Supported employment helps people 17 and older with mental illness, intellectual or developmental disabilities, and traumatic brain injury find jobs that pay competitive wages. These jobs are all in integrated settings in the community, meaning you will work with other people who don’t necessarily have disabilities. Unlike traditional vocational rehabilitation, which provides job readiness and other training, this program individualizes its services to align with your interests and preferences.
Studies show that the supported employment model has many benefits:
- Competitive work with more hours and higher wages.
- Improvements in symptoms, self-esteem and satisfaction with finances and viewing work as a meaningful part of life.
- Prevention or reduction of relapses, re-hospitalizations, severe symptoms or distress.
Principles of Supported Employment
Supported employment is based on seven principles.
- Zero exclusion – Anyone who wants to participate and makes a personal choice to participate in supported employment is eligible.
- Integration – Frequent communication with comprehensive mental health treatment and vocational services leads to success.
- Competitive employment – People can get community-based jobs at competitive wages.
- Benefits planning – People working in the community can get personalized benefits counseling and work incentives.
- Rapid job search – The process of finding a job starts soon after the person expresses interest in working.
- Follow-along supports – Individualized assistance to people working in the community is continual and available as long as needed and wanted.
- Preference – Personal preferences strongly influence the type of job sought, the nature of support provided by employment specialists, and decisions about disclosing one’s disability to the employer.
Additional information about supported employment is available at:
- The IPS Employment Center website describes the evidence-based model, individual placement and support for SE services. There are resources, videos and handouts available for providers, clients and consultation services.
- Supported Employment Evidence-Based Practices (Kit) includes the entire kit specifically for providers
- Standards Manual for Consumer Services Contract Providers, Chapter 5, describes formal standards on Supported Employment and overview of services.
Who Is Eligible for Supported Employment Services?
- Anyone 17 or older who gets services at a local mental health authority or local behavioral health authority.
- Anyone 17 or older who has a disability and wants to find a competitive job.
How Do I Get Supported Employment Services?
- Contact your local mental health authority or local behavioral health authority.
- Call 2-1-1 and ask for the LMHA or LBHA in your area.