Jim Taliaferro launches supported employment program

Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 11:52 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Working towards ending the stigma of mental health and substance abuse is the mission of a new program in Lawton.

“About 60% of people with serious mental illness, they want to work, and less than 20% are employed which is unfortunate,” said Hurleyjacks.

This is the reason why Individual Placement and Support, also known at IPS, was started back in 2018.

Summer Hurleyjacks, the project manager at the Jim Taliaferro Community Mental Health Center says it has since helped hundreds of people across the state.

IPS is a model of supported employment for those with mental illness and substance abuse disorder.

The program aims to help clients find employment in the career path of their choice.

She said the only requirement is the desire to work.

“We get to help people be successful in their life and that’s exactly what we want to do is empower people with resources and tools,” she said.

Dustin Bailey is the operations coordinator for the Grand addiction recovery Center.

He went through the program a few years ago, after dealing with an active drug addiction.

“I really felt like having a decade of really inconsistent job history was going to be a factor in my ability to continue to stay clean,” said Bailey.

Bailey said he uses his own experience as a driving force to help people, the same way he was helped.

“When I look at IPS, the program, the clients that are involved I know first hand how important and how life changing meaningful employment can be to someone in recovery,” he said.

The program kicks off tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. with a celebration at the Children and Families building on 502 SW 38th st. in Lawton.