counselor will discuss whether the program can meet the individual’s needs. The vocational counselor and person served will then discuss whether or not the vocational program might assist in meeting the identified needs. If it appears appropriate a start date is established when the individual will meet again with the vocational counselor to begin development of their recovery plan.

Recovery Plan Development

The Olympia House Vocational Program believes that recovery planning must include a vision of the “total person” and support recovery and wellness. Alcohol and substance use, physical and mental well-being, employment, housing, self-management, relationships, vocational, educational, financial and natural supports shall all be considered when establishing the plan.

The process includes:

      • A collaborative planning process with the individual and Olympia house Vocational Program staff to determine the goals and objectives that the individuals would like to accomplish while enrolled.
      • Services that the program will provide to support the individual’s identified goals and objectives.
      • Responsibilities of the individual to work towards his/her goals and objectives.
      • Anticipated completion date of each.

Individual Vocational Counselor Meetings

Each person served is assigned to a vocational counselor upon admission. The person served and vocational counselor shall meet at least once per week to specifically review progress made on the recovery plan. At this time progress towards goals and as well as obstacles to achieving the goals are identified. Changes to the plan may be made at this time. The frequency of the individual vocational counselor meetings shall be defined in the recovery plan.

General Work Skill Training

Individuals receiving work skills training will be provided with education on the expectations of employers from their employees. Individuals will then have the ability to demonstrate their understanding and ability to meet expectations as they begin to treat their training as employment. Obstacles to meeting these expectations can then be discussed in a solution-focused approach to assist in achieving the goal.

Specific Trade Skills Training

Individuals may receive individual and /or group training in a specific trade. Training will include both didactic as well as hands on learning. The specific trade objectives will be outlined in the recovery plan with the goal of learning skills necessary to obtain entry level employment in specific trade identified.

Educational Linkage

Individuals may work with the vocational counselor in exploring and pursuing educational goals. Meetings will occur as outlined in the recovery plan and specific objectives noted.

Pre-Employment Training

Individuals who are nearing completion of their vocational goals and individuals who specifically need assistance with pre-employment skills, and interviewing skills. Services may be provided individually or in a group setting.

Budgeting and Money Management

Individuals may work with the vocational counselor to learn how to create a personal budget and manage their money. The vocational counselor will not provide direct money management services, however may act as a liaison with family or other funding assistance and/or advocating for the individual being served to determine to what degree the individual’s actual cash management was in accordance with the budget.

Linkage to Needed Services and Benefits

In the event an individual is need of other support services or entitlement benefits, the vocational counselor will work with the individual in exploring what is available and guiding the individual in pursuing the needed benefits or services.

Random Drug and Alcohol Testing

Persons served may undergo random drug and alcohol testing to assist the individual in maintaining sobriety. Positive results, or refusals to test, will be explored individually with the individual to assess obstacles to maintaining sobriety, steps needed to strengthen relapse prevention strategies, and address ambivalence to sustained recovery.

Peer Support

Individuals enrolled in the program are encouraged to attend any of the various recovery peer support groups to support their sobriety during the program.

Collateral Services

Olympia House IOP staff will seek collateral information, consultation and referral to the degree requested by the resident. We believe that continuity of care is vital to the success of someone’s recovery and invite ongoing providers to remain involved in the treatment of the individual during their participation in the Olympia House Case Management Program.

Discharge Planning and Aftercare Services

Staff will work with the individual to determine the appropriate plan for discharge. This shall include determining next steps in occupational training, obtaining a position, next steps in the beginning educational pursuits, etc. Persons served are encouraged to contact the vocational counselor at least monthly for six months after discharge to discuss goals achieved or to problem obstacles encountered.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for admission, individuals must be age 18 or older and have a substance use disorder. Additionally, individuals will be screened according to the admission criteria. The Olympia house Vocational Program is a voluntary program, so it is important that individuals understand what the program has to offer and that they want this assistance.  If you are interested in this program, please contact us for more information.