Employment specialists' competencies as predictors of employment outcomes

Amanda Christine Taylor, Purdue University


Employment specialist competencies were examined as predictors of employment outcomes for consumers with severe mental illness participating in supported employment. Using a cross-sectional correlational design a variety of self-report and supervisor-rated performance measures were examined for their association with three consumer employment outcomes (e.g., the percentage of consumers on their caseload competitively employed, the percentage of consumers on their caseload employed 90 consecutive days, and the rate in which consumers dropped out of employment services). Six mental health agencies with a total of 57 employment specialists and 14 supervisors from across the nation participated in the study. Competitive employment rates ranged among employment specialists from 0% to 80%. Higher supervisor-rated job performance, supervisor-rated employment specialist efficacy, percentage of work time spent in the community during the past month, and number of contacts with consumers during the past month were related to improved consumer employment outcomes. However, employment specialist attitudes, knowledge of supported employment, conscientiousness, and self-efficacy were unrelated to employment outcomes. This study is one of the first of its kind to examine employment specialist competencies as they relate to supported employment for consumers with severe mental illness. While supported employment is a great improvement over traditional vocational programs, further examination of employment specialist competencies could hold the key to unlocking employment success for many more consumers.




Bond, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Psychology|Clinical psychology

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