Peer specialists provide employment-focused support and also serve as IPS Employment Specialists. Additionally, peer-operated programs offer vocational services. Some of these programs offer evidence-based IPS Supported Employment, while others provide beneficial vocational services that are not based on IPS principles.
Here we offer resources for peer-operated programs that would like to implement evidence-based IPS services delivered by their peer specialist staff. We also provide examples from the field.
Resources for Implementing IPS
Review this comprehensive manual on conducting an IPS Fidelity Assessment to learn each of the program elements that is associated with effectively helping people with mental health conditions to find and keep jobs.
Examples from the Field
Baltic Street AEH is a peer-led agency with over 20 years of providing services. The agency participated in a developmental study with our Center and its partner, Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey, to implement IPS supported employment.
As part of the project, Baltic Street had an IPS supported employment teams, with four staff, as well as an intake specialist and the Employment Services Director, all with lived experience and certified as peer support specialists. Taina Martinez, their Director of Employment Services, describes IPS as “the way to go” for peer-led organizations. The available training, technical assistance, and fidelity reviews provide
clear guidelines and support for program development and quality improvement. In addition, a focus on fidelity confers many advantages. It helps agencies protect staff by limiting caseload size to maximize outcomes and prevent burnout. Fidelity standards also help programs to maintain integrity, by ensuring services that are person-centered and choice-based.
In 2008, North Carolina begin to implement IPS supported employment across the state. Promise Resource Network (PRN), a peer-operated agency, served as the IPS technical assistance center. PRN also created its own IPS team, which is fully staffed by peer specialists, including the Team Leader, the Employment Specialists, and the Employment Peer Mentor.
Through a series of pilot programs, PRN was instrumental in demonstrating to the state that peer workers have a positive impact on employment services. This led to the creation of Employment Peer Mentors. The state now mandates inclusion of Employment Peer Mentors on all IPS teams.
Laurie Mitchell Empowerment and Career Center is a peer-led recovery center with an IPS supported employment team. All IPS staff are peers, including the Team Leader and three Employment Specialists.
The team collaborates with other agency staff and across agencies through local and state government contracts. The Fairfax Falls Church Community Services Board (county government) awarded this IPS team with the Partner Spirit of Excellence Award.
Go to the last section of this online toolkit, which features other roles for peers specialists in supported employment programs
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