Peer Workforce Development

For more information, please contact Eric Metcalf, Director of Peer Workforce Development,
at [email protected], or by phone at (630) 752-0066.




Are you interested in a career in the behavioral health field? Our Peer Workforce Development Program prepares individuals living with a mental health condition for employment in the behavioral healthcare field as a Recovery Support Specialist.

What is a Recovery Support Specialist?

Recovery Support Specialists perform a unique role in the specialty of heathcare and human services and can work in a variety of settings, using various approaches to provide supportive services with a wide range of populations.

Information from IDHS about the CRSS program: CLICK HERE

How Does It Work?
  • NAMI DuPage partners with local colleges who offer the education to students seeking to become a Certified Recovery Support Specialists (C-RSS).
  • As a part of their education, students are required to complete 300 internship hours. This is a paid internship through the school’s federal grant.
  • NAMI DuPage is a placement site for students to complete an internship with us!
  • After completing the eduational requirement and the internship hours, students may then seek certification, to become a Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS) which evaluates a student’s professional competency for recovery support specialists. Certification through the Illinois Certification Board is granted to those who demonstrate that they have met the minimum professional standards.

To view an in-depth look at your local college CRSS program, click on one of the links below:

College of DuPage

Elgin Community College

Northern Illinois University

What does a CRSS-Internship at NAMI DuPage entail?
  • Students complete an on-site 32-hour training to learn what it means to be a Recovery Support Specialist at NAMI DuPage, entails real-life scenarios, role playing, discussion and activities
  • Shadowing in our Living Room, an alternative to the emergency room for those in crisis; learning to do 1:1 Peer support sessions; visit various parter field-sites for hands-on learning to provide peer support and education, and more
  • Receive mentoring and support through from our Peer Workforce Development Team during the internship
  • Enrollment in our re-vamped Work Readiness course called Level-Up class (more information below)

Yes, you can! We train individuals who are interested in getting trained to provide 1:1 peer support.


All applicants for the CRSS Internship and RSS Trained Peers must complete an application. This is received and reviewed through our Volunteer/Internship Department. 



*Be sure to scroll to bottom of application page to the “Internship Application”

what is level up?

Level 1  – If you are unemployed and want to work, join us for a 1-hour weekly workshop to discuss workforce readiness—resume-building tips, interviewing tips, principles of mental health well-being, plus more.

Level 2  – If you are employed 0-90 days on the job and would like support on sustaining your employment, join us for a 1-hour weekly workshop to discuss stress management – knowing your resources, chain of command, principles of mental health well-being, plus more.

Level 3 – If you have 90 days or more on your job and would like support sustaining your employment, join us for a bi-monthly workshop to discuss accessing and adjusting to work demands, mental compartmentalization techniques, and career development track.

Level Up Classes* work readiness classes are designed to educate and support individuals living with a mental health condition who need the extra support to seek, obtain, and maintain employment. These classes were designed to Level Up your career goals!

Individuals will work with our WorkForce Developmenet (WFD) Team to determine their background in terms of education, skill sets, and other capabilities. The WFD Team mentor will match individual participants to the employment area most suited to the participant’s goals, skills, and preferences. Job mentors will help place individuals in community employment and continue to provide support to program participants after placement.

Adults living with a mental health condition may take the FREE class.

*The class is a requirement for individuals in the CRSS Internship with NAMI DuPage.

Join us for an Introductory Meet & Greet

WHEN: Tentatively July – Date Coming Soon!
WHERE: Community Center
TIME: 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

If you are unable to attend in person, a zoom link will be available to join remotely.

For more information and to sign up, please get in touch with Shuchi Srivastava at [email protected].


NAMI DuPage & Goodwill Workforce

NAMI DuPage has partnered with Goodwill Workforce to bring you Employment Workshops! These workshops will provide specific insight into topics relating to the workforce.

When: 3rd Monday of the month
Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Where: Zoom


Story #1

Fulfilling my CRSS internship requirement with NAMI DuPage has been an opportunity to experience the numerous avenues it takes and be part of the greater nationwide NAMI team and mission. It takes an entire squad to keep one of biggest branches of NAMI up and running. NAMI provides advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives. As an intern, you will have moments from working with guests, preparing for events, working within the community, sharing the NAMI message all-the-while gaining experience helping others and growing within oneself.

My personal experience has been one of self-improvement through personal development and better understanding of mental wellness.

Story #2


I gained an experience that I did not know that could change my life and provide a better standpoint in the recovery of Peers and I enjoy helping them in their path of Recovery.


Local Job & Apprenticeship Links

LinkedIn – Build a free profile and search for jobs

Naperville Library – Jobs & Careers Resources

College of DuPage –  Career Services

WorkNet DuPage – Job leads

People’s Resource Center – Career site with job announcements

Apprenticeship Illinois – Find apprenticeships in your area.

Interview Preparation Tools

JobScan – Optimize your resume.

16 Personalities – Free Personality Test

Social Security / Social Security Administration

Ticket To Work – Social Security Administration. You can still work even if you are on SSI or SSDI.

Social Security Administration Red Book 2020 – Summary guide to employment supports for people with disabilities under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) & Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs

Social Security Administration – What’s New in 2022 – Overview of SSA updates for 2022

Reentry Employment

Illinois Department of Employment Security – Re-Entry Employment Service Program for those with a criminal record.