Growth of IPS Supported Employment Programs in the United States: An Update

Psychiatr Serv. 2022 May;73(5):533-538. doi: 10.1176/ Epub 2021 Sep 30.


Objective: Individual placement and support (IPS), an evidence-based supported employment practice, is a core service in community mental health in the United States. Several factors promote the growth of IPS, including a network of 24 states participating in a learning community devoted to expanding IPS services. This study examined growth of IPS in the United States from 2016 to 2019, comparing growth rates for states within and outside the learning community.

Methods: This national survey included telephone interviews with 70 representatives from state mental health and vocational rehabilitation agencies in 50 states and the District of Columbia, replicating methods of a 2016 survey. The primary outcomes were the number of IPS programs and clients served. The survey inquired about four indicators of state-level support for IPS implementation and sustainment: collaboration between state agencies, independent fidelity reviews, technical assistance and training, and funding.

Results: In 2019, 41 (80%) of 50 states and the District of Columbia had IPS services, with 857 IPS programs serving an estimated 43,209 clients. Between 2016 and 2019, the number of programs increased from 272 to 486 in 22 learning-community states and two learning-community counties, and from 251 to 371 in 18 states outside the learning community. State-level support for IPS was significantly greater in learning-community states, compared with non-learning-community states.

Conclusions: IPS services expanded substantially in the United States between 2016 and 2019. Learning-community states had more rapid growth and provided greater implementation support, facilitating implementation, expansion, and sustainment of high-fidelity IPS. Nevertheless, access to IPS remains limited.

Keywords: Community mental health services; Individual Placement and Support; Supported employment; Surveys; Unemployment; Vocational rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • District of Columbia
  • Employment, Supported*
  • Government Agencies
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders* / rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation, Vocational
  • United States