What We Do » Supported Employment
Supported Emloyment / Individual Placement and Support SE/IPS
Supported Employment/Individual Placement and Support (SE/IPS) is an evidence-based practice that helps people with mental illness and other disabilities identify and acquire part-time or full-time jobs of their choice in the community with rapid job-search and placement services. It emphasizes that work is not the result of treatment and recovery but integral to both.
SE/IPS is very different from traditional vocational rehabilitation (voc rehab). It also emphasizes consumer choice as well as time-unlimited and individualized follow-along services, among other components that are described below.
Research shows that 60 to 70 percent of people with severe mental illness want to work. Research also shows that Supported Employment responds effectively to consumer needs.
|Supported Employment, |
the evidence-based practice
|VS.||Traditional Vocational Rehabilitation|
• 58 percent of the people receiving these services are employed in competitive jobs in their local communities.
• Only 21 percent of the people receiving these services find competitive jobs in the community.
For more information, see Bond (2004), Becker & Drake (2003), and Drake (1999) in Resources below.
SE is different from traditional vocational rehabilitation (voc rehab). SE emphasizes consumer choice and utilizes rapid job-search and placement services as well as time-unlimited and individualized follow-along services.
Competitive Employment Improves
1.) Zero-Exclusion Policy
All people who want to work are eligible for employment services and receive help even if they
* The use of alcohol and other drugs may limit job choices because many employers test for drug use. If job applicants can pass a drug test, their choices of jobs typically increase.
2.) Integrated Employment & Treatment
SE/IPS is integrated with (embedded in) mental health services. Employment specialists attend team meetings and work closely with case managers, psychiatrists, and other professionals to help people achieve their employment goals. Team members openly discuss and find solutions for issues that affect work and recovery, such as the following:
3.) Competitive Jobs
Competitive employment is the goal of SE/IPS services. Competitive jobs are regular jobs that anyone in the community can apply for. They are not jobs set aside for people with disabilities. Employment specialists help consumers of mental health services find regular part-time or full-time jobs that pay a minimum wage or more. Consumers are paid the same as other people who perform similar work. SE/IPS endorses competitive jobs for several reasons:
4.) Rapid Job-Search
As soon as people express an interest in employment, service team members connect them with employment specialists. In two to three weeks, specialists are helping consumers explore the job market, fill out applications, and interview with potential employers. Specialists do not require individuals to complete pre-employment assessments, training, workshops, and intermediate work experiences. A rapid job-search honors each person's desire to work.
5.) Systematic Job Development
Getting to know employers helps people find jobs that meet their strengths, needs, abilities, and preferences. Employment specialists build relationships with employers through planned in-person contacts over time. The face-to-face time enables specialists and employers to work together to find the right fit (or match). Employment specialists keep in mind the job preferences of the people they represent and ask about and listen for many different opportunities at each worksite. Specialists keep themselves attuned to the quality of work environments, the potential for flexible hours, and the potential for workplace adjustments that will accommodate individual strengths, skills, symptoms, and coping skills.
6.) Time-Unlimited Support
Follow-along services help people through their work and recovery journeys for as long as they want or need them. These supports are provided by employment specialists, case managers, other service providers, and by natural supports, including family members, friends, co-workers, and other peers. Examples of follow-along services include
The goal of time-unlimited support is to help individuals become as independent as possible.
7.) Consumer Preferences
Service providers keep their attention focused upon the employment goals of people they serve and do not impose their ideas or plans. Service providers utilize motivational approaches to help individuals identify their personal strengths, skills, and job interests. People who find jobs that they want tend to experience a higher level of satisfaction and tend to keep their jobs longer. Individual preferences guide all aspects of the employment process, such as
8.) Benefits Planning
It is important for individuals to know how their jobs (earned income) might impact benefits such as Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and housing subsidies. To help people make informed choices about their financial futures, employment specialists and other service providers learn the basics of benefits information. They also
There are treatment characteristics (components) and organizational characteristics of the SE/IPS model that are called fidelity domains. These domains encourage service systems and organizations to develop holistic integrated program structures and treatments. These domains also provide a structure for a continuous quality-improvement process that addresses multiple outcomes. SE/IPS facilitates systems change, organizational change, and clinical change when it is implemented with fidelity.
• Gary R. Bond (2004). Supported Employment: Evidence for an Evidence-Based Practice. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, v27, n4, p345-359.
• Deborah R. Becker and Robert E. Drake, MD (2003). A Working Life for People with Severe Mental Illness. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.
• Robert E. Drake, Guest Editor. (1998). Supported Employment: A Special Issue of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal. Summer, v22, n1.