Access to valued resources, especially to employment and income, is a critical issue in community mental health. Appropriate public policy and services are needed to bridge the gap between dreams and realities related to employment for people with a serious mental health illness. This article reviews current literature in the area of employment and mental health, and describes the findings of a research study focusing on these issues in one community in Southern Ontario. This study used a participatory, action-oriented approach to understand the ideal employment situation for people with a serious mental health illness, and to explore the barriers preventing them from finding, getting, and keeping work. Concrete areas for action (generated by people with a serious mental health illness working with service providers in this field) are suggested in order to respond to employment barriers at various levels and to make employment a reality for people experiencing a serious mental health illness.