Competencies of more and less successful employment specialists

Community Ment Health J. 2013 Jun;49(3):311-6. doi: 10.1007/s10597-011-9471-0. Epub 2011 Nov 19.


The competencies of individual employment specialists influence rates of competitive employment among consumers and programs. Identifying competencies can lead to the development of more effective specialists and improve employment outcomes for consumers enrolled in employment services in community mental health care settings. The purpose of this study was to examine how more successful employment specialists performed supported employment duties in comparison to less successful employment specialists. Ethnographic researchers observed more and less successful employment specialists performing job duties related to the five phases of supported employment. Using grounded theory, they identified factors that differentiated the two groups. More successful employment specialists worked efficiently, developed egalitarian relationships with consumers, and collaborated well with other partners. Less successful employment specialists understood the model but lacked these behavioral skills. Service providers should screen and train employment specialists for efficiency, flexibility, and interpersonal skills.

MeSH terms

  • Anthropology, Cultural
  • Chicago
  • Employment, Supported*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders
  • Observation
  • Professional Competence*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Work*
  • Specialization*