Happy Rehabilitation Counselor Appreciation Day!

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March 22 of each year is designated as a Happy Day to Celebrate Rehabilitation Counseling! A bouquet of pink roses, dark chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream help the day turn even happier!

My career choice is Rehabilitation Counseling, a unique job for high-energy people who want to make a very real difference in the lives of people with disabilities.  It’s also a challenging job that requires creativity and vision to see possibilities where others see only problems. 

Here’s a great brochure prepared by the Rehab Services Administration, Department of Education describing the profession, rehab jobs, and information you’ve always wanted to know!  It’s the source for some of the paragraphs in this post.

It seems when I reply that my master’s degree is in “Rehabilitation Counseling” often the person wants to know if that involves drugs and alcohol. The answer is no (although at times it does, depending on the case). 

I explain I consult on litigated cases involving work and disability.  Then I usually get a ‘oh that’s cool’ response and I continue the conversation, keeping in mind the context and scope depends on the inquisitor! 

EnlighteningRehab Counseling is a High Energy Profession! 

In short, the goal of rehabilitation counseling is empowering people with (or even without) disabilities to make informed choices, build viable careers and live more independently in the community.

Rehabilitation counseling trains professionals who will be dedicated to working with individuals with disabilities in order to help them achieve productive and independent lives. Just as other counseling tracks, rehabilitation counseling educational programs – in order to produce competent and certifiable professionals – are at the master’s level.

Drake University, School of Education, Des Moines, Iowa offers an excellent Council of Rehabilitation Education (CORE) accredited master’s level Rehabilitation Counseling Program.  This accreditation enables graduates of the program to become Certified Rehabilitation Counselors. The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) sets the standard for quality rehabilitation counseling services in the United States and Canada.

Image result for spike drakes mascotDrake’s Mascot Spike with a Nice Bike!

Below’s another great bulldog picture. She has experience in Drake’s Beautiful Bulldog contest! Her name is Fat Amy. She owns Jeska Reese Dean, a family friend.

FatAmyFat Amy is Experienced!

I completed all required coursework at Drake University in the Master of Science in Counseling program. In addition, I took extra coursework focusing on job placement and mental health.

I was then eligible to take a national examination which I took on October 30, 2004, and upon passing, I earned the coveted CRC (Certified Rehabilitation Counselor) designation. Since then I re-certify every five years.

For background purposes, there are two main sections of the CRC exam:  Counseling and Rehabilitation/Disability.  A statistical procedure called equating is used to ensure all examinees demonstrate the same level of ability in order to pass the exam. Here’s my results:

Counseling Section:

Amy E. Botkin’s Scaled Score:       598         Passing Scaled Score:   500

&

Rehabilitation/Disability  Section:

Amy E. Botkin’s Scaled Score:       628            Passing Scaled Score:   500

TaDa

Here’s a link to my CRCC Certificate 71256. I love my career and every day try my hardest to use my talents wisely!

Please let me know if you have questions about the profession, my education or the professional  associations and groups I belong to. It may be a good career option for someone you know!

If your career is in law, please contact me at 515-282-7753 to ask me questions regarding how my work helps attorneys help their clients!  BTW, when is Attorney Appreciation Day?

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

 

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Need A Good Report? Rebut No Matter What!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

I was taught that vocational report writing is a very powerful form of communication and can influence the degree of success for the individual for whom it was written.  I love to communicate through the written word and have written many, many, reports! Blog posts too!

So this blog is to be sure you, my Attorney Reader, know I’m here to help critique and/or rebut a report that may cross your desk.  Image result for report

How many people do you know who really love to write reports? I do! It’s not that the report writing process is easy, it’s a challenge!!

Let me ask: Have you ever read (or tried to decipher) a vocational report that doesn’t make sense?  Is the report ambiguous and difficult to read? Does the person it was written for understand it? Do you understand it? Is it possible the report can be defended? Or should the report be ripped apart, piece by piece to get to its’ nuts and bolts? Need a critique or a rebuttal? I’m here to help!

Rebut No Matter What! 

Bull

This was my husband’s Grandpa Cliff Yearington’s Bull. Cliff knew a lot about Bulls & Bulls*** too. 

Loosen, take apart and re-assemble that poorly prepared report. Will it fall apart or simple wobble on? A poorly prepared report stresses difficulties but doesn’t offer much information about solutions. It talks about weaknesses rather than strengths; deficits and negatives rather than pluses and positives. It seeks to make threats rather than suggest changes. It uses multiple words, unclear statistics, and a slick method to confuse rather than clarify.KeepitSimple

Simply, it’s not helpful to write an entire vocational report about how bad off the person is, especially without mentioning plans to help make a positive impact on the individual’s life.

I love to comb through reports and make all attempts to uncover what the contents say to the reader.  Just because it’s a report doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to make sense! A report still needs to flow, tell a story, describe details and make valid and reasonable conclusions.

Here’s a sentence commonly found in reports from the same vocational person that I’ve been asked to rebut. [Keep in mind this long line comes after results of testing are provided within the report, but they are not explained at all!]

It is important to note that the purpose of all vocational testing done and reported here is to compare an individual’s current performance with their past performance as documented by their education, training, experience, and the standard worker trait factors associated with that history.

Say what? What does this run-on sentence mean?  The writer is using testing to compare performance? Did the evaluee’s past performance have anything to do with the testing administered? Did this person take the same tests throughout their work history? And then the paragraph continues…

 It is NOT correct to confuse an individual’s current test performance with performance in work prior to injury, as current performance is likely affected by the sequelae of disability.

Okay, now who is confused? The test taker? The person administering the test? I’ll tell you who….the reader!Related image The reader is easily confused by a poorly prepared report! Don’t be a confused reader! It’ll get you nowhere!

My initial question regarding this vocational report scenario, maybe helping to avoid confusion from the get go, is WHY were EACH of the specific testing instruments administered at all to this specific person? What is the rationalization for administration? The vocational person who wrote the report does not come close to answering these questions. To be ethically sound, administer testing only with a direct and relative reason to do so. 

I’ve written a professional report about my opinion on ethics and use of testing in vocational evaluations. Please contact me for a copy of the report. If you are my contact on LinkedIn, you’ll find it there readily available for now.

The underlying use of testing results to try to prove a person is permanently and totally disabled raises many ethical questions. Would you want that for yourself?

A test, really, a series of tests that I was forced to take, I didn’t understand, and simply put I didn’t want to take…those results determine my fate? Absolutely ridiculous! Results of testing are meant to assist a person for true and valid reasons…..not to paint a picture of “post injury residual vocational potential”

Image result for testing cartoon

Would you like to take ~ 10 tests in a single sitting? No!

Without testing, evaluation is merely speculative

Really now? I’ve helped to place literally hundreds of people without administering testing! And many other placement people do too! If you understand the persons skills and match them with jobs in the local labor market, there’s a match!

Yes, of course I use certain standardized tests and self-assessments to help people when it is appropriate for reasons directly related to their placement goals, but that isn’t all I use during a vocational evaluation! I gather knowledge and assess many other areas involving work, interests, skills, aptitudes and lifestyle to help. I do not rely on only the use of test results!

Back to report writing, which is a very specialized skill; and I continuously study, practice and improve upon my own writing skills. As a professional writer, I never stop training! I think I gained natural talent from my Grandpa Jack, a journalist!

Image result for writing

When I’m writing, I get very absorbed! My office cat will testify to that!

Again, do you need a critique or a rebuttal? I’m Your Person to Help!

If your opinion on a case doesn’t mesh at all with the report on your desk, please contact me to help sort out the discrepancies. Keep in mind, I know opinions are just that, opinions.  And reports are meant to answer questions, not raise more!

I also want you to keep in mind that if you believe in the truth, there’s a way to show it. Contact me for expert testimony and witness services, too! Oh, and I definitely can rebut a life care plan as well! Thank you for reading this post!

 ___________________

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

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Working on a Case Involving Work & Disability? I’m Here to Help You…Depose & More

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I can help you, my Attorney Reader, in a number of ways with a case you’re working on that involves work and disability, whether it be medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation or any other litigation.  Legal Case FilesActually, disability doesn’t have to be involved, yet when is tends to make a case more complex! 

One way I can help you is to design creative questions skillfully as part of the discovery process allowing a much deeper inquiry into the person’s “world of work”.

My goal is to inspire you even more to do what you love to do which is ask questions, right!? And to be the best attorney you can be, double right!!

Depo

I’m sure questions you ask a deponent include those to: determine the nature of previous jobs; amount of money making; for whom s/he was working; why employment was terminated; and what qualifications and experience s/he had for the type of work s/he was doing [when injured].

You also question what work the individual has done, if any since the disabling condition, describing job duties; and determining previous employers and earnings.  Questions posed to encourage a deponent to detail what it is s/he can and cannot do are important, too.

These are all good questions from you yes, and critical of course (although kinda boring in my humble opinion!). Would it help you to have at your fingertips specifically designed questions (based on evidence to date) at deposition that will produce a much deeper inquiry into the person’s vocational background? I get excited when I think of sooo many other questions you could ask that really get into the meat of the matter!

meatAnd I don’t eat meat!

I’ve heard 90% of malpractice cases are settled before trial, and the deposition often is the turning point in those cases. I’d like to help you prepare questions that will lead to responses offering plenty of material for you to work on your case. My aim is to help you skin that cat in many ways and be ready for the most likely responses from your witness.

Object

My hope is that my help with your deposing techniques is valuable pre-trial as well as if the transcript is used for court. Plus, please keep in mind, I can definitely help you in more ways to better understand the individual’s disabling condition. A life care plan is perfect for that! Expert witness and testimony services are available as well.

I am here to help you help your client!

Call me ~ Amy Botkin at  515-282-7753 or shoot me an email message at vocresources@gmail.com and I’ll get back to you. Thank you for reading! Good luck with your legal work. Do you want to really know that you love your job as an attorney?  Here’s a link to an assessment titled why-do-you-do-your-work-you-may-be-in-love that can help you find out!

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

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Want to Buy Some TIME From Me…a Consultant and an Educator?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

You’re a good attorney, and you care about the people you represent. You’re busy working on cases and spend a lot of time on time. In fact, you even buy TIME! And, I’m writing to help you make a more comfortable TIME purchase from me, a consultant who is also an educator!

MoneyTime

I fully realize attorneys buy TIME

Time – Because you bill by the hour (and so do I), I promise to help you be more productive and, thus, more successful by providing value laden services.

Pinky SwearI promise to always respect your time.

 

Information – Because I totally understand why you HATE looking stupid (and so do I), I will provide accurate information that you want or need.

Pinky SwearI promise to always ensure you have a good reason for working with me.

 

Money – Because saving money and making money are the goals for almost every law firm (and for every consulting firm too), I will effectively use all the resources available to help with your case.

Pinky SwearI promise to be accurate and fair with my billing.

 

Education – Because lawyers always need continuing education (and so do I) to maintain your license, I am available to present to any group that would benefit from learning about my work and rehabilitation consulting. In addition, as I’m a well-trained educator and counselor, I can help you and your client in many ways throughout the case and onto trial, where my educational background is useful in front of a jury.

Pinky SwearI promise to bring new light to your litigation strategies.

 

Time on HandsHow much TIME would you like to have on your hands, especially when working on a complex case that has to do with work and disability? So there it is!  But wait, there’s more:

I, Amy, promise to Always Be True at My Core, Apple Butterflybecause that’s all I have ever had and have ever needed and I’m willing to share what I know is true.

Enjoy a piece of quality fruit (I love organic apples) and then give me, Amy E. Botkin, a call to discuss your case. I’m here to help you help your client! 515-282-7753

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

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I’m A Lot Like A Mole…Fortunately to Help on a Legal Case!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Okay, so I do something I’m not so sure many other people chose to do and it’s clearly an inherited trait.  Dad did it too. Okay, it’s…it’s…I’ll just come out and tell you. I use bar soap and I use the soap until it is totally gone. And I mean totally!  I don’t waste soap.

Like dad, I also save and reuse paper napkins if possible (but prefer cloth!) and keep paper towels (ditto) the same way he did, until they’ve been totally used up! He’d toss, recycle or burn what he had to.

Waste Not, Want Not (Learned the saying from dad) and ya, it’s a proverb: if you use a commodity or resource carefully and without extravagance, you will never be in need, or, if one is not wasteful then one will not be needy. You get the point, and so did I back then and still do.

Dad would also say things like “It’s your nickel” back when the home phone rang in the 70’s with the cost increase to “It’s your dime” in the early 80s! Which really both made no sense at the time. But the point is my dad was cost conscious (boy oh boy am I too)! Dad was not wasteful and I greatly appreciate inheriting certain traits from him. I miss you so much dad! I know you are a part of me that I will have forever. 

Here’s a picture recently uncovered…my dad Dick and his baby Amy…no idea where we are and why I’m wearing silly glasses! Pretty cute though, huh! My dad, always a good looking man!

I am also quite cognizant of what I throw away. I don’t want to be wasteful and I don’t want to worsen any landfill with un-recyclable garbage (read: plastic packaging). I know plastic has many very practical and very useful purposes. But when it is used once and thrown away…that bothers me. Especially when I’m at a conference in a “green/sustainable building” and they serve all food items on disposal products.

I recycle everything possible (and feasible considering time and other factors) and started composting (thank you to my sister Julie who gave me her used Earth Machine)! To me, the smell of good natural composition of kitchen and yard waste is incredible and to think of how it was made by helpful microbes, worms and other organisms!

When mixed with your soil, compost will revitalize it, make it healthier and more productive, and increase moisture retention! Can’t go wrong there, huh!? So, I used compost this year spreading it out in my yard and garden. I don’t use any chemicals and pick weeds by hand! Plus I’m into the No Mow method of lawn maintenance.

Viola beautiful lawn and it smells so fresh! However, and much to my chagrin……we got moles. They must really like their meals found in our front and back yard. So the good can seem not so good when now my lawn is disfigured with raised soft ridges and scattered holes. So, this is all natural and meant to be, right?

A mole is really interesting looking, lives underground and is nearly blind. There’s been a couple deaths ~ a baby and an adult ~ with corpses delivered by most likely my cat Alaska in the driveway and later buried by my animal loving husband Randy….yes I make him dig a hole and bury. 

I read that although a mole can detect light it does not hunt using its eyes. Instead, it relies on smell (hence the interesting snout!) and on touching wriggling prey (hence those crazy nails) using sensory hairs on its face. So a mole is good for underground life.  A mole is also (based on my research : ) ) territorial, strong, a hard working solitude industrious digger (a natural engineer like my brother Michael).

So to safely say, I’m a lot like a mole. Yes I need to get new prescription glasses, there’s nothing wrong with my sense of smell, my nails are natural, and I have a somewhat fuzzy face according to my husband. There may be other similarities, but I’ll let you make them on your own!

I’ve talked to people, including my sister Julie, who have attempted to wage all-out war on moles without success. What I’m realizing is that molehills are signs that the soil is in good shape. And I can celebrate that fact! But there is lingering doubt and some anguish over the mighty, mysterious and resilient mole. And I’ve concluded a mole deserves respect, and as often as I can offer it, tolerance.

The bottom line is that with me, I see value and purpose in everything that surrounds me.

So, with this post, I ask you if you need help in helping your client through the difficult maze of their claim, please let me help. I won’t come to court looking like a mole, but will show up like an industrious mole:  ready to dig in and get to the bottom of the deal.

Thanks for reading my post. Give me a call! 515-282-7753  vocresources@gmail.com to discuss your case. I love to help out using my forensic rehabilitation services!

___________________

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

 

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Happy 19th Anniversary Vocational Resources Plus

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Vocational Resources Plus LLC Celebrates the beginning of 19 years in business!

September is a special month for me. My birthday is on September 15 and I started my own business on September 15…back in 1963 and 1999 respectively!

Please read on for information on Vocational Resources Plus LLC. I offer life care planning as well!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, or whatever is needed to bring facts on board.

The goal of each service is to identify strategies that are proven to achieve positive employment related results. The objectives set forth in a service plan will effectively place the person 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 comprehensive placement services to address labor market conditions, workforce issues, and attributes of specific 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 along with various vocational and physical 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 employers!  The strategy of assigning your difficult cases to a knowledgeable consultant saves time and reduces long-term effects of any claim.  I’m here to help!

MISSION STATEMENT

~ 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.

 COMPREHENSIVE JOB PLACEMENT OFFERED THROUGH 

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

    lcpresourcesplus.com

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

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

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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.

 

 

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Big Miss Steak…Cut Your Meat, Chew A Lot and Eat Slowly!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

We humans make some big mistakes. It’s those misguided or wrong actions or judgments that range from simple to complex that can cause alarm and then when understood and corrected can turn into an unforgettable learning experience.

My family and a couple of the kid’s friends had Florida travel plans last June of 2017 to visit my mom and her new husband Dave; and my sister too. Disney was in the works and a lot of beach time was in mind!

We were ready to board the plane…in fact most passengers had already boarded, when I heard over the intercom something to the effect of “stop boarding.” I then witnessed passengers I watched moving into the plane’s bridge walk back out with their carry-ons in tow; and thought “oh no, no, no, this doesn’t seem right.”

After all passengers were back in the boarding area, the announcement came on that the plane had been hit by the baggage handling cart causing a hole in the fuselage and we would not be flying. I listened to several passengers give their theories…and some actually felt the impact from the baggage cart when it hit the plane on the side. Wow.

The flight was canceled….after being at the airport patiently waiting to board for 3 hours, because no rescue plane could be found.  Did you know rescue planes existed? Many passengers were grumbly and we figured someone at the airport possibly got fired. I watched with fascination through the terminal window as the plane was being inspected, even the pilots were taking pictures! 

Being a Saturday evening, this was the last flight of the week until Thursday, (can you read into what airline I’m referring to if you’re familiar with DSM flights?). Although there were some options for our travel the next week, none would have worked out for each of our schedules. No vacation in Florida. No Disney for the kids. No beach for me…and I even packed four bikinis!, no seeing our friends and family, no nothing…and all the energy involved in the planning of the trip, down the tubes.

I really just wanted to get out of the airport and back home that day. I looked at this experience with the family as practice however, because we’ll be doing it again! Plus I learned how to pack more efficiently and know I can take food on the plane! 

Question: How the heck did a human driver hit a huge airplane with a golf cart and seriously damage it? This was A Big Mistake affecting a lot of people! Of course my mind went into litigation thinking as there could probably be some lawsuit for any reason. Good thing no one was injured; and hopefully those who really needed to get to Florida ASAP got there without too much anguish.

Related image

You’re Fired!! You’re Fired!! You’re Fired!!

When my son Jacob, now 22, was very young, he used to love to repeat You’re Fired! You’re Fired! You’re Fired! over and over.  I really never had any idea who he was firing, but he did a lot of it! Jacob was fond of Charizard, of the Fire/Flying Pokemon species, maybe that’s why he was fond of the phrase? Are you? Have you ever been fired? Have you had to fire someone? Did you learn from it?

Okay, here’s one (of my own mistakes) about me as I was getting ready for the Florida trip. As I considered what to take as a carry-on (free on this airline), I decided upon a smaller purple suitcase with wheels I’ve used before….and as I was packing it I felt something lodged at the bottom.  Upon retrieval, I found a maroon jewelry box and opened it.

Wrapped up in tissue was my diamond tennis bracelet!  Being missing for over a year, I had seriously thought it was lost for good. Okay this Big Miss Steak wasn’t so bad, and I hope I learned my lesson.  There was another time time I was stopped at airport security because a pocket knife was found buried inside an unknown ripped seam inside my little purse. Swiss Army Knife Clip ArtOops. 

I strive to be extremely careful with my work, especially with my writing skills. However typos do arise and I’ve been known to unfortunately miss my own (including having a date wrong on my resume for a couple years before I noticed it!)  BTW, other’s typos glare at me.  But big mistakes, like negligence when it comes to a patient’s health care, is something I can help with.

I’ve recently worked on a medical malpractice case; and in this case the patient died, however my role/goal was to perform a vocational evaluation and assess his earning capacity had he not died in such a short period of time. For more information on my work in this case and how I followed basically the same methodology as other evaluations, please contact me. 

Image result for big miss steakYes everyone makes mistakes and everyone needs to be careful in our roles at work. I don’t know if anyone was fired or if there was any lawsuits over this airport incident, but it got me thinking about mistakes, including the many of my own.  

I’m not saying eating steak is a mistake, but I agree becoming a vegetarian is a big missed steak!  Keep in mind I am a vegetarian and have not eaten steak in well over 6 years (although I can’t deny the great smell!)  To each their own, just be sure you cut your meat carefully, chew a lot, and eat slowly!

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

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Employability, Hireability and Placeability ~ Got Ability? Need Proof?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

To continue on with my post on getting level during divorce, I’m offering working definitions of 3 of my favorite ability descriptors which are Employability, Hireability and Placeability.

Although my vocational assessment and evaluation assignments span a variety of jurisdictions and are designed to meet referral needs, the concepts of Employability, Hireability and Placeability remain constructively intact.

~ Employability ~ Can try to prove

employabilitySimply put, employability is about being capable of getting and keeping fulfilling work. It refers to the capacity to function in a job and to be able to move between jobs the person could actually do considering personal circumstances. There may be an overlay of disability, physical or mental limitations, or specific work-life needs that come into play when determining a person’s employability.

Employability depends on the knowledge, skills and abilities and how these assets are used within the context which work is performed or is sought. To evaluate employability, it helps to break the concept into manageable pieces. I take a look at the skills, attitudes and behaviors the person has developed through their work background and a variety of other life experiences.

To know if those skills, attitudes and behaviors are in demand, I then research and survey the person’s labor market to identify jobs that match the person’s background and capacities.

It works best for me to highlight the person’s skills and capacities in the best possible light! Skills are transferable regardless of disability, especially with creative adaptation and accommodation.

In addition, if there are avenues to match the person more closely with jobs (eg: short term training), further vocational research is performed with the results offered in a helpful way.

~ Hireability ~ Cannot prove

Hireability

The term hireability is a way of describing the likelihood an individual might get hired for a job they are physically and psychologically capable of performing.

The most prevalent method of hiring is the interview, therefore, it is always helpful to view how a person presents their skills. The individual’s presentation is critiqued, job searching skills are assessed and other issues are addressed relative to the potential to attain employment in various environments.

Further, hireability is about a person’s soft skills, including their style of communication, level of self-confidence, initiative, tact, and motivation. All these elements are important to a business who has hiring needs!

Throughout my placement experiences, I find businesses look to hire individuals who are responsible, trainable, friendly and able to work on teams. Reliable transportation, good references, a neat appearance, and a pleasant personality are commonly preferred.

Throughout my placement experiences, I also understand often is not necessary to assess an individual for hireability, and to rely on the person’s natural ability to succeed without the need to administer a “test”.

~ Placeability ~ Can try to prove

Placeability is the likelihood that a person will actually access, secure and maintain work within his or her labor market, usually in a specific job or occupation. Placeability is affected by labor market conditions (outside of an individual’s control) and is partly about how in-demand the individual’s transferable skills are and how well she or he can present those skills.

The dynamics of placeability include the availability of jobs in a certain geographic area; employer attitudes and policies, the evaluee’s age and culture; and specific occupational hiring requirements. I’ve had many years of work experience placing people and there are numerous variables!

If the person has barriers to employment, for example a functional limitation that would benefit from accommodation, resources are discussed to avoid unnecessary conflicts in the person’s working world. Please realize all functional limitations are restrictions but NOT all restrictions are functional limitations!

Here’s another rather important variable: 

~ Willingness to Work ~ Can definitely prove!

I have testified to this several times. If you are a job seeker and need proof that you are validly looking for reliable work, let me know if I can help. 

Thank youThe bottom line for any business usually involves making and/or saving money! Are you doing that? If you are employed, yes you are! I thank you! And I’m sure your business thanks you too.

Need a vocational evaluation consultation? Call me 515-282-7753 or vocresources@gmail.com

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

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Being Nosey, Opinions and I Make My Point Clear! Job Placement is Hard Work!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

One 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…and interested in their subject!

I’m not like 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…and I made my pass.

BTW, I remember where I was,  nearly 1/2 way round where I started, not including the everstop at my brother’s plaque on the bridge!

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, in my role as a vocational rehabilitation counselor, I routinely find a person (an attorney or two) 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 return to work 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 really just too much work to find work for a person?  VS  “Yes, you can work” “Here’s why, how and what the person can do!” “Yes” “Can do” “I will help you!” This is a positive attitude! Yes, and truly the fact is that it’s a lot of work to find work for a person! That’s what I’m trained to do! And I love it!

A vocational rehabilitation counselor cannot give a person a job – the professional works to define, enhance and channel the placement client’s skills, abilities, and aptitudes into the working world. 

The client is empowered with resources and strategies to perform specific and goal-oriented job seeking activities.  I’ve found the outcome of return-to-work in a workers’ compensation case impacts the placement process just as much during litigation as it does following case settlement.  Keep that in mind when forming any opinion. 

It’s a tragedy when an attorney sabotages any job seeking efforts, whether implied or not. I do not appreciate when any one tries to negatively influence any one else, especially when it comes to work.

I keep my opinion clear, based on fact and grounded in rehabilitation. No one can steal my opinion away!

Image result for grounded

Please see a paper I wrote in August 2013 titled (it’s posted on my LinkedIn page) or ask for a copy titled:

WHAT FACTORS INFLUENCE RETURN-TO-WORK DURING A LITIGATED WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIM?

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

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

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