Evaluation of a combined supported computer education and employment training program for persons with psychiatric disabilities.

Meaningful work is described as one of the functional indicators of healing and growth beyond the disability and is seen as critical in recovering a personal sense of worth and value. We describe a supported education-supported employment program which focused on teaching computer, recovery and work skills. A program evaluation was implemented on four consecutive classes of this program. Four classes with a convenience sample of sixty-one students were involved in the evaluation over years. The program utilized a one group pretest, posttest design, with repeated measures over time. Following the 10-month classroom training phase, students entered a 2-month internship to give them computer office work experience. Students were interviewed quarterly using standardized assessments involving work and other subjective outcomes. Results suggest that overall the students experienced a positive change in work status and income and a decrease in mental health services utilization. In addition, non-vocational outcomes, specifically self-esteem and empowerment improved. The program represents a successful integration of supported education and supported employment program models.