Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation 40 (2014) 149–154 (by Joe Marrone, Robert Burns, and Stephaine Taylor)
There is a deep research base in the employment and mental health (MH) field that has supported the development of effective strategies for people with significant psychiatric disabilities. However, overall employment outcomes for people with serious mental illness have not increased significantly. This is true even with the recent emphases on recovery and system change or transformation. While employment continues to be stated as one of the cornerstones of recovery within mentalhealth, vocational rehabilitation (VR) remains a crucial resource through interagency partnerships, funding, training, and policy development. The Institute for Community Inclusion's Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Vocational Rehabilitation (ICI VR-RRTC) did case studies with state VR agencies examining innovations in these areas. This article describes three VR agencies in particular (Delaware, Maryland, Oregon) that served in many ways as excellent exemplars of using the multiple resources, skills, and services models that produced better employment results. It describes each state's specific partnership strategies, then concludes with findings from each as well as an overall analysis of key issues that should be applicable more generally vis-á-vis VR-MH collaboration on employment interventions.