Invest Hamilton County

Memos From Mike

Career Awareness is Bigger than Workforce
September 18, 2023


According to federal studies and surveys, 20.9 million American adults consider themselves to be in recovery from substance use disorder and 38.8 million consider themselves to be in recovery from a mental health issue. This recovery month Invest Hamilton County celebrates the people in our community who are working through or have worked through, any type of struggle with mental health and/or substance use and are doing the work to live the best life they’re capable of living.

We also want to recognize our business partners and the local Chambers of Commerce for all the great resources we’ve produced/curated together to help businesses looking to retain and support talent living with mental health challenges.


That “best life someone is capable of living,” or economic vitality as referenced in the Invest Hamilton County mission is foundationally intertwined with career awareness and exploration efforts. For both traditional and nontraditional job seekers identifying potential careers and opportunities can be challenging, but specifically for those individuals struggling with mental health concerns and/or whose paths have been sidetracked by the impact of trauma, they often find themselves having painted the word “can’t” on the bricks paving their future path in life.


Fear is the primary opponent when encouraging someone to seize opportunity. A lack of belief or comfort in/with one’s own self can corrupt a great path forward long before a failed interview, job termination or real adverse event ever has the chance.


This is why when local employer partners ask me, “what is the best things I can do for [insert population] in the community?” my most frequent answer is that they assist in career awareness and exploration efforts. Being a place where people can see what a job is like, have an internship, tour a floor, or even just meet with and ask questions of someone who does a job they’re potentially interested in, can have an outsized impact on helping a person remove many of the “cant’s” they’ve placed in their own path forward.


Throughout the next year Invest Hamilton County will continue expanding this type of work in multiple settings with traditional and nontraditional potential workers and youth within the community. While some of the employers who partner with us will hire people from these initiatives, we’ll look for many more to volunteer to just be a place that helps awaken dreams our most vulnerable populations’ need help visualizing.