Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is a program that helps people with mental illness find and keep jobs. Based on the philosophy that work helps people feel better about themselves, improving their self-esteem and satisfaction with life, supported employment is a proven part of assisting people with recovery.
IPS provides unique benefits to both employers and people looking for work. Participating employers are viewed as partners who share a goal of giving back to their communities. Job seekers are given a new opportunity after overcoming some adversity in their lives. When people help people, everyone benefits.
Principles of IPS
Jobs anyone can apply for, pay at least minimum wage/same pay as coworkers with similar duties, and have no artificial time limits imposed by the social service agency.
IPS programs are integrated with mental health treatment teams. Employment specialists attach to one or two mental health treatment teams, which discuss their caseload.
People are not excluded on the basis of readiness, diagnoses, symptoms, substance use history, psychiatric hospitalizations, homelessness, level of disability, or legal system involvement.
IPS program services are based on each job seeker’s preferences and choices rather than the employment specialist’s and supervisor’s judgments.
Employment specialists help people obtain personalized, understandable, and accurate information about their Social Security, Medicaid, and other government entitlements.
Rapid job search
IPS programs use a rapid job search approach to help job seekers obtain jobs rather than assessments, training, and counseling. The first face-to-face contact with the employer occurs within 30 days.
Systematic job development
Employment specialists systematically visit employers, who are selected based on the job seeker’s preferences, to learn about their business needs and hiring preferences.
Job supports are individualized and continue for as long as each worker wants and needs the support. Employment specialists have face to face contact at least monthly.
IPS in Wisconsin
IPS is available in 21 Wisconsin counties.
The Wisconsin IPS Learning Collaborative hosts training classes for IPS sites.
The Department of Health Services (Division of Care and Treatment Services), the Department of Workforce Development (Division of Vocational Rehabilitation), and UW-Madison (Department of Psychiatry) oversee IPS in Wisconsin.
Counties and tribes interested in offering IPS should review the IPS: Implementation Steps for information on how to join this program.