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Over the past several decades, the theory of vocational rehabilitation has experienced two major stages of evolution.
To date, there have been no formal studies of the effects of psychiatric rehabilitation programs on key illness-related outcomes.
To address this issue, this study seeks to examine the effects of a new program of supported employment on psychosocial outcomes for persons with SMI.
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The most promising of these have emerged from the tradition of psychiatric rehabilitation with its emphases on individual consumer goal setting, skills training, job preparation and employment support (Cook, Jonikas and Solomon, 1992).
These are relatively new and field evaluations are rare or have only recently been initiated (Cook and Razzano, 1992; Cook, 1992).
A central issue is the ability of a person to hold a regular full-time job for a sustained period of time.
There have been several attempts to develop novel and radical models for program interventions designed to assist persons with SMI to sustain full-time employment while living in the community.
The idea that this model could be generalized to persons with all types of severe disabilities, including severe mental illness, became commonly accepted (Chadsey-Rusch & Rusch, 1986).
One of the more notable SE programs was developed at Thresholds, the site for the present study, which created a new staff position called the mobile job support worker (MJSW) and removed the common six month time limit for many placements.