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Park Center

IPS Employment Specialist

Park Center


Job Summary

The IPS Employment Specialist works directly with members to find competitive employment and exhibits a strong commitment and passion to making competitive employment an attainable goal for all members of Park Center. The Employment Specialist implements the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model of supported employment, the most researched and best-described model of supported employment. IPS promotes a “recovery through work” philosophy whereby members diagnosed with mental illness (and both mental illness and substance misuse) achieve competitive, integrated employment when assisted with ongoing support services. Employment Specialists receive specific IPS training and work towards partnering with up to 20 Park Center members at any given time to conduct a rapid job search and development approach with each member (instead of providing lengthy pre-employment assessment, training, and counseling). Employment specialists also provide time-unlimited and individualized support for as long as the member wants and needs the support.

Job Responsibilities


  • Responsible for implementing the Intentional Placement and Support (IPS) model of supported employment with high fidelity to the IPS model
    • Communicates the principles of IPS clearly and uses those principles to engage Park Center members in job search, job development, and ongoing support, while emphasizing member choice and preferences, “zero exclusion” from IPS services, and integration of IPS with mental health treatment teams in the community.
    • Exhibits a command of the IPS fidelity scale and uses the scale to assess performance regularly and to implement continuous improvement strategies.
    • Acts as an agent of hope believing that members want to work and can work.
    • Believes that stigma is not an insurmountable barrier to competitive employment.
    • Collaborates with external mental health treatment teams to help integrate IPS into mental health services. Attends and participates in external treatment team meetings to review the progress of Park Center members.
    • Builds an employer network with the IPS team by making systematic contacts with local employers and attending to those relationships.
    • Partners with the Social Security Administration and local organizations that provide benefits counseling to guide members in navigating work and TennCare, Medicaid, and other government payments.
  • Lives out the principle of “recovery through work” and member choice
    • Communicates passionately and effectively to a broad range of audiences about how competitive employment is an attainable goal for people diagnosed with mental illness.
    • Identifies and removes any barriers or preconditions for participating in the IPS program, so that members are not excluded based on readiness, diagnoses, substance abuse history, legal system involvement, physical health, etc.
    • Uses language with the IPS team and its partners that promotes member choice and a zero-exclusion approach.
  • Integrates IPS and other services at Park Center
    • Meets with a staff of other Park Center programs to identify and implement strategies to connect members to IPS services more effectively.
    • Uses storytelling to communicate hope and optimism about how members can find competitive employment through IPS services.
  • Builds and maintains relationships with IPS community stakeholders
    • Works closely with the TN Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the TN Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, and private funders like the United Way to identify ways to meet outcomes more effectively.
    • Builds positive relationships with external mental health organizations and other referral partners and attends meetings with those partners on at least a monthly basis.
    • Engages local employers regularly to build a pipeline of employment leads and placements.
  • Other Duties
    • Manages time efficiently
    • Spends more of their time in the community (vs an office setting) engaging members
    • Knowledgeable about Park Center policies and procedures and follows them accurately
    • Attend all necessary staff meetings and training
    • Participate in member activities whenever possible
    • Performs other duties as assigned
  • Values cultural competence and diversity
    • Collaborates with staff, members, and the community to gain the perspectives of others having diverse opinions, abilities, values, beliefs, perspectives, and ethnic or cultural backgrounds.
    • Takes deliberate steps to increase own cultural competency by attending trainings, events, discussions, workshops, etc.
    • Is intentional to increase cultural competency within the department.


• Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college in social work, sociology, vocational rehabilitation, or other related field.
• People who have lived experience of psychiatric diagnosis, addiction, homelessness, and/or trauma are encouraged to apply.
• At least one year (1) of experience in a vocational/employment program in a mental health or social service setting.
• Experience working in employment with populations with complex needs.
• Must possess a valid driver’s license
• Must be able to show proof of personal automobile insurance
• Must be insurable under Park Center’s automobile insurance

This job operates in a professional office environment with remote office flexibility. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers phones, photocopiers, filing cabinets, and fax machines.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to fingers, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; balance; stoop, kneel, crouch; talk or hear. The employee must occasionally lift or move up to 10 pounds. Visual ability to detect errors.

Additional Information


  • 403(b)
  • Health
  • Vision
  • Dental

How to Apply

Apply on our website:


  • Date Posted: August 20, 2023
  • Type: Full-Time
  • Job Function: Other
  • Service Area: Other
  • Salary Range: $20.19 - $21.41
  • Working Hours: 37.5/week, M-F