Supported Employment or Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Programs
for Persons with Severe and Persistent Mental Illnesses in Wisconsin
Wisconsin's Johnson & Johnson/Dartmouth Community Mental Health
The State of Wisconsin, through the Department of Health Services (DHS)
and Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse (DMHSAS) and the Division
of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), is committed to increasing employment
opportunities for people with severe mental illness and/or substance abuse
disorders. In April 2010, Wisconsin received a Johnson &
Johnson/Dartmouth Community Mental Health Program grant to develop
Individual Placement and Support (IPS) supported employment in the state.
IPS supported employment is a type of employment program that helps
people with severe mental illness with work and school.
To date, the first three pilot site grants have been awarded to the
following agencies/county mental health programs:
- North Central Health Care/Marathon County
- Threshold Inc./Washington County
- Family and Children's Center/La Crosse County
Principles of IPS Supported Employment*
Research studies have helped to identify the core principles of
successful Evidence-Based Supported Employment programs. These
- Zero Exclusion: All clients who want to work
are eligible for vocational services.
- Client Preferences: Client preferences with
regard to the type of job, the nature and amount of support provided,
and decisions about disclosure are used to guide the process.
- Integrated Vocational and Mental Health Services:
Frequent communication and contact between the client and their whole
team (mental health, supported employment, vocational rehabilitation,
and case manager) is an integral principle.
- Competitive Employment: Helping clients to find
jobs that are open and available to anyone that pays at least minimum
wage are the goal.
- Benefits Counseling: Individualized work
incentives benefit counseling and planning should be provided to help
clients determine the impact of work on their specific situation.
- Rapid Job Search: The job search should begin
as soon as possible, with limited assessments or "work
readiness" trials. Typically this can be in as little as two
weeks from the initial meeting between the client and employment
- Follow Along Supports: Follow along support to
work related symptoms should be provided for as long as the client wants
and in the way the client wishes to be supported.
- Systematic Job Development: Employment
specialists develop relationships with employers, based on their
clients' work goals, meeting employers face-to-face over multiple
*Adapted from Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center "Practice
Principles of IPS Supported Employment." (version 10/11/11)
Additional Resources for Individual Placement and Support
Dartmouth IPS Supported Employment Center
Article about Supported Employment
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (exit DHS)
to Independence Supported Employment Information (exit DHS)
March 26, 2014