A T on My Finger and Action Green

Okay, after blogging recently about my forgetfulness when it comes to certain situations, I admit yet another one. Right before Christmas I found my DMACC graduation certificate, with Randy’s Saydel High School diploma (yep, stashed them in a good spot alright.)  I’ve been curious where my DMACC diploma was hiding.

DMACC AA Certificate

Here it is! My DMACC Associate in Arts Degree December, 1992

……together with all rights, honors, privileges and marks of distinction pertaining thereto!  Given this month of December 1992! You’ll have to go on the wall as soon as I find a frame!

Again, blogging about my past helps me organize my stuff, practice creative writing, connect with you and share my talents. Hopefully I have all the dates, etc. correct on my living resume! I get a bit confused about my own past from time to time!

I also recall, let me look for it….a blog about my house and the STUFF. Which I need to find that post…. [update 2 hours later! Here is the link…but it’s really about setting SMART Goals! And I am proud to say my humble abode is MUCH better! Thank you.

TEMPORARILY removed!

Here’s my transcripts too. Worst grades include a C in Chemistry….and a C in Principles of Accounting II…go figure! I started DMACC in 9/2/86 and finally was awarded a LA AA  degree 12/18/1992. Wow, took me six years!

I was pretty busy during this time with working two jobs (at the Department of Education in the Grimes Building as a secretary by day and for Dr. Schwartz transcribing his medical records at his dermatology clinic by moonlight!), had a baby (Nickolas Andrew) in 1989 and got married (Randall Eugene) in 1990. But I persisted!

One strategy I practice TO BE SURE I DON’T FORGET SOMETHING REALLY IMPORTANT is to put a T on my left index finger. Back in ohh, about 1988-1989 from time to time, my sister Janice asked me to pick up her daughter Taylor Marie from daycare after my work. This is what I did and I continue to do:

 T on L Index FingerT

A T on My Left Index Finger Helps Me Remember Something Really Important!

Like today, be sure Bella has water in her heated bowl. Brr. She has enough fur and she loves her house, so I can’t worry about her!

I should put another T on my fingy for “remember to get eyes checked….” Yea, yea. There’s always sooooo much to do. Or “schedule that mammogram”. (I could go on and on about HONEY DOs.)

Anyway, last weekend I attended a CHRP  Christ Renews His Parish retreat. I am serious about making my life more simple……and focus on what really matters. This retreat helped me realize that even more!

KeepitSimpleStay tuned for a blog about me looking for work!  Or maybe I’ll blog about my faith! Possibly more about my secret…….or my husband!!! Who knows at this time??? Remember, I blog about the present and my future…..and love to write….and work….and play….and pray….and live life fully!

I hope you enjoyed the Super Bowl last night. I wanted the Seahawks to win. I really like their colors, especially the Action Green…..I can see the plays so much better!  Click here for a blog about the skills of a football player!

Brain Workouts

BTW, when it comes to my vocational counseling……I don’t forget! I have a steel trap memory for what transpires on my cases. Test me!

 

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

Happy New Year! Where is This Sculpture?

A few years back, I took this picture while hanging out downtown after Mass. I’ve always loved this bronze sculpture that revolves like a globe! I just did a little research to find out more about it, which I love to share with you!

Sphere Within a Sphere

“Sphere Within a Sphere”

By Amaldo Pomodoro, 1999

The sculpture “Sphere Within a Sphere” (Sfera con sfera) was placed in 1999…the same year my business was born. The sculpture is intended as a metaphor for the coming of new and a promise. This is my gift to you if you won’t last through New York City’s time ball drop (or if you don’t watch it at all.)

Do you know where it’s located (yes, Des Moines, Iowa, but specifically where?) Another “Sphere Within a Sphere” by this Italian artist can be found in the Vatican! And in New York City, too. Let’s Go! Did you get my question correct?

Taylor, my niece who lives near DC was here over Christmas (click here to see what we did last year)….and she truly found Des Moines a cool place to be. A strong perception from a 26 year old professional who happened to be born here! My mouth still drops when I’m in the East Village…Iowa not NYC!

Enjoy our beautiful city’s artwork! Here’s a link where you can learn more about our city’s public art! Des Moines Public Art Foundation.

Champagne GlassesCheer’s to 2015! MMXV

I’m not sure where I found this, but it rings true ~

Art is the expression of an emotion in a particular language—words, sculpture, paintings—so that we come to understood the emotion better.

Think about this and how you can shape your new year! Enjoy!!

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

Is Your Glass 1/2 Full or 1/2 Empty Today? Personality Assessments Help Find Out!

Studying personalities is important to me. I’ve reviewed the results of many personality assessments and am a proponent of using assessment results if it helps you or who you are working with move forward in positive ways. One of the main personality dispositions is whether you are optimistic or pessimistic. (Which are you?) You can go to The Big Five Project, where you can take a personality assessment for free.

Half FullMy Glass is Usually ½ full!

I’ve studied optimism and after reading the March 25, 2012 TIME magazine article titled The Science of Optimism ~ Hope Isn’t Rationale, so why are humans wired for it?” written by Tali Sharot, I’ve learned more. Sharot is a research fellow at University College London’s Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging. She searches for the places in the brain where optimism lives!

In her work, she’s interested in how our natural optimism actually shapes what we remember. In one of her studies on optimism, using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) the areas of the brain shown to light up  are found in the prefrontal cortex (responsible for planning and goal setting), hippocampus (crucial to memory), amygalda (my favorite emotional processing almond!), the rostral anterior cingulate cortex (boost the flow of positive emotions) and caudate (processes rewards).

Big BrainAll this brain activity is involved in self-reflection and recollection!

I’ll apply her knowledge that our brains are biased towards optimism. She has a great Ted talk on The Optimism bias that helps me to better understand and work with my clientele, evaluees, referral sources like attorneys, insurance representatives, and the entire array of people encountered in the process of rehabilitation counseling. See the optimists and pessimists lining up?

As part of my ongoing continuing educational pursuits in my beloved career, I promise to continue to study personality and use it to help me to read others and to ultimately help you, my client, with your case.

It definitely helps me in my forensic work to seek information about whether a person is an optimist or a pessimist, and then identify if that person can strike a balance. Why is this important to me? Because it shows the person is flexible….and what a great attribute to have as our world constantly changes!

Every time I study others my skills improve!

Every time I study others my skills improve helping me to make more valid and reasonable assessments of persons, places and situations that need to be brought to light. Of course, even the best detective or mind reader is not always right on track each time they do an assessment. It takes continually gathering knowledge of others, practice, practice and more practice (while myself remaining optimistic yet neutral) to effectively and without bias counsel and teach others.

Rosey GlassesToo rosey at times?

I’m told I’m often overly optimistic and overly analytical. Really I’m just sucking up as much information as possible during whatever time is available and I don’t want to miss anything that may make a difference. Therefore, I need to balance my construct of optimism depending on the situation and have an alternative plan to avoid being unrealistic or irrational. A small dose of realism or even pessimism might be the best prescription to achieve my consulting goals.

Sharot writes, “True sometimes we regret our decisions; our choices can turn out to be disappointing. But on balance, when you make a decision ~ even if it is a hypothetical choice ~ you will value it more and expect it to bring you more pleasure.”

I believe this to be part of my mantra when on the stand…knowing my testimony is based on decision making processes that I chose to undertake, and the hope that I am making a difference in the lives of others.

Hope is an emotional state. Optimism is a cognitive process.

Click here for a great take on Hope Versus Optimism

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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.

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

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

employability

Simply put, employability refers to the capacity for a person 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 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

Best Placement

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.

It Finally Arrived! My Forensic Rehabilitation Counseling Graduate Certificate!

I’ve been waiting for my graduate certificate in Forensic Rehabilitation Counseling from The George Washington University! It finally arrived in my mail box!

Forensic Rehabilitation Counseling graduate certificate
Forensic Rehabilitation Counseling graduate certificate

FRC Graduate Certificate

The FRC program took well over a year, and I’m happy to move forward with new and exciting forensic areas in my consulting practice. Forensic Rehabilitation Counseling is valuable in cases including personal injury, medical malpractice, life care planning, marital dissolution, product liability, and catastrophic injury. Although I’ve had some experience in these areas, I’m ready to take more cases on!

2014-09-29 16.10.51GWU’s colors are blue & buff!

The weird thing is the certificate is printed in portrait orientation and not landscape, which all my other (I need to look up and to my left and count) 6 framed certificates look like. Okay, the other 6 (so exciting I know, but this helps me document them!) ~

  • High School Equivalency Diploma, State of Iowa, November 10, 1981
  • Ellsworth Community College Certificate of Graduation, One-Year Secretarial Business Program, May 23, 1981  (Yes, the dates are correct, I went to ECC “before” I graduated from high school….they….I guess the State, made me wait to get my GED certificate even though I had already passed the test…which I had to before I could enroll at ECC!)
  • Bachelor of Science, Community Health Education, Iowa State University, August 5, 1995
  • Master of Science, Drake University, School of Education, December 17, 2004
  • Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification, Number 71256 (I just renewed this certificate and got it in the mail the other day, too…I need to replace the old one that’s framed!)
  • Certified Life Care Planner, International Commission on Health Care Certification, Number 1130 (it’s valid through February 28, 2016!)

Oh, there’s also my golf certificate from 1978! (It’s not really on the wall!)

GolfHuh, no coach and no principal signed it!?

I remember a hole-in-one at Highland Country Club in Iowa Falls. (Of course a hole-in-one will be an important part of my memory bank!!!)

I was golfing with Becky Tjaden, in a mother-daughter tourney (and my mom picked my sister Janice to play with!). I miss you Becky and treasure my memories of golfing with you….teaching and mentoring me on the course has helped me in so many ways….including in my career. BTW: Do you know there is golf forensics!?

Last hole in one was not that far removed from 1978

Using my golf game as an analogy, each stroke involves tapping into good judgment (more art than science which I’ve blogged on) when deciding which club to use! My swing (not nearly as perfect as my mom’s, or Becky’s was!) must involve practice, practice and practice. Knowing the lay of the course is important along with the weather and the ground conditions. So is knowing who’s in front of you and who’s behind you. Knowing the rules is invaluable as is keeping perfect score. Of course, are you an ethical golfer!?!  Ahemmmm

Have fun with your career and in your golf game!

Yes, the stakes are high in forensic rehabilitation counseling, and yes they can be in a golf game. It may be like getting out of the rough on the last hole of a golf tournament, and you never know if you’ve made the right choice until it’s too late to change your mind. To play to win (or at least to beat your opponent by a stroke or 2!) keep certain basic principles in mind, use your best judgment, your best methodology, your best attitude, and have fun!

Let me know how I might help with a litigated case that would benefit from my involvement. I love preparing Life Care Plans. (I can also critique a plan that landed on your desk!) A Life Care Plan can become the hole-in-one to your case!

Contact me at 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.

Blending Art and Science…to Help Balance Litigated Cases!

I’m intrigued about the “difference” between art and science. It’s easy to say art is subjective while science is objective. Fundamentally art expresses knowledge, while science is the system of acquiring knowledge. Yet in many ways art and science are actually connected and related to each other.

Amy & Randy July 17, 2011

Kinda like a Couple with waaay cheap sunglasses! 

Randy and I have more differences than similarities. Or do we? Today (original post date 8/4/14) is our 24th wedding anniversary!

We often prod each other of our differences. I prefer pepper, while he does salt. Me ketchup, he mustard. He likes corn, me peas. I love apples, he prefers oranges. He likes vanilla ice cream, me chocolate. Hot peppers *me! versus no peppers *he! I really could go on and on about our differences about food or other way more personal things…!

KetchupMustard

But what about our important similarities?

Our similarities matter the most. Like how we: Approach life. Share our faith. Explore our world together. Create options. Use our resources. Raised our 3 children/and lovingly care for them as young adults. Solve problems. Spoil the pets.  There we meet; well we try hard to meet!

Keep in mind Randy is much more serious than I. The better descriptor is probably straight-laced (kinda), not one to bend (many) rules, and he likes to go by the book (mostly). The total opposite of me!

Randy is a teacher with a bachelor degree in Art ~ a BA and he has a ME  ~ Master in Education. I am a counselor with a bachelor degree in Science ~ BS, and my MS is again in Science. But wait!! When it comes to teaching or counseling what really is the difference between art and science when expressing knowledge in real life?

I would say the main difference between art and science is that art is more focused on the perception of the world through the eyes of a particular individual. Art involves an emotional response, and can be based on personal experience, opinions, preferences, and individual perceptions. Look at a painting and we all see something different.

Art elicits an emotional response, while science doesn’t (for most people!) Image result for painting

Science, on the other hand, is regimented and systemic with rules, procedures, and policies to follow. When people perform scientific investigations the purpose or goal is to find an answer to something in a very planned out and specific way using the scientific method. Easier said than done, and requires planning with purpose and planning with options.

Image result for beauty in the eye“Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder”

Look at a cell under a microscope and you are supposed to see the exact same thing (assuming you know what you’re look at) as the next microscope user. BTW, I never could really “see” what my microbiology partner at ISU saw, but I did get excited when he said I was close!

I found other ways to look at the topic of blending art and science: Baseball pitchers use the science of physics when throwing a curve ball, but actually throwing a good curve is an art form. Or perhaps medicine is an easier example.  Medical practice is both an art and a science.  The two can not be separated without destabilizing the system. Do you want physical treatment without discussing what your psychological needs are?

A couple lives on the art of marriage AND the science of marriage. And a rehabber relies on the art and science of rehabilitation! There is a balance, although it certainly can tip often. The balance is found in creating the work of art marriage / or the work of art rehabilitation is supposed to be, digging your heels in and applying the science of either of these (marriage/rehabilitation) when times get rough. I’m not a marriage counselor, but a rehabilitation counselor. So applying a sense of balance to my own and others’ thoughts, words and actions sure makes sense to me!

Randy, thanks for the roses and the anniversary gift. We plan to go on a bike ride in an hour!

Appreciate the sound of blending art and science in your lives!  

Have a great week! Let me know how I could help with a case that may have conflicting opinions! There’s always a way to blend the best and come to the truth.

I can help with your case involving the employment aspects of a divorcing couple, or a case involving the need for life care planning. Give me a call at 515-282-7753 for a free initial consultation.

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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.

Preparing to Graduate…Again!

Just an update to let my readers know I am nearly done with my most recent learning adventure through George Washington University….that lasted well over a year! I certainly learned a lot about forensics rehabilitation consulting, and really appreciate my cohort comprised of really smart rehabilitation counselors across the country!

There are students from the great states of Iowa (me!), Texas, Ohio, Washington, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, the District of Columbia, and who am I missing? Kansas?!

 

BeautifulOur Beautiful Country is so Colorful!

I’ve been in all our states but Washington, Hawaii and Alaska. This was traveling done mostly as a youngster, in the back of a station wagon with the entire family (oh, the memories!).

Back to the current times Amy….! During the forensic rehabilitation coursework, I placed heavy emphasis on the study of ethics. Because I feel comfortable with my own ethics, in turn I feel comfortable with forming my own opinions (and expert ones at that!)

One ethics paper I prepared in October, 2013 for the course Foundations of Forensics Rehabilitation Counseling II (COUN 6396) emphasized Ethics, Values and Character Surrounding My Career in Private Practice.

In another ethics paper I submitted in Spring 2014 for the course Law and the Rehabilitation Counseling II (COUN 6396), I analyzed Ethics and Vocational Reports. Specifically, I critiqued a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and his USE OF TESTING INSTRUMENTS in VOCATIONAL EVALUATIONS.

Along with submitting my paper to GWU, I also submitted it to a professor from the great State of Washington who teaches ASSESSMENTS to master’s level rehabilitation counseling students. I received powerful feedback from her.

 Knowledge

I am happy to share what I’ve learned and how it can be best applied to meet your litigation needs. My papers are available, just ask and I’ll see if you really want to read all about it! Call me at 515-282-7753 or email vocresources@gmail.com.   Or easier yet, connect with me on LinkedIn. I’ve posted them there!

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

My Purpose to Serve Others Continues to Ring True!

(Original post date 9/10/13) As I mentioned last week, I’m moving into round 2 of my studies at GWU. I came across the statement of purpose I wrote in April 2013 and wanted to post it as it continues to ring true for me!

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE written by Amy E. Botkin

My purpose in undertaking graduate study at The George Washington University is to learn about the intricacies and efficiencies of serving as an expert witness in my area of expertise. As a rehabilitation counselor, life care planner and placement specialist, my focus is often on facilitating healthy return to work outcomes.

Prior to my current career, I worked as a marketing representative for a staffing agency that placed people into clerical and light industrial jobs. This work experience offered me a base on how to match people with the world of work. I understand the concept of incorporating the needs of employers with the needs of job seekers.

My background as the leader of a diverse group of placement specialists afforded me additional insight into challenges affecting job seekers. In my practice, as well as with the experiences within our group, I visit employers and find that personalities and fitting in, as well as proof of skills, may be the strongest indicator of a successful placement.

However, in perspective the job seeker may not believe he or she has the capacity to meet the employer’s expectations. Therefore, the job seeker is not successful in the initial stages of a job search, leading to feelings that may further disintegrate their role and performance as a qualified job seeker. Therefore, my career goal is to continue with my consulting practice and incorporate specific work-life identity skills training.

Ringing True!

As a freelance writer on a part-time basis, I develop stories about locally owned businesses, mostly from a personality perspective by interviewing business owners to learn about their background and what brought them to this particular business. I gain much insight and detail into what brings a person to their career.

My ability to draw out a person’s background information is also useful to guide a person who has lost their job due to illness, injury or disability into a new or similar job that continues to use their assets, albeit in a new form.

My research interests are in the areas of vocational rehabilitation, specifically how personalities, lifestyles and cultures form a person’s work identity. When taking into consideration a serious injury or accident that leads to disability or functional limitations, I would like to identify and assess unique methods to adjust the factors related to essential functions of a job that may be beyond a person’s capacities (either physically, emotionally or intellectually).

I would like to learn how to Box!

Using the skills gained from this program, I’d expand my research methodology for my client, evaluee or customer. Presenting novel material in front of a jury will allow me to separate from the common counselor and be viewed as a credible source of unique material that is specific to the needs of the case. With this new knowledge and skill, I would feel even more confident expressing my opinions. I look forward to my studies.

Thank you,

Amy E. Botkin

Amy E. Botkin, MS, CRC, CLCP

 

 

P.S. ~

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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.

Intimidators: Tailgaters, Drunken Jerks or Glaring Attorneys?

Remember the last time someone tried to intimate you? How about when a person (like a careless driver tailgating, or the drunken jerk standing in line for a beer) may think they can make you do something or react in some way? Exceed the posted speed limit ~ NOPE! Pay attention to public intoxication ~ NOT INTERESTED!

uckr cup

Go ahead be one, but don’t think I care!

Recently I received a pretty mean facial expression/glaring eyes/stare down/stern voice/condescending attitude and a critical tone to the long litany of questions from an attorney during multiple cross examination. I knew he was trying to intimidate me.

But, I answered all his questions calmly. (I love it when the attorney can’t even remember what they asked me and have to refer to the court reporter) and stuck to my guns (aka: my knowledge base) during my expert testimony.

Simply put: I know what I’m talking about. I know my job…and one role of my job, especially when on the witness stand is to educate.

mmBring it on!

I have never been intimated much by people (or animals for that matter.) Okay, okay, I am intimidated by……Mother Nature……especially when she zooms a mesocyclone or other tornado like activity our way.

I have always been able to speak my mind (ask anyone who knows me) and yes it’s gotten me in a pickle or two from time to time. I do express whatever is on my mind being mindful of the content of my speech/body language and the context of how/when my message is delivered.

PeacockThere is truly a difference between a cocky person and a confident person.

I like to accept my confidence with the work I do and grow in it every day. Seriously, my role on the stand allows me to serve as an expert witness & educator all while consulting within the scope of my practice. I keep a placement and quality of life orientation at the forefront of any topic.

And of course, learning more about how to serve as an expert witness will only help me to help others. I’ve applied to The George Washington University to study for a graduate certificate in Forensics Rehabilitation Counseling. I’ll keep you posted if I’m accepted!

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