What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?
Under the direction of executive director, Jerry Dincin, PhD (1965-2003), Thresholds became increasingly interested in the evaluation of its services for the purposes of program improvement. Studies conducted at Thresholds provided quantitative evidence of the need for effective employment services first understood intuitively by Thresholds founders in the early '60s. Analysis of data collected in the 1980s showed that the percentage of consumers employed at intake to the agency ranged from only three to seven percent. In order to assess the most effective services to address this problem, Thresholds began to conduct research studies comparing employment outcomes of members enrolled in traditional pre-vocational services with those engaged in competitive employment. As study results illustrated the effectiveness of competitive employment over other employment models, Thresholds shifted increasingly toward a “place-train” approach in which consumers obtained competitive jobs in the community and were provided with on-going supports.
Thresholds committed to evidence-based supported employment (EBSE) services beginning with a five-year research study of supported employment in 1999. This study, conducted in conjunction with Dr. Gary Bond from IUPUI and the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center, demonstrated the greater effectiveness of EBSE in obtaining successful employment outcomes for consumers compared to Thresholds’ previous vocational model. With the arrival of Dr. Tony Zipple as the new Chief Executive Officer in June 2003, Thresholds made a commitment to recovery-based services and to evidence-based supported employment in particular.
Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.
Deborah R. Becker M.Ed., CRC is Assistant Research Professor of Community and Family Medicine and of Psychiatry, Dartmouth Medical School. She is a rehabilitation specialist and is the Senior Project Director at The New Hampshire-Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center. Along with Robert E. Drake, she has described and researched the Individual Placement and Support approach to supported employment. She provides consultation and training on vocational rehabilitation and program implementation.
Robert E. Drake, MD, Ph.D. is the Andrew Thomson Professor of Psychiatry and Community and Family Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School and the Director of the New Hampshire-Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center. He has been at Dartmouth for over 20 years, developing and evaluating community-based programs for persons with severe mental disorders. He is well known for his work in psychiatric rehabilitation and mental health services research.
How did you first hear about Changemakers?
If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company