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Locally, Bridgeway specializes in services for mental health, substance abuse, developmental disabilities and even physical disabilities. Recently the organization was awarded the title of “Best IPS Site in the World” at the Annual International IPS Meeting in Detroit, Michigan. Senior Vice President of Disability Services Sandy Woods explains a little more about what IPS means:
“It is a supported employment model that is evidence based, in other words it is backed by research. It is found to be two to three times more effective than any other type of model. It came to Illinois, I believe it was 2005 or 2006, and that is when we started using that model for our mentally ill population. That’s how it was developed; for people with serious mental illness that really wanted to work, but only about 15% of the mentally ill population were working. We embraced the model and after a couple of years, I could see how effective it was. So we began using it for everyone that wanted community employment services, no matter what the disability.”
Woods said this zero-exclusion approach for connecting people with jobs has made Bridgeway a pioneer for IPS programs.
**Written by WMOI/WRAM Monmouth College Intern Grace Woerner, Edited by WMOI/WRAM Director of Communications Kelsey Crain**