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Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is a model of supported employment for people with serious mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia spectrum disorder, bipolar, depression). IPS supported employment helps people living with behavioral health conditions work at regular jobs of their choosing. Although variations of supported employment exist, IPS refers to the evidence-based practice of supported employment. Mainstream education and technical training are included as ways to advance career paths.

IPS is based on the following 8 principles:

  1. Focus on Competitive Employment: Agencies providing IPS services are committed to competitive employment as an attainable goal for people with behavioral health conditions seeking employment. Mainstream education and specialized training may enhance career paths.
  2. Eligibility Based on Client Choice: People are not excluded on the basis of readiness, diagnoses, symptoms, substance use history, psychiatric hospitalizations, homelessness, level of disability, or legal system involvement.
  3. Integration of Rehabilitation and Mental Health Services: IPS programs are closely integrated with mental health treatment teams.
  4. Attention to Worker Preferences: Services are based on each person’s preferences and choices, rather than providers’ judgments.
  5. Personalized Benefits Counseling: Employment specialists help people obtain personalized, understandable, and accurate information about their Social Security, Medicaid, and other government entitlements.
  6. Rapid Job Search: IPS programs use a rapid job search approach to help job seekers obtain jobs directly, rather than providing lengthy pre-employment assessment, training, and counseling. If further education is part of their plan, IPS specialists assist in these activities as needed.
  7. Systematic Job Development: Employment specialists systematically visit employers, who are selected based on job seeker preferences, to learn about their business needs and hiring preferences.
  8. Time-Unlimited and Individualized Support: Job supports are individualized and continue for as long as each worker wants and needs the support.