Poor health can undermine sustainable employment, particularly among vulnerable populations. Additionally, exposure to early adversity and trauma is not only highly prevalent among low-income groups, but has also been shown to interfere with job-related outcomes. To address this phenomenon in the State of Wisconsin, the Community Advocates’ Public Policy Institute has developed the Improving Health Through Enhanced Work project, which will build upon the success of the State of Wisconsin’s Transitional Jobs Program by offering new program components to increase its efficacy on social and economic determinants of health.
This project aims to increase access to primary and behavioral health care for job-seeking adults, which we believe will increase their employability. The three components of this project include enrolling individuals in a transitional job (subsidized employment), assisting them with obtaining health insurance coverage and conducting a primary care physician visit, and having them complete a trauma screening with referrals for follow-up services if necessary.
In partnership with the Public Policy Institute, Drs. James Topitzes (PI), David Pate (Co-PI), and Joshua Mersky (Co-PI) will conduct a five-year mixed-methods study of this innovative Transitional Jobs Program. Drs. Topitzes and Mersky will lead the quantitative arm of the study, which will employ a randomized controlled design to compare usual transitional job services to a modified transitional jobs program that adds supplementary health, mental health, and trauma-informed care enhancements. Dr. Pate will lead the qualitative arm of the study, which aims to learn more about the lives of men who receive these services as well as their experience in the program.