Supporting Equity and Justice in the Wisconsin Peer Specialist Employment Initiative

Access to Independence staff working on the Wisconsin Peer Specialist Employment Initiative (WIPSEI) and EOTO, CPS began working together in 2020 to implement supports within the WIPSEI that serve to advance equity and justice in the peer specialist workforce. These collaborations have brought into fruition community-specific Certified Peer Specialist trainings available to people throughout the state with specific cultural identities and lived experiences that experience systemic marginalization or are under-represented in the workforce. Additionally, EOTO began offering networking gatherings, professional development offerings, and exam study supports specific to Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) current or aspiring Certified Peer Specialists and Certified Parent Peer Specialists.

The WIPSEI places a great deal of importance on addressing historic disparities related to this CPS and CPPS workforce. We seek to support greater access to training, employment, and educational opportunities for current and aspiring Certified Peer Specialists and Certified Parent Peer Specialists belonging to systemically marginalized and oppressed communities.

The WIPSEI strives to center the principles of equity and justice in all areas of our work. To read more about this, click here.


Spotlight on Peer Support Programs Supporting Marginalized Communities

A bright, rainbowfied background with purple floral designs in two corners is flanked by the WIPSEI logo in one corner and The Prism Program's logo in the opposite corner. Towards the top is a picture of Erica, a younger white woman with shorter green hair wearing a black top and a crystal necklace, smiling. Text reads, "Attend Live! Interview with Erica Steib of The Prism Program - Tuesday, July 20th, 2021 | 11AM | Facebook Live" A bio is then given which matches that in this event's description.


Interviewing Erica Steib of The Prism Program!

We’ll be interviewing Erica Steib, CPS on Tuesday, July 20th, 2021 at 11am CDT. We’ll learn more about Erica’s work in peer support, her values, and her experiences in supporting the development of an LGBTQ+-specific peer support program.

Erica Steib is a Suicide Prevention Specialist, certified peer-specialist, and coordinator of the Prism Program at Mental Health America of Wisconsin. Her lived experience and drive to work towards health equity inspired her to develop The Prism Program, a new, free peer-support resource for LGBTQ+ youth and adults in Wisconsin. The Prism Program offers a warmline and online support groups and hopes to offer more in-person services later this year. The overall goal of Prism is to make mental health support more accessible for LGBTQ+ youth and young adults, who report many barriers to receiving care, and face disparities in many mental health outcomes. Erica believes that healing happens in community, and she hopes to use her career in the peer-support field to further promote community-based networks of care that value strength and self-determination for all on the recovery journey.


Supporting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Communities

Starting in January 2021, Tara Wilhelmi, the owner and founder of EOTO, LLC began facilitating networking, skill development, and exam study group opportunities specifically for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities in Wisconsin.

We invite you to check out an interview with Tara below and scroll further down to learn more about these additional BIPOC-specific opportunities.



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