The Menu Approach to supported employment for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness: Outcomes in an Oregon community based program

Work. 2009;34(1):45-51. doi: 10.3233/WOR-2009-0901.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the vocational outcomes at the Abacus Program, a Menu Approach supported employment program designed to assist individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) achieve competitive employment.

Methods: A summative evaluation method was used to determine the vocational outcomes between the years 2000-2006 at the Abacus Program. Data was gathered from existing Abacus Program records and the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) 15.0 was used to calculate outcomes.

Results: The Abacus Program served 264 clients during the study period. Within those clients, there were 140 cases of vocational services that met study criteria which resulted in 83 successful instances of employment (59%).

Conclusions: Initial data from a single site indicate that the Menu Approach to supported employment produces successful employment outcomes comparable to other published studies. Further research is warranted in order to confirm the initial results of this study in other settings. Randomized controlled trials should be conducted in order to compare the outcomes of the Menu Approach to other methods of providing supported employment services to individuals with SMI.

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Services*
  • Employment, Supported*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Oregon
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Program Development
  • Rehabilitation, Vocational
  • Severity of Illness Index*