Employment Services for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders


There are a wide range of programs and services tailored towards addressing the health, economic success, and broader well-being of people diagnosed with substance use disorders (SUD). These individuals often experience barriers to finding and maintaining stable employment, a problem that was only exacerbated by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. These barriers may include being stigmatized, experiencing stress, living in communities with high unemployment rates, or not being able to find a workplace that can accommodate an individual’s treatment schedule. MDRC, in partnership with Abt Global and MEF Associates, is studying programs intended to boost employment and earnings, including the application of Individualized Placement and Support (IPS) services to individuals diagnosed with substance use disorder.

BEES logoThis work is part of the Building Evidence on Employment Strategies (BEES) project, which is housed in the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE)’s Innovative Strategies for Addressing Employment Barriers Portfolio. BEES is rigorously evaluating the “next generation” of employment strategies and is partnering with the Social Security Administration on select evaluations. Five studies in the BEES project focus on providing employment services to individuals with SUD:

Central City Concern, Oregon

Individual Placement and Support in a Substance Use Disorder Treatment Setting, Illinois, Ohio, and Oklahoma

Individual Placement and Support in a Federally Qualified Health Center Setting, Illinois, New Hampshire, and North Carolina

Descriptive Study of Integrating Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Employment Services, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia

Addiction Recovery Care, Kentucky