Minnesota among 7 states chosen for Labor Dept. initiative to improve employment for people with mental health conditions

Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Labor announced seven states, including Minnesota, have been chosen to participate in its new initiative to help improve employment outcomes for people with mental health conditions.

The Labor Department’s Advancing State Policy Integration for Recovery and Employment initiative provides Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Florida, Indiana, Oklahoma and Virginia with tailored and targeted assistance, such as expertise to help create and implement a plan that encompasses multiple systems like mental and behavioral health, Medicaid, vocal rehabilitation, workforce and education.

The goal is to align state policy and funding to increase competitive integrated employment for those with mental health conditions.

Additionally, ASPIRE will also provide a forum for knowledge-sharing between states, federal agencies, mental health service providers and other stakeholders, the department said.

"With the right support, people with mental health conditions can succeed in the workforce, including individuals who haven’t previously been successful," Office of Disability Employment Policy Deputy Assistant Secretary Jennifer Sheehy said. "Better integration of funding, policy and programs to support proven employment models, such as Individual Placement and Support, is key to helping more people do so, and we look forward to working with and learning from the ASPIRE states."