IPS was designed to help individuals with severe mental illness find and keep a job. This evaluation directly compared IPS to a separate intervention, EVR, to understand which of the two might be more effective. The distinctive features of IPS are individualized, rapid help with a job search.
IPS gave people ongoing support to find work based on their own preferences, a vocational assessment, and job development. Employment specialists gave individualized support to participants as well as counseling and help with transportation. There was no time limit on IPS services; employment support was given as needed. IPS was provided to unemployed individuals who were living in an urban neighborhood that was low income and who had severe mental disorders that kept them from finding employment for at least two years. This study of IPS was implemented at Community Connections, a large mental health agency in Washington, DC.
The effectiveness of IPS when compared to EVR indicates the effect of being referred to a set of services that includes those unique to IPS or how much better the offer of IPS met participants’ needs than the offer of EVR. IPS gave individualized vocational support, whereas EVR provided stepwise vocational services through rehabilitation agencies. The main services for EVR consisted of work or training specially supervised by mental health staff and the presence of a vocational counselor, who helped match participants with rehabilitation agencies.