IPS Work Programs Prove Effective

The Dept. of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has just issued their annual report on Individual Placement and Supports (IPS). This is an evidence-based employment program for people with serious mental illnesses.

People with serious mental illnesses face numerous challenges finding and maintaining a job, leading to the highest unemployment rate and lowest workforce participation rate of any disability group. Despite this reality, there are very few employment programs like IPS in Minnesota.

Starting in 2006, Minnesota began offering IPS employment services. The core principles of this program include a focus on client choice, developing relationships with employers based on participant interests, the goal of integrated and competitive employment, benefits planning, continuous jobs supports, and most importantly the integration of employment and mental health services.

Research backs up the investment in IPS programs. The report from DEED notes that IPS is the “most effective” employment service for people with serious mental illnesses and is “3 times more effective” than other vocational approaches.

The impacts of IPS are also long lasting, with “about 40% of IPS participants who obtain a job with help from IPS (becoming) steady workers and remaining competitively employed a decade later.” Minnesota’s IPS programs continue to be national leaders with a 60% rate of competitive employment compared to a 45% rate nationally.

NAMI Minnesota strongly supports IPS services and is seeking a funding increase in 2019. The projects have not received a cost of living increase and a cut made in 2015 has still not been restored.