Region 4 South along with our 4 Partnering Counties Grant, Stevens, Pope and Traverse County recognize and value the opportunity for individuals to hold employment. If you have a mental health diagnosis and would like assistance surrounding employment you can contact your County Social Services and request assistance through the IPS employment program. Region 4 South offers an employment program that is accessed through your county. Douglas County also values individuals obtaining employment but has their own IPS Program that can be also accessed through Douglas Social Services.

For more information about IPS visit DHS website:


Success Stories

Living in a small town, not sure what direction to go in life and needing help to get on the right path is the situation this client was facing.  This person was working in a rural employment program since high school but understood it was time to find competitive employment as an adult.  He had applied for two jobs but had no luck getting employment.

The client met with an employment specialist and a vocational rehab counselor to talk over job dreams and goals.  They met two times to talk over ideas and share how the IPS program could help.  At the end of the second meeting, the client completed an application to work at Dollar Tree.  Together the employment specialist and the client delivered the application to the store.  The two talked with the manager regarding the opening she had.  It was a very brief interview and the client was offered a job as a cashier.  The client had applied at the store before but had never gotten in interview.

As work began, there were some rough patches with adjusting to a new job and having an overwhelming feeling of working in a toxic environment.  The employment specialist continued to meet and support the client as he adjusted to his new job.  The client discovered that there are many different management styles in the world and his present manager was very different than the manager he had worked for previously.

Presently this client feels successful with his job and continues to improve his work skills in an environment he has adjusted to.  The client feels that the IPS program has helped him build up tolerance for a different type of job than what he was used to.  Also, his eyes were open to the varying things different jobs have to offer.


“It’s great to have purpose to each day.” 

Quote from a happy employed client.


I met a young lady who just wanted to have an income.  Her dream job was to be an FBI profiler, but she is very down to earth and knew working in a thrift store was her calling in the small town where she lived.  She volunteered at this thrift store and was waiting for an opening so she could apply for a paid position.  While waiting for a position to open up she needed to find employment that gave her an income.  She had worked in the fast food world before and thought she would try again.  McDonalds did call to set up an interview but the more she thought about that position the more she thought she could not go back to that fast-paced world.


Finally, the manager of the thrift store was requesting to add another position to help out the busy thrift store.  She was in contact with the manager and the manager said to apply online.  This process took some time as the board of directors had to approve the new position.  She was patient and completed that application process and interviewed and was offered the position as a processor and cashier.  She is so grateful to be working.


This person was referred to the Productive Alternatives IPS program by her case manager.  The IPS Employment Specialist and the Vocational Rehab Counselor met with her to discuss her job goals and needs.  Once that was decided, the job hunt was on.  At first, she was unsure about working and did not want to go out job hunting. With the support and guidance of the employment specialist meeting with her weekly she gained confidence and now is glad to be working.  



Written by:  Mary Beth Koudela

                        Employment Specialist

                        Productive Alternatives