The VA’s IPS program aimed to move veterans experiencing homelessness and mental health or substance use disorders 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 underlying mental and physical health issues into the employment services for veterans experiencing homelessness. 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 veterans experiencing homelessness who met all of the following criteria: (1) they were not receiving VA health services, (2) they expressed a desire to participate in competitive employment, and (3) they were diagnosed with a psychiatric disability or substance use disorder. IPS was implemented in nine VA medical centers.
This study was part of the Therapeutic Employment Placement and Support demonstration, which also examined transitional work experience (TWE) followed by typical services for competitively employed veterans (CE), TWE only, and CE only.