Center Helps State of Ohio Expand Supported Employment for People with Mental Illness

—by Paul M. Kubek

The State of Ohio is expanding its commitment to employment for people with severe mental illness and is turning to its Ohio Supported Employment Coordinating Center of Excellence at the Center for Evidence-Based Practices to help make this happen with consulting, training, and evaluation services.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) has received a five-year $4.8 million Transforming Lives through Supported Employment grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as part of a national initiative to increase use of this evidence-based practices.

Supported Employment/ Individual Placement and Support (SE/IPS) is designed for adults with severe mental illness, including those with co-occurring substance use disorders. It is much different from traditional vocational rehabilitation services because it emphasizes that work is not just the product of treatment and recovery; work helps produce and advance both. There are 26 components to the SE/IPS model, which offers people rapid job-search services, personal choice for part-time or full-time work in competitive jobs in the community (not sheltered workshops), benefits planning, and much more.

Ohio Works

In Ohio, there are currently 21 behavioral healthcare organizations that provide evidence-based SE/IPS services. The Center for Evidence-Based Practices has been providing technical assistance (consulting, training, and evaluation) to Ohio programs since 2004, when the state began its employment initiative.

With the new SAMHSA grant, OhioMHAS is funding the startup of two new programs, Daybreak, Inc., in Dayton and Firelands Counseling and Recovery Services in Sandusky and Norwalk. Each will adhere to the fidelity scale of the SE/IPS model but will be slightly different from other programs in the state. Both Daybreak and Firelands are including peer support (people with lived experience of mental illness who will assist others in obtaining and keeping jobs). The new program at Daybreak is being implemented for transition-aged youth, ages 18 to 25.

Center of Excellence

To support the new SAMHSA grant, the Center for Evidence-Based Practices is providing program consultation, clinical consultation, and training to the new programs through its Ohio Supported Employment Coordinating Center of Excellence, which is funded by OhioMHAS. The Center has received an $85,000 grant from OhioMHAS to provide enhanced evaluation services for the new SAMHSA-funded project. The evaluation will examine the following:

  • Implementation progress and client outcomes at the two new SE/IPS programs
  • Lessons learned about and impact of peer support
  • Lessons learned about and impact of services for transition-aged youth
  • Facilitators of and barriers to implementation
  • Perspectives of service providers regarding implementation
  • Perspectives of state-wide Supported Employment Coordinating Committee regarding implementation

Learn more

Get more information about the evidence-based Supported Employment (SE/IPS) model.

For more information about SAMHSA's Transforming Lives through Supported Employment Grant, visit these websites: