AF plus IPS gave veterans who were formerly incarcerated a space to discuss their career goals and challenges, and worked to help them find and keep jobs. This evaluation directly compared AF plus IPS to a separate intervention, AF only, to understand which of the two interventions might be more effective; a distinctive feature of AF plus IPS was its rapid, individualized job searching assistance.
AF was a small-group, one-week program in which participants (veterans with felony histories) described their work aspirations, drafted resumes, and discussed employment challenges. After AF, participants moved into IPS, a program founded on a set of core principles—including small caseloads and rapid job searches—with the intention of helping people find and keep jobs. During IPS, supported employment specialists (SESs) provided individual job search services and worked with local employers to find positions for participants. IPS lasted until the participant found a job, but participants could choose to receive ongoing support from the SESs after they were employed. The target population for this intervention included veterans who were formally incarcerated and: (1) had at least one felony conviction; (2) had been diagnosed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs with a substance use disorder, mental illness, or both; (3) expressed a desire for competitive employment; and (4) provided consent. AF plus IPS was implemented in Dallas, TX.
The effectiveness of AF plus IPS when compared to AF only indicates the effect of being referred to a set of services that includes those unique to AF plus IPS, or how much better the offer of AF plus IPS met participants’ needs than the offer of AF only. Individuals in AF only participated in the one-week AF program and did not receive the additional services associated with IPS.