January 2014 and Beyond….With No Wipeouts!

I hope you experienced a joyous and peaceful Holiday Season. Gains and losses experienced in 2013 turn the holidays into a happy and/or a sad time for many. I like to take it simple and slow…..but that didn’t happen this year…especially when it comes to the flurry of activity on Christmas Day.

I remember when the focus was on the gift opener/gift giver….not everyone at once!

Mom and Dad had the family for Christmas Day again this year. I keep a journal (not as complete as I used to and would like to…..) but blogging helps remember! I did really well blogging last year, however taking a year long course takes a toll on the time available to write (and do a lot of other things as well….). Anyway, here’s what transpired last year.

What will 2014 Bring?

I am ready to enter into round 3 (out of 4) of my educational program through GWU next week. My next course will be Law and the Rehabilitation Consultant. It will be interesting. I’ll be visiting Washington DC to culminate my program AND most importantly to visit with my niece Taylor Prochnow.

Taylor made an Iowa trip over the holidays to visit her loud and obnoxious family (that’s us). Taylor makes her home in Arlington, Virginia. She knows the ins and outs of the DC area and I am so excited to have her serve as a future tour guide.

Me and T

Me and T skating at the Brenton Plaza (no wipe outs!)

Taylor  graduated from the University of Miami and moved North to work in international relations. She works for a think tank in DC….more to come on her career some day (I need to learn more about what she does.) I am very proud of our beautiful Taylor Marie!

I hope your January is peaceful and the months to come bring what you foresee into your career. I’m excited about my career (especially with doing more life care plans!) in 2014 and in planning, I’m using the services of our local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for free, confidential and customized advice! I recommend if you have a small business, or want to start one in 2014 to do the same. Here’s more information on the SBDC.

And back to the wiping out possibility. I didn’t wipe out as I was ice skating. But boy did I start slow and clunky (ice skating is not walking dummy…it’s more of a gliding motion.) I was getting into it!


Follow what you enjoy in 2014 and you will see success!

But then again, a wipe out (AKA a mistake or an error) will happen…..I’ve always been of the mindset that you learn from your mistakes.

Happy New Year! Be Safe, Make Good Choices, and Be Creative!



My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce





Being Nosey, Opinions and I Make My Point Clear!

This summer while I was walking around Gray’s Lake, I eaves dropped over a conversation two young women were having about tap water throughout the city. I was right behind them, ready to make a fast pass around.

I’m not Gladys Kravitz all the time!

One thought Urbandale water was good and the other didn’t. They agreed West Des Moines water tastes ucky.  One loved Chicago water (and I thought ewwww ucky, and the strange smell to boot).  Then their conversation turned to a cute guy jogging their way……

Clearly, people’s opinions vary widely around one subject!

I don’t think I will ever find a person who is adversarial to water – and specifically why water is important to a person. However, I, in my role as a vocational rehabilitation counselor, routinely find a person who is adversarial to my opinion regarding whether or not a person can return to work (over their stance that the same person is permanently and totally disabled.)

I’ve evaluated hundreds of people and I hold firm in my opinion that work is incredibly important to a person. Rarely have I not been able to identify work for a person. In that type of situation, the person’s serious mental health condition (such as schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, or borderline personality disorder) comes into play more than the person’s physical capacity.

One point I’d like to make clear!

[And this isn’t an opinion, it’s just the truth:] It is easier to state that a person cannot work than to identify what a person can do for work.

“No, can’t work.” That’s it.  “No” “Can’t Do” “No Work is Available”  What a negative attitude.  Is it just too much work to find work for a person?


“Yes, you can work” And here’s why, how and what the person can do! “Yes” “Can do” “I will help you!” This is a positive attitude! And it is a lot of work to find work for a person! That’s what I’m trained to do! And I love it!

Please see my paper I wrote August 2013 titled (it’s posted on my LinkedIn page)


Let me know what I can do to help you with your legal work regarding your client’s return to work!

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * lcpresourcesplus.com * 515-282-7753  * VocResources@gmail.com


 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Can You Make Money? Save Money? Solve Problems? Yes! Then You’re Hired!

I’ve stayed out of town twice recently and can tell in a second if the water I’m showering in or drinking is hard. Hard water feels different (icky) and tastes different (ucky). When the quality of your water is soft, the soap you use in your bathtub, shower, sink, washing machine, dishwasher, and on your skin is incredibly efficient.  Your body, dishes, clothes become much cleaner than if hard water were used. And the taste is so much more crisp, clear and clean and drinkable!

In my mind, soft water is essential

In the past, I’ve blogged about my dad and his career at Culligan Soft Water. Yes, I grew up around soft water, so that may be why I love it so much. And yes, I realize there are benefits of hard water as well (watering houseplants!). That’s beyond the scope of this blog!   However, within the scope of this writing is the fact that….

I am fascinated by people and their work!

I invite you to read a nice short story about Emmett Culligan’s day once long ago when he was not at work.  Sounds like something I would find myself doing (striking up a conversation with a worker…and then getting fascinated about his work….and losing track of what I was doing to begin with!). The maintenance worker came up with a brilliant idea that accomplished the three goals employers look for when hiring:

A person who can help to make money

In this situation, the worker clearly was a valuable team member to keep the hospital filled with patients.

A person who can help to save money 

The worker’s idea saved on supplies, in this example, the use of soap to wash hospital linens.

A person who can help solve problems

 The worker’s idea prevented scaling in the boilers by removing the hardness from the water.

This holds true to this this day. Employers look to hire a person who can help them either make money, save money, and/or solve problems. And Mr. Culligan ended up doing just that….hiring many people who helped him in each of these areas…..leading to a successful business.  One one day in the 1950’s that included my dad! Here’s a funny blog about how to use the office water cooler (according to cats.)

Want to tell a potential employer how you can do these things? More to come on interviewing skills in another post! Stay tuned and I love to share stories about success at work! Leave me a comment with one of yours!


My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce.


My Mom’s Jobs…From Typing Cookbooks to Court Clerk to Pool Manager….and more

In June, I wrote about my dad Richard Prochnow and his work. Now on to my mom!

During the years all five of us were at home in the 70s, going to school every weekday, my mom worked out of the basement. Ann typed recipes for cookbooks. Using a manual typewriter, she typed up the ingredients and instructions for recipes submitted by cooks from all over the country. Often the information provided was scribbled on slips of paper. Dad served as the initial proof reader. After the pages containing the recipes were ready to be published, that is typed error free and in specific format, mom drove them to the cookbook place on Siloam Road.

Mom was paid by the page

In the late 70s, mom secured a position as clerk of court with the local magistrate’s office. She was responsible to keep track of the charges and the outcome of the court hearings involving smaller crimes (traffic violators, disturbing the peace, minor assaults, public intox, peeing in public, etc.)

Mom describes this job as keeping the records on “little” criminals

Also during this time frame mom worked part-time as a pool manager for the newly built indoor swimming facility at Ellsworth Community College.  She describes how she cleaned the pool with a vacuum. She checked the chlorine and pH levels of the water in the pool and in the sauna, mixing and adding chemicals as needed. She also scheduled lifeguards and kept on eye on them!

Mom got in the pool every Saturday morning!

There’s more to come, but I can certainly tell so far how I’m attracted to clerical work (I have always loved to type), the legal system and swimming!

Let me know if you’d like me to review your work history! I’d love to!

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * lcpresourcesplus.com * 515-282-7753


My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce.


Happy 14th Anniversary Vocational Resources Plus (2012)

Vocational Resources Plus LLC celebrates 14 years in business! (original posting September 1, 2012)

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I Love Orchids!

September is a special month for me. My birthday is in September (and so is the love of my life, Randy’s) and I started my own business in September…..back in 1999.  Please read on for info on Vocational Resources Plus LLC!Vocational Resources Plus LLC offers an array of vocational rehabilitation services with a focus on placement.

Vocational rehabilitation is a set of services designed to facilitate the return to work process (also known as placement) for individuals following a serious accident or illness that disrupted employment.

Placement is the bottom line of vocational rehabilitation, and therefore is the most in demand service.  Placement can be simply defined as finding suitable employment. Continue to read on for more detail on Vocational Resources Plus LLC’s placement services and procedures.Vocational Resources Plus LLC designs unique placement services to return-to-work problems that arise on workers’ compensation, personal injury and disability cases.

The objective of each placement assignment is to research key details on an individual’s employability. This information provides the base to plan for courses of action. Action is presented in the form of service delivery, case management, and reporting services.

The goal of each service is to identify strategies that are proven to achieve positive employment related results. The objectives that are set forth in a client’s plan will effectively place individuals back into his or her working world.  This ‘pathway to work’ expedites resolution, details the scope of occupational loss, and ultimately addresses the monetary figure of claim that is in litigation.~Vocational Resources Plus LLC offers one of the most comprehensive placement services available in the local market to address workforce issues and attributes of occupations. The value of designing a service specifically based on the individual’s personal background, work history, transferable skills, knowledge and abilities, coupled with his or her interests, aptitudes personality factors and various vocational related attributes is higher than the actual cost of providing the service.

The case is covered carefully while the individual and all representatives associated with the claim are provided with specific details of the situation to better understand the priorities of successful rehabilitation. All services are documented and a narrative report is useful to evaluate the claimant’s rehabilitation potential, to determine the extent of loss of job, or pay, or of employability.

Specific details on level of cooperation to secure employment, worker qualifications compared to existing employment opportunities, and compliance regarding recommended therapeutic intervention or physical exercise are a few examples that are assessed for the individual to adjust to their situation.Vocational Resources Plus is often called upon to help when a case is in litigation or has the potential to become overly problematic and costly. Referrals are welcomed from attorneys and self-insured employers!  The strategy of assigning your difficult cases to a knowledgeable consultant saves time and reduces long-term effects of any claim. 


~ Vocational Resources Plus LLC commits to helping with the needs of its clientele by providing consulting services that exceed the standards of practice expected in the field of vocational rehabilitation.


Vocational Resources Plus LLC

Job placement is a professional procedure. The purpose is to assist the job seeker to find a job matching his or her knowledge base, skill sets, abilities, work capacities, interests and aptitudes, as well as needs for location, work scheduling, level of earnings, benefits, plus more!

Comprehensive placement on average can take 4 weeks – 6 months (based on available employment opportunities and client cooperation). Placement is broken down into 3 phases: Information Gathering, Accessing the Labor Market and Placement. Other services such as Job Seeking Skills Training, Vocational Counseling, and Outsourcing are available on an as needed, individualized basis.

Within the first few weeks of placement, the placement specialist may be able to discern if success at obtaining employment is likely or not. All case activities, research and results of efforts are reported. Expert testimony is available.

Phase I ~ Information Gathering

This phase is time intensive and involves meeting the client, orientation, paperwork, appraisal of qualifications and transferable skills, and participating in other preliminary processes. The individual’s skill set is matched with existing employment opportunities. Resumes are prepared, reference building is performed, specific, information details are gathered and goals are set.

Timeframe: 1-3 weeks. The placement specialist can spend from 10-15 hours per week on preliminary processes. The placement client spends as much time as necessary to support this phase.

Phase II ~ Accessing the Labor Market

This phase involves designing a flexible marketing strategy to assist the client in establishing informational interviews and job interviews. Results are evaluated to help make decisions and to clarify career choices. It involves identifying and contacting businesses in appropriate markets and industries to assist with finding adequate profiles of persons to meet marketing needs and job opening requirements.

Timeframe: Commonly starts in the 3rd week and continues as long as feasible opportunities are identified, up to approximately the 6th week. The placement specialist averages 5-10 hours per week. The placement client spends as much time as necessary to support this phase.

 Phase III – Placement

When the client has sufficient opportunities available and is cooperative with placement procedures, this phase unfolds. When the client is placed, follow-up occurs at appropriate increments. If the client is uncooperative or if excessive barriers do not allow for a successful transition into the workforce, other Vocational Resources Plus, LLC services are available or referrals can be made.

Timeframe: Starts at approximately 3 or 4 weeks into the assignment, depending on the client’s situation and continues until placement occurs. A minimum of one month of post-placement services are offered. The placement specialist averages 1-5 hours a week. The placement client spends as much time as necessary to support this phase.

Thanks for reading….now give me a call!  There’s a sample employment packet the client receives, it’s located to the right on my website. Take a look around at all the resources available! I have even more to share!

515-282-7753 or email VocResources@msn.com



 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Vocational Evaluators: 3 Roles in 1. Germs, Competitors, and a Shredder Help!

In my Iowa State Days and into the Fall of 1994, one course I recall quite well was Microbiology. Here I am, a new mother, messing around in a laboratory with germs. Okay, microbiology is better defined as “The branch of biology that deals with microorganisms and their effects on other living organisms.” Luckily I had a smart lab partner who knew what needed to be done with the microscopes, dyes, stains, aseptic procedures, identification, etc.. My partner helped me to learn and helped me to keep myself and my new baby at home safe from bad germs!

My Grade for the Microbiology Course ~ B+

I believe my grade proves I took the course seriously and I tried my hardest! This leads me to discuss the topic of the serious nature of my role and function as a vocational evaluator.

Because there is a need for vocational evaluation services to persons with or without disabilities, I continually expand my professional capacities in these areas:

1)   Vocational/Career Expert     2)   Disability Specialist     3)   Educator

A Vocational Evaluator has 3 roles in 1!

I work with a wide variety of people and provide a mix of services to improve and expand my 3 in 1 role as a vocational evaluator.

I’ve come across several “competitors” vocational evaluation reports and found they served the best role shredded in the bottom of a recycling bin. Of course, I learn from reading them and can apply data from them, only if it makes sense to me!

In fact I’ve read two reports on two separate people by one vocational evaluator. Boy they read similarly! These reports were canned, used computer generated data, laced with irrelevant statistics, tossed with strange jargon, citing outdated sources, sprinkled with wording that all sounded the same.  Both reports concluded the same thing: this person is totally and permanently disabled from all work. Wow! Was I missing something? Were there germs lurking?

The “competitor” reports I’m referring to did not contain important information (that I include in my individualized reports) such as:

  • detailed information about the workers’ vocational background
  • an analysis of the person’s transferable skills
  • what type of work the person is interested in
  • a look into current employment opportunities that match those interests and skills
  • a review of reasonable accommodations and/or other ways to perform work efficiently
  • real life job placement perspectives and actual comments from local employers
  • recommendations for skill enhancement or ways to learn a new skill
  • offering of job placement or referral to community sources for help!

The information I include is based on the context surrounding the individual and the goal of the evaluation.

Poorly written reports get shredded!

I’ve performed hundreds of vocational evaluations (and have shredded many, too)! When I combine my educational abilities and career counseling expertise while providing disability specific resources when needed, my goal as a good rehabilitation counselor is fulfilled!

I’ve posted several times on the subject of vocational evaluations ~ which happens to be one of my favorites! ~ Please take a look around my blog and let me know how I can help you.

Contact me at 515-282-7753 or vocresources@gmail.com


 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.



Graduations, Birthdays, Holidays, Weddings, Oh My!

This is such a busy time of the year for everyone! Yesterday my family celebrated Jacob’s high school graduation. It was a very nice ceremony held at the Knapp Center on Drake’s campus. So much diversity at North High!  So many happy families! And the band and chorus were fantastic!

A Happy Grad

I’m looking at some of Jake’s school paperwork, which includes his report card and transcript. Wow! That’s a lot of work!  Jake really did well in Aquarium Science, Psychology, and Economics.  Okay, being a vocational counselor that I am, I honestly can’t figure out where those three courses could tie together.  Let me think…..

One Spoiled Clown Fish

Counseling the owner of a clown fish who spent too much on the aquarium set up. Sure. Where to find a job? How much does that pay? We’d have to do a labor market survey, question workers in the field and look up statistics for that information. Good luck, anyone what to help me?

And next up, my beautiful daughter Arin is celebrating a big day today!  Happy Birthday Sweet 16!  She’s been car shopping!

Nice Ride

Happy Memorial Day.  Have a great day and be safe! I have some weddings to go to next month!  I love going to weddings….free food!

What have you been up to?


My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce.

Creatively Looking at Creativity! And Gaining Valuable Skills to Boot!

Let’s take a creative look at creativity. Have you ever created anything new that added value and a way to gain valuable skills?  Sure you have!

Drawing pictures, writing for a magazine (I’m a freelance writer for Women’s Edition), garden or silk flower arranging, painting an old milk can, sewing a bunch of buttons on your jeans, knitting a really long chain out of yard, crocheting a baby blanket, baking secret cupcakes, sculpting your hair, story-telling in the dark, cracking jokes before breakfast, rebuilding an old tractor engine, building a swing out of an old tire, designing a user friendly website, starting a small business in your basement, singing a self-written song, designing a voice activated door opener (I so want to do this!), creating a mural with sidewalk chalk in your driveway, mowing strange shapes into your lawn, and on and on and on……is, simply put, a fun way to learn and gain valuable skills.

 There is so much going on in your mind when you’re creating!

I always ask my clients about their hobbies and interests.  The wonderful attributes of a person’s inner workings help me to identify their transferable skills beyond the basic ones found from their work background.

My son Jake, who graduates on Sunday from high school, has always loved to draw. Yes, he’s gotten into a bit of trouble at school for choosing to draw rather than do his school work.  Oh well. His mind (and hands) simply love to draw. And he’s very talented. Here’s a sample:



From a vocational perspective, I’m fascinated by the work of a CAD Designer. CAD ~ Computer Aided Design has revolutionized how people draw and design things.  Speed, efficiency, communication, and revisions are performed very quickly. People are using CAD to draw virtually anything in 3D, and there are many software products available, and more to come I’m sure.

CAD is used to create machines, products, components, floor plans, animation, special effects, advertising, technical manuals, and on and on once again. And even mammography (but it still squeezes the heck out of you.) I think it’s cool that trucking companies are using CAD to load their trailers efficiently. I’d like to use it to organize my freezer.

I’ve told Jake I believe he would excel at work that uses Computer Aided Design. And I recommend he check out colleges that offer CAD (read DMACC!).  However, I think CAD projects still need to be in tune with the human emotional content seen in hand drawings.  Here’s another sample of Jake’s drawings:

Link from Legend of Zelda

Jacob will come home from school and show me his latest creations. He doesn’t leave home without a sketch pad! I wonder if he realizes how much he’s really using geometry, spatial relations, visual acuity, fine motor skills, eye-hand connection, attention to detail, and many a good pencil eraser (which crumbles all over the place!) to practice and refine his drawing methodology.  And he exhibits patience and stamina throughout the process!

Jacob can draw anything he’s observed. And he can draw from memory.  For Mother’s Day, he and Arin designed a card for me.  Jacob was in charge of the artwork, Arin the writing.  I loved it!  Using his skill set, Jacob drew each of our pets from memory.  He added each of their unique personalities with a twist of the pencil.  Jake sees contour, edges, sizes, angles, lines, proportions, shading, shades, gestures, color, patterns, textures……and is able to recreate images to a T. Or better yet, he creates his own images into whatever letter he chooses!


Ram Head (a re-creation from a framed print I’ve had since the 60s)

Jacob has a many transferable skills (as do most of my placement clients!)  Transferable skills are accomplishments and understandings an individual has developed in various situations that can be used in many other situations.  Very simply explained, transferable skills are those versatile skills that you can apply and make use of in many situations and roles.

In a future blog, I’ll write about transferable skills.  In the meantime, tell me how you were creative today.  What’d you do?  What are your interests and hobbies?


My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce. 





Childhood Interests Can Help You Find the Right Career

This is an eye opening You Tube Video.  Think about your early interests in life…..while watching this video ~ Childhood Interests Can Help You Find the Right Career


My first business in my childhood was starting a baby sitting service (not just being a baby sitter!)  I recruited help from my neighborhood friends and we worked as a team to provide “having fun while caring for your children” services to customers.  We called our team “The Sheiks”….and I can’t remember why now. Could be because we played a lot of dress up!


Basically, I have been an entrepreneur ever since!

Let me know how I might help you find the right career.



My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce




Vocational Research Assignments & Staffing Placements

Vocational Resources, Plus consults on workers’ compensation, personal injury and disability cases by providing qualitative research services and consultation as well as direct service provision. Due to the nature of return-to-work, each vocational assignment is situational and individualized. The goal is to provide a clear and concise picture of the employment options currently available to the evaluee or client.Related imageResearch is based on a wide range of criteria and utilizes solid methodology and fact gathering techniques. Accurate and objective reporting details up-to-date information to define and enhance the direction of the case.

Assignments vary greatly, and include differences in level of education, skills, abilities, aptitudes, socio-economic factors, physical limitations and an assortment of employability factors.

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Vocational Resources, Plus has performed indepth research on many vocations and identified various factors that have helped to prioritize issues for the case at hand.

For a listing of vocations, please click on the link on my website. Also, as a matter of fact, I’ve also placed hundreds of workers throughout Des Moines. Here’s my client roster list from my days as a marketing representative for a staffing company:

Client Reference List



















And now old piece of paper, you’ve been recycled! Please let me know what I could do to help you help your clients!



My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.