Recovery Innovations Arizona

Peer Training & Employment

Recovery Innovations of Arizona believes that every person who wants to work can succeed in developing a meaningful career of their choice. The program begins with a 80-hour Peer Employment Training program that teaches people who have received services in the mental health system the skills and techniques of peer support. Students completing the class and passing the competency tests are eligible to apply to become META Certified Peer Support Specialists and are eligible for employment providing recovery education and peer support in various community mental health programs. Recently a special adaptation of the Recovery Innovations of Arizona publication, Peer Employment Training Workbook has been used to train and certify substance abuse peer support specialists. Although most of the funding is provided by Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration, pre-employment supports are funded through ValueOptions.

  • Over 600 students have graduated from the training during the past four years

  • 68% become employed as Peer Support Specialists in Recovery Innovations of Arizona programs and other mental health provider organizations in the community.

  • Peer Support Specialists provided over $6,000,000 in reimbursable services at Recovery Innovations of Arizona during 2006.

A recent study of the first 66 students trained published in Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, Winter 2006, conducted in collaboration with Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation:

"Participants experienced gains of perceived empowerment, attitudes toward recovery and self-concept. One hundred percent of the trainees went on to obtain positions within the mental health agency in which they received the training and 89 percent were still working 12 months after they were hired. Twenty nine percent of the jobs were full time; 52 percent part time and 19 percent were hourly. Conclusions: Findings suggest that a specific, manualized peer training program was able to improve participants’ recovery and employability. Current ongoing studies will investigate the peer providers' impact on their clients and the potential advantages to the agency and system that employs them."
(Bill Anthony, Lori Ashcraft, Eugene Johnson,