Here are a few examples of Individual Placement & Support (IPS) in action across North Carolina:
An individual started receiving IPS services in October 2018. He was experiencing depression, anxiety, and using substances daily. He started working with his employment specialist to find a job. He had a few challenges to overcome: lack of transportation, having an 8th grade education, and English as a Second Language. However, he had a very strong support system and was very motivated to find work. In January of this year, he obtained work as a janitor at a big box store. In May, he was named Employee of the Month. A few weeks later he was transferred to a different department where he received a $4 an hour pay increase. Since he has been working, he is reporting fewer depressive symptoms and minimal anxiety. He stated he is “so happy to have a job.” He arrives to work ahead of schedule and is usually the last person to leave. His supervisor reports that he is dependable, hardworking, and always on time. He supervisor said, “he is an absolute joy to work with.”
An IPS team has been working with an individual for 3.5 years. The individual worked at a temporary job at a city landfill for two years. Last week, he had a third interview with the City and was offered a permanent position with benefits! He will be interacting with individuals who are dropping off their trash, accepting payments, and balancing his drawer every night. This is his dream job. He gets along well with his co-workers and it is a relaxed environment for him. He met his employment goal of finding permanent employment with benefits.
An individual had been engaging with the IPS team prior to COVID-19. When the pandemic hit, she immediately stopped applying for jobs and pursuing employment. She wanted to wait until she knew more about it because she lives with her mother and grandmother. During the month of May, she stopped engaging entirely with the team and blocked the team members’ phone numbers. The team reached out to her mother with prior consent, who helped her to see that the IPS Team genuinely cares about her. She said that any other service would have discharged her daughter, and not have thought twice about it, but she saw that the IPS team does not give up on people and she admires that about the service. Since this conversation, the individual began reengaging with the team. She has had 1 Zoom interview, 1 phone interview, and a job offer for a housekeeper at a local hospital.
An individual was experiencing some negative feedback and bullying at work which cause him to turn in his uniform and quit. The manager reached out to the employment specialist because the manager wanted to encourage him to stay. She offered to make accommodations to schedule him for shifts when she is there, “until he gets a little stronger.” The individual would not answer his phone and was not home when the employment specialist tried to meet with him. She saw him walking down the street, stopped, and talked to him awhile. She asked questions about repeating patterns of quitting jobs impulsively and how to change that pattern. She let him know that his supervisor did not want him to quit and valued his work. He then agreed to speak with his supervisor on the phone with the employment specialist facilitating. The individual decided to go back to work and try again.
An IPS team serves a woman who is 56 and a cancer survivor which puts her in the high-risk category for COVID-19 and caused a lot of fear and anxiety about pursuing employment safely. She was able to receive unemployment benefits to help sustain her during the pandemic while she was unable to work. She was hired last month at a local prestigious nursing home/memory care center. Her employer values the safety of their staff. She is approaching her 30 days of working as a Life Enrichment (activities director) and has a desire to retire at the establishment. Although she has been on a journey for the best fit since 2018, this is the happiest that she has been. She feels that she has made a great choice and has learned valuable lessons that will help her sustain employment.