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IPS Teams: Supporting People Through Employment

IPSIf you can’t find Monarch’s Individual Placement and Support (IPS) team around the office it is usually a good thing. That’s because they spend most of their days out in the community looking for opportunities and talking with potential employers. Their main job is to help the people we support find jobs and coach them once they identify employment.

The service, which includes a team leader, employment support professionals and certified employment peer mentors, provides flexible, continuous supports to help people with a mental illness or substance use disorder gain the skills necessary to find a job.

Chris Geter is an employment support professional for the Forsyth IPS team in Winston-Salem. He has been working with Pam Starnes and together they found a job for her in quality management at McDonald’s where she has been working for three months. 

“I like my job. I get to interact with people on a daily basis. I do facility maintenance, keep the lobby clean,” explained Starnes (pictured). “I enjoy my work and I’m a neat freak anyways so it’s actually therapeutic.”

Even though she has only been there for a short time, she has already gotten to know many of the regular customers.  Starnes also enjoys interactions with Geter and says he makes the job hunt and skills training comfortable and easy. She sees her current role as a great stepping stone to continue with a career.

“At age 50, you wouldn’t think you could fit in anywhere working at a McDonald’s. But I enjoy it. I’m continually looking to strive a little higher. We are always striving together [Geter and I]. He helps me out quite a bit, and it gives me hope for the next job.”

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