Job Development and Employment Supports Programs

The Supported Employment (SE) Program includes Job Development and Employment Supports. It is an approach to vocational rehabilitation for people with serious mental illnesses that emphasizes helping them obtain competitive work in the community and providing the supports necessary to ensure their success in the workplace.

Our Supported Employment Evidence-Based Practice

The Supported Employment model has been the most extensively studied model of vocational rehabilitation for people with serious mental illnesses. Ample evidence supports its effectiveness. A recent review of 17 studies involving employment programs consistently demonstrated that Supported Employment programs showed significant advantages over traditional approaches. Across these studies, 58 percent of consumers who were in Supported Employment obtained competitive employment compared to 21 percent in traditional programs (Bond et al., 2001).

The Supported Employment model has been found to produce better vocational outcomes than the comparison programs, such as prevocational programming, sheltered work, and transitional employment. Specifically, consumers in Supported Employment programs were more successful in achieving these goals: Obtaining competitive work; Working more hours; and Earning higher wages (Bond et al., 2001).

Eligibility is based on consumer choice

All consumers who want to participate in Supported Employment are eligible—no one is excluded. Consumers who are interested in work are not prevented from participating in SE, regardless of their psychiatric diagnosis, symptoms, and work history or other problems, including substance abuse and cognitive impairment.

Practice Principles of Supported Employment:

  • Eligibility for participation is based on consumer choice (if funding has been approved).
  • SE services are integrated with comprehensive mental health treatment.
  • Competitive employment is the goal.
  • Personalized benefits counseling is important.
  • Job search starts soon after consumers express interest in working.
  • Follow-along supports are continuous.
  • Consumer preferences are important.
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