The VA’s IPS program aimed to move homeless veterans with severe mental health and substance abuse issues into competitive employment rapidly as part of an integrated treatment approach.
As part of the VA’s IPS program, an employment specialist worked with a larger team of clinicians and support staff to integrate treatment of homeless veterans’ underlying mental and physical health issues into the veterans’ employment services. The employment specialist assessed participants’ vocational abilities and helped tailor an accelerated job search based on their strengths and preferences. Employment specialists also cultivated relationships with local employers, developed leads on competitive employment opportunities, and helped participants access other services such as job training and health care available through the VA. As of 2020, the VA continues to offer similar services to eligible participants. The target population for IPS included homeless veterans who (1) were not receiving VA health services, (2) expressed a desire to participate in competitive employment, and (3) were diagnosed with a psychiatric disability or substance use problem. IPS was implemented in nine VA medical centers.
This study was part of the Therapeutic Employment Placement and Support (TEPS) demonstration, which also examined Transitional Work Experience (TWE) Followed by Typical Services for Competitively Employed Veterans (CE), TWE only, and CE only.