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What is HYPE?

HYPE (Helping Youth on the Path to Employment)  is a manual-based program designed to support the career development of transition-aged youth and young adults with mental health conditions. HYPE modernizes the practices of Supported Employment (SE) and Supported Education (SEd) by prioritizing education early in a young adult’s career. HYPE’s integrated model of employment and education services addresses the unique career development needs of youth and young adults who are often working and going to school at the same time.  

Our Vision is that young adults with mental health conditions will have access to services and opportunities that promote professional development and economic independence in order to prevent disability.

Our Mission is to assist young adults with mental health conditions to develop the necessary skills and support needed to identify, choose, and achieve meaningful careers. 

Education Pays, data consistently demonstrates that as a person’s educational attainment rises, unemployment rates decrease and earnings increase.

chart showing wage vs unemployment by educational degree

Education Matters

  • Over 50% of students with mental health conditions over the age of 14 drop out of high school, resulting in them becoming the disability group with the highest dropout rate.
  • While approximately 40% of young adults in the general population attend college, the figure drops significantly to 7-26% for those with mental health conditions.
  • College dropout rates for students with mental health conditions soar at 86%, underscoring significant barriers to completion compared to their peers.
  • Despite these challenges, education serves as a crucial shield against unemployment and poverty, as evidenced by consistent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics each year (see graph).

Why HYPE is Needed

HYPE is designed to address the pervasive underemployment and unemployment of transition age youth and young adults by designing supports and strategies to help successfully launch them into lifelong career trajectories. At a pivotal juncture between leaving secondary education and entering the workforce, transition-aged youth benefit from specialized guidance to navigate this critical phase of their lives.

How does HYPE achieve its mission?

Trained HYPE providers offer intentional supports aimed at maximizing academic performance, increasing persistence, and minimizing the disruptions young adults with mental health conditions typically encounter in school and work. Through a holistic approach, HYPE develops critical skills, connects young adults to valuable resources, and educates them on accommodations and assistive technology to advocate for their needs. Recognizing education as a vital vocational step, HYPE honors further education as crucial for achieving economic self-sufficiency and long-term career satisfaction.

The 5 Pillars of HYPE

1. Intentional Services

Tailored to the specific, evolving needs of young adults who are discovering their vocational aspirations, service provision is intentionally centered on the development of human capital and based in a strong therapeutic alliance. HYPE practitioners intentionally cultivate aspirational education and employment goals and encourage exploration. A HYPE practitioner cultivates the awareness of the benefits to higher education as a key vocational step to achieving long-term employment outcomes, and contextualizes the work of every session to young adult goals.  

2. Goal Development & Refinement

Goal Development is a cornerstone to HYPE services, as young adult vocational goals, centered in career values, interests, and strengths, direct all activities of HYPE. Recognizing that it is age-typical for young adults to revise goals as they engage in ongoing exploration of preferences and interests in work and school, young adults are supported to continue to refine career goals that are personally meaningful and lead to economic self-sufficiency. HYPE embodies a strong and early emphasis on higher education and training that further career development, reflected in it's approach to goal planning.  

3. Skill Development

HYPE goals are aspirational and actionable, and HYPE practitioners work to equip young adults with essential skills for both academic and professional success. A focus on skill development in service to important career goals fosters growth and adaptability in diverse environments that have specific and sometimes changing expectations. HYPE is committed to the development of critical executive functioning skills and strategies to overcome cognitive challenges. Research shows that the development of these key skills and strategies increases the likelihood of persistence in school by 6 times.  

4. Resource Development

Identifying and linking young adults to naturally occurring supports and services within their communities to support the entrance into and maintenance of employment and education and enhances community integration. HYPE services do not duplicate existing supports on campus or in the young adults’ communities. HYPE works to support the use of services and resources and intentionally enhances the collaboration of services to best serve the young adult.  

5. Accommodations & Assistive Technology (AAT) Education and Advocacy

In both school and work, accommodations allowed by law to ensure equal access are underutilized by young adults with mental health conditions. HYPE practitioners work with young adults and relevant resources to identify the functional implications or ways in which mental health conditions affect the young adult in vocational environments, and the pertinent AAT that support access and success in work and school. HYPE providers teach skills of advocacy and support young adults to get the AAT they need to persist in educational and employment settings.  

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The Importance of Executive Functioning Skills Training

Within the framework of HYPE's five pillars, executive functioning skills training holds a critical role in equipping young adults with the skills needed to thrive across various roles and environments. These skills, including task prioritization, time management, and problem-solving, are essential for success in both work and school. Recognizing their significance, HYPE places a strong emphasis on nurturing these skills through targeted interventions and support mechanisms.

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Focused Skills and Strategies Training (FSST) 

As an essential part of HYPE services, FSST provides a tested, manualized curriculum designed to systematically teach executive functioning skills and promote self-regulated learning and self-management that best support academic and employment success. FSST empowers young adults and the providers supporting them to navigate academic and employment challenges with confidence.

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Additional HYPE Offerings

The HYPE model has expanded with several adaptations resulting in the creation of:

HYPE on Campus, a tested model in which HYPE is embedded directly on a college campus, showed an increase in the number of classes and credits taken. 

HYPE Career Planning Courses, a manualized group intervention focused on career preparation.

Interested in HYPE?

Our team works collaboratively with organizations, colleges, universities, and more to create and implement a training and implementation plan that is specific to each organization.