Critical strategies for implementing supported employment

Authors: Bond, G. R., Becker, D.R., Drake, R.E., Rapp, C.A., Meisler, N., Lehman, A.F., Bell, M.D., & Blyler, C.R.
Year Published 2007
Publication Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Volume 27
Number 1
Pages 13-20
Publisher IOS Press

Supported employment is considered to be "the most effective approach to increase work opportunities for people with severe mental illness [3–5]" (p. 13). However, access to Supported Employment services is difficult to obtain.


The paper offers "a review of experiences by six states and the District of Columbia in disseminating an evidence-based practice, supported employment (SE). Each jurisdiction had unique strengths and barriers to overcome to effectively implement supported employment services for people with severe mental illness" (p. 13).


"Project leaders from the original six states and the District of Columbia" provided information as to how they were able to increase "access to high-quality SE services in their areas" (p. 13).


Maryland, South Carolina, District of Columbia, Oregon, Vermont, Kansas, Connecticut

Data Collection

Seven states (including the District of Columbia) reported unique aspects of implementing supported employment. The approach used was similar to that of a case study.


Control conditions varied across the studies. Conditions included Group skills training, enhanced vocational rehabilitation, psychosocial rehabilitation, diversified placement, train-place, sheltered workshop, brokered vocational rehabilitation, and traditional vocational services.


"Diverse strategies were used to augment implementation of supported employment services: a) Instituting state-level administrative procedures and reconfiguration of local staffing to enhance collaboration between mental health and vocational rehabilitation; b) Promoting SE services through the media, online training, and training by early adopters; c) Hiring benefits specialists; d) Teaching outcome-based supervision; and e) Building capacity for supported employment fidelity reviews" (p. 13).


"Dissemination of evidenced-based supported employment was enhanced when six states and the District of Columbia addressed special aspects. Supported employment implementation included different pathways to good employment outcomes" (p. 13).

Disabilities Emotional disturbance
Populations Hispanic or Latino | Asian | Black / African American | White / Caucasian | Male & Female
Outcomes Employment acquisition
NIDILRR Funded Not Reported
Research Design Case reports
Peer Reviewed No