Individual placement and support programs
- Aims to improve occupational and rehabilitation outcomes for people with severe and persistent mental illness
- Through a supported employment intervention, participants receive rapid job search and individualized job placement services and are encouraged to participate in services with no exclusion criteria
- IPS specialists help clients find jobs, spend 70% or more of their time in the community supporting participants, and are available for virtually unlimited support and follow-up
Strength of evidence
Evidence level: Promising (Third-highest tier)
Promising (Third-highest tier)
Individual placement and support programs are not yet in any of the major clearinghouses, but have demonstrated positive results in an independent, high-quality evaluation conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor
Low- and moderate-income adults
$5,500 per participant
Outcomes and impact
- Increased employment by 14.8 weeks over a yearlong intervention
- Increased earnings by $6,663 and 30 percentage points relative to control group
- Increased probability of employment relative to control population by 240%
Keys to successful implementation
- Note: This content is under review.
- Engage only with employers offering competitive wages and benefits whenever possible, rather than sheltered jobs (positions that are offered only to people with disabilities).
- Integrate employment services into existing mental health programs.
- Hire dedicated program specialists focused exclusively on working with their clients on obtaining and maintaining competitive jobs. Keep their caseloads relatively small (25 or fewer clients).
- Train program specialist to support clients through the entire employment process, from initial job search to ongoing support once employed.
- Partner strategically with employers based on clients’ expressed professional interests, strengths, and preferences, along with the specialist’s evaluation of individual company cultures.
- Keep the program open to as broad a population as possible – do not exclude participants on the basis of diagnosis, hospitalization history, criminal justice history, or work readiness criteria.
- Minimize pre-employment assessments, training, and counseling, instead prioritizing rapid job placement – ideally within one month.