Individual Placement and Support

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

Competitive employment 

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.

Integrated services

IPS programs are integrated with mental health treatment teams. Employment specialists attach to one or two mental health treatment teams, which discuss their caseload.

Zero exclusion

People are not excluded on the basis of readiness, diagnoses, symptoms, substance use history, psychiatric hospitalizations, homelessness, level of disability, or legal system involvement.

Worker preferences

IPS program services are based on each job seeker’s preferences and choices rather than the employment specialist’s and supervisor’s judgments.

Benefits counseling

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.

Time-unlimited support

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

In Wisconsin, IPS is a partnership between 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.

IPS is available in 20 counties. Ten agencies partner with these 20 counties to provide IPS. 

  • Burnett (Aurora Vocational Services)
  • Chippewa (Aurora Vocational Services)
  • Crawford (Family & Children's Center)
  • Dane (Chrysalis and Employment Resources)
  • Dunn (Aurora Vocational Services)
  • Jackson (Family & Children's Center)
  • La Crosse (Family & Children's Center)
  • Langlade (North Central Health Care)
  • Lincoln (North Central Health Care)
  • Marathon​ (North Central Health Care)
  • Milwaukee (Easter Seals, Goodwill, Milwaukee Mental Health Associates)
  • Monroe (Family & Children's Center)
  • Outagamie (Innovative Services and Valley Packaging Industries)
  • Pierce (Aurora Vocational Services)
  • Polk (Aurora Vocational Services)
  • St. Croix (Aurora Vocational Services)
  • Sheboygan (RCS Empowers)
  • Vernon (Family & Children's Center)
  • Washburn (Aurora Vocational Services)
  • Washington (Easter Seals)


For more information

IPS Employment Center

Last Revised: July 27, 2020