The following points summarize evidence-based supported employment:
- Supported employment is a well-defined approach to helping people with mental illness find and keep competitive employment. Competitive employment means work in the community that anyone can apply for and pays at least minimum wage. The wage should not be less than the normal wage (and level of benefits) paid for the same work performed by individuals who do not have a mental illness. Supported employment is a successful approach that has been used in various settings by culturally diverse consumers, employment specialists, and practitioners.
- Supported employment programs are staffed by employment specialists who have frequent meetings with the treatment team (i.e., practitioners who provide services, such as case manager, therapist, psychiatrist) to integrate supported employment with mental health treatment.
- Supported employment programs help anyone who expresses the desire to work. People are not excluded because they are not ready or because of prior work history, substance use, or symptoms.
- Employment specialists' help people look for jobs soon after entering the program, instead of requiring extensive pre-employment assessment and training, or intermediate work experiences (like prevocational work units, transitional employment, or sheltered workshops).
- The employment specialist helps people access comprehensive personalized benefits planning and guidance to make informal decisions about job starts and changes.
- Support from the employment specialist continues as long as clinically appropriate. The support is often outside of the work place and it can include assistance from other practitioners, family members, coworkers, and supervisors.
- Jobs are seen as transitions. People commonly try several jobs before finding a job they want to keep. Employment specialists help consumers find another job upon leaving their current one.
- Finally, evidence-based supported employment follows the philosophy that all choices and decisions about work and support are individualized, based on the person's preferences, strengths and experiences.