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Supported Employment


Supported employment is a program that helps people with mental illness find and keep jobs, while at the same time providing employers with access to motivated employees.  From Europe to Australia and across many states in the U.S., mental health centers and local businesses are partnering to provide real, meaningful jobs to people with mental illness. Colorado is proud to be expanding this career service throughout the state.


IPS Model
The Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model of supported employment is one of many types of vocational programs for people with mental illness, and research shows it is very successful.  Established by the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center, IPS is based on eight key principles:


  • Anyone who wants to work can participate in the program, and job seekers are not excluded based on diagnosis, symptoms or history.
  • Employment specialists help job seekers look for competitive employment: jobs in the community paying at least minimum wage and not specified for people with disabilities.
  • Services are based on the job seeker’s preferences and choices.
  • Services are integrated with mental health treatment teams to provide job seekers with collaborative, professional support.
  • Employment specialists help job seekers apply for employment quickly, rather than providing lengthy assessments or counseling.
  • Employment specialists develop an employer network and relationships based on job seekers’ interests.
  • Professional counselors provide job seekers with information about how employment may affect their government benefits.
  • Job seekers get personalized support as long as they want it after obtaining employment.



One of the most distinctive characteristics of IPS is that it is an evidence-based practice, with outcomes and effectiveness monitored on an ongoing basis.  Click here to view the most recent data.


Click here for more detailed information on the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center and IPS supported employment tools.


Colorado Participants
Several of Colorado’s mental health centers are practicing IPS supported employment and experiencing great success.  For more information on the centers currently involved, click below for the specific area:



Another key feature of the supported employment program is collaboration with the Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR).  Fortunately, the Office of Behavioral Health and Community Mental Health Centers have great relationships with DVR, and supported employment is a key factor in recovery efforts.  Click here for more information.



Click here to download Colorado’s Supported Employment Program brochure.