Virtually all studies of the individual placement and support (IPS) model of supported employment measure outcomes for job acquisition, but studies are less consistent in measuring job tenure, hours worked, and employment earnings. Lack of a common set of employment measures limits comparisons across studies and cumulative knowledge about IPS.
This study examined measures in four employment domains and their interrelationships. It examined two hypotheses. First, IPS improves both the rate of obtaining employment (job acquisition) and the amount of work (job duration, hours worked per week, and total hours and wages). Second, employment outcomes within domains are strongly correlated, whereas outcomes across domains are relatively weakly related.
All study participants were clients enrolled in public mental health programs. The four study groups were located in Manchester and Concord NH; Washington DC; Hartford CT, and Chicago
All study participants were clients enrolled in public mental health programs. They were unemployed adults who met each state's criteria for severe mental illness. Other common eligibility criteria included desire for competitive work, ability and willingness to give informed consent, and absence of significant general medical conditions precluding employment. The studies used similar protocols to track employment outcomes. Despite similar research methods, the four studies differed in geographic location and control group interventions.
Using a combined data set from four randomized controlled trials of IPS, this study examined mean differences between IPS participants (N=307) and participants in other vocational services (control sample) (N=374) in four domains (job acquisition, job duration, hours worked per week, and total hours and wages). Eight competitive employment measures were examined (employed at any time, total weeks worked, tenure in the longest-held job, total hours worked, average hours per week worked, total wages, days to first job, and working =20 hours per week during follow-up). Correlations between measures within both the IPS and control samples were determined.
Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is a systematic approach to helping people with severe mental illness achieve competitive employment. It is based on eight principles: eligibility based on client choice, focus on competitive employment, integration of mental health and employment services, attention to client preferences, work incentives planning, rapid job search, systematic job development, and individualized job supports. Systematic reviews have concluded that IPS is an evidence-based practice
The conditions include: 1) group skills training; initial training in choosing, getting, keeping a job; followed by job placement services from a stand alone rehabilitation program (2) enhanced rehabilitation services provided by a vocational rehabilitation counselor assigned to the project: club house and brokered supported employment (4) diversified placement services.
IPS participants had significantly better outcomes across all employment measures and domains. Correlations between measures were strong within each domain, but they were variable between domains
In addition to improving job acquisition, IPS improved job duration, hours worked per week, and total hours and wages. The correlational findings suggest proxy measures to assist meta-analysts in the synthesis of studies for which direct measures are unavailable. Initial steps toward a cross-disciplinary theoretical framework for employment outcomes are described.