Study to focus on Improving Mental Health
(As part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), NTI is publishing a series of articles.)
The U.S. Department of Labor selected seven states to participate in its Advancing State Policy Integration for Recovery and Employment initiative that aims to align state policy and funding to increase competitive integrated employment for individuals with mental health conditions.
Administered by the department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, the initiative provided Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Wisconsin with tailored and targeted technical assistance. The assistance included expertise to help each state in creating and implementing state strategic plans that encompass multiple systems including mental/behavioral health, Medicaid, vocational rehabilitation, and workforce and education. States are developing and implementing their strategic plans in consultation with their state’s key mental health advocacy organizations.
In addition to supporting states, ASPIRE provides a forum for knowledge-sharing between states, federal agencies, mental health service providers, and other stakeholders about policies and practices to implement evidence-based Supported Employment models – including Individual Placement and Support – to increase competitive integrated employment for people with mental health conditions. As defined, competitive integrated employment is work in settings where most employees have no disabilities and are paid directly at the minimum or prevailing wage.
“With the right support, people with mental health conditions can succeed in the workforce, including individuals who haven’t previously been successful,” said Office of Disability Employment Policy Deputy Assistant Secretary Jennifer Sheehy. “Better integration of funding, policy, and programs to support proven employment models, such as Individual Placement and Support, is key to helping more people do so, and we look forward to working with and learning from the ASPIRE states.”
ODEP contracted with Westat, a Rockville, Maryland research firm, to deliver the technical assistance to participating states.
(As part of October’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM, NTI is taking part in “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion” theme to ensure Americans with disabilities are a major part of the national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Every October, NDEAM celebrates the contributions people with disabilities have made to America’s workforce and the economy.)
“With the right support, people with mental health conditions can succeed in the workforce, including individuals who haven’t previously been successful.”