[nfb-talk] Iowa Department for the Blind Counselor Jobs

David Andrews dandrews at visi.com
Wed Apr 22 20:16:36 UTC 2009

State of Iowa
Senior Services Specialist for the Blind 1
(Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor)
two full time, merit exempt, at-will positions
candidates must be willing to live and work outside
central Iowa / extensive travel

Senior Services Specialist for the Blind 1, field 
operations division.  Make initial contacts using 
a variety of referral sources which may require 
obtaining data from remote sources; describe 
agency and non-agency programs which may be 
available to a prospective client.  Provide 
comprehensive, intensive counseling services to 
new referrals to encourage and motivate these 
individuals to avail themselves of agency 
services.  Stress the agency’s positive 
philosophy and attitude toward blindness, 
encouraging individuals to do self assessments 
based on abilities rather than 
disabilities.  Assist the client with an 
application for services.  Gather relevant 
medical, vocational, psychological, educational, 
and family information.  Maintain knowledge of 
medical terminology and medical treatments 
especially related to the eye and visual 
functioning so that a determination as to the 
severity of the impairment can be 
made.  Determine eligibility for agency programs, 
given a thorough knowledge of agency programs, 
making referrals to other programs as 
necessary.  Counsel extensively regarding 
provision of SSDI benefits and Supplemental 
Security Income, with special emphasis on 
specific work incentives built into each of these programs.
          Assist clients in determining strengths 
and weaknesses regarding a variety of career and 
social goals.  Use counseling and persuasion 
techniques to provide advice and guidance in 
highly emotionally charged and near crisis 
situations.  Counsel clients in order to obtain 
and maintain positive attitudes toward their 
blindness and secondary disabilities as they 
relate to all aspects of social and career 
environments.  Make delicate judgments regarding 
a client’s self-esteem and abilities over the 
course of an extended period of time; producing 
clear documentation which outlines the intended 
nature of planning and the desired outcome in all 
areas of counseling situations.
          Collaborate with client in determining 
and realizing career goals.  Evaluate and assess 
capabilities, attitudes, skills, and work 
potential of blind persons and make 
recommendations which will remediate 
accordingly.  Develop IPEs, in cooperation with 
the client, outlining specific means of achieving 
a vocational objective in a specified 
time.  Coordinate and direct services which might 
include guidance and counseling, college or 
vocational training, orientation center training, 
learning alternative techniques of blindness, 
adaptive occupational or training tools, 
assistive technology devices, adaptive skills 
training, job training, placement services, job 
retention, and follow-up services.  Assume 
responsibility for fiscally prudent, sound 
judgment in completing authorizations for 
expenditure of agency funds according to state 
and federal guidelines.  Maintain contact with 
clients in training and employment to monitor 
progress, solve current problems or potential 
problems.  Provide transition services to 
students, working cooperatively with local area 
education agencies and school systems.  Teach 
clients necessary attitude and skills including 
job seeking/job keeping attitudes and skills, 
Braille, orientation and mobility with use of 
long white cane, typing, public transportation 
schedules and accessibility, and job specific 
alternative techniques of blindness.  Work 
alongside with client in new job to teach 
specific techniques and skills.  Review training 
progress on a regular basis and consult with 
client and service providers to facilitate the 
process.  Coordinate intra-agency services 
including:  rehabilitation teaching, job 
development, assistive technology services, 
business enterprises program, library services, 
orientation center training, deaf-blind 
specialist services, and volunteer services.
          Independently prioritize workload to 
maximize effective use of time, resources, and 
agency assets.  Submit necessary reports, case 
recordings, authorizations, and correspondence in 
a timely, accurate manner.  Maintain client case 
files and other records in an organized, timely, 
specified format.  Make full use of similar 
benefits where appropriate, including: 
scholarships or grants, private or public 
disability insurance benefits, workers 
compensation benefits, welfare entitlement 
programs, job training programs, client or family 
resources or earnings or other sources.
          Develop and maintain cooperative 
relationships with employers and organized labor 
in a variety of industries to enable successful 
employment for clients.  Develop employer 
mentoring and partnerships.  Maintain working 
knowledge of small business development.  Use job 
coaches for supported employment services where 
appropriate.  Consult with employers and blind 
employees in an effort to assist in the area of 
job retention or job modification.  This function 
requires a working knowledge of current 
technologies and techniques being used to assist 
persons in successfully retaining or advancing 
employment.  Provide comprehensive job 
development, job placement and follow-up services 
to employers and blind persons, matching 
job-ready clients to specific, appropriate jobs 
and employers.  Analyze specific jobs and seek 
remediation through job remodification, 
restructuring, development of new technologies, 
techniques or adaptive devices.  Anticipate any 
potential problems, attitudinal or technical, 
with specific jobs, employers or clients and 
investigate means of correcting these problems 
through education, counseling, job modification, 
adaptive techniques or devices or other 
means.  Assist employers in making necessary 
changes to enable them to retain, in employment, 
those employees who might develop significant 
vision problems.  Encourage employer to make 
early referral of such cases for vocational 
rehabilitation services from our agency.  Also 
encourage referrals from labor unions.  Draft job 
development/job placement materials and 
disseminate to employers, organized labor, and professional organizations.
Advocate, consult, advise, educate, mediate, and 
intercede with service   providers, employers, 
and the general public.  Design and complete 
presentations for educational, professional, 
social organizations, and consumer groups 
regarding the function and purpose of the 
agency.  Maintain a working knowledge of all 
aspects of the agency and services 
provided.  Encourage and promote support groups of the blind.

Minimum qualifications are:
Graduation from an accredited college or 
university with a degree in human 
service-oriented sciences, education, marketing, 
or business and experience equal to three years 
of full time professional work, or;
the equivalent of three years of full-time 
experience as a rehabilitation counselor or 
teacher shall be considered as qualifying 
provided the employee has successfully completed 
training to meet the certification criteria established by the agency, or;
an equivalent combination of education and 
experience, substituting the equivalent of one 
year of full-time professional work experience 
for each year of the required education to a 
maximum substitution of four years.

Salary range: $ 42,369.60 - $ 64,521.60 annually, 
plus comprehensive benefit package, pay grade 28, pay plan 000

Hours:  8:00 a.m. –  4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday
For further information contact Karen A. 
Keninger, Director, at 515-281-1334 or 
800-362-2587.  Persons who wish to be considered 
for this position must submit a resume and letter 
of application to Karen A. Keninger, Iowa 
Department for the Blind, 524 Fourth Street, Des 
Moines, IA 50309 no later than 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 30, 2009.

David Andrews and white cane Harry.

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