Vocational Rehab Counselor

Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration | Altoona, PA

Posted Date 6/30/2020
Description This position performs as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) in the Supportive Employment Program (CWT SE) at VAMC Altoona and reports to the Health Care for Homeless Veteran (HCHV) Program Manager. The position provides a wide range of rehabilitation and personal adjustment counseling and case management services, including coordination of rehabilitation, training, and employment services to Veterans.
  • Finding meaningful, paid, competitive employment and provides necessary support while Veterans are still active in treatment toward overall rehabilitation and recovery.
  • Developing a working relationship and completing a Vocational Assessment Profile (VAP).
  • When Veterans become employed, job accommodations or job coaching may be needed as determined by the Veteran and employer in consultation with the SE VRC.
  • If job coaching is not needed, follow along support are provided based on the clinical indicators of the treatment plan and the negotiated plan developed with the Veteran and employer.
  • Assists Veterans to expedite contacting employers/jobs. Employer contact can occur
  • through direct consumer involvement, or advocacy on behalf of the Veterans.
  • Develops strategies to engage Veterans who may be reluctant to actively pursue employment or risk a reduction of benefits.
  • Supports Veterans in all work-related tasks including but not limited to: transportation, on the job training, communicating with co-workers and supervisors, ongoing and follow along supports and compliance with specification of appropriate clinical support(s), community engagement, job development and employer negation and assisting with Veteran with job interviews.
  • Handles most difficult placement cases, which typically require substantial modification to environmental demands, and demand considerable ingenuity and persuasiveness on the part of the incumbent to overcome the limitations of Veterans.
  • Administer the primary Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and secondary screen the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale Screener (C-SSRS) for suicide risk management and measured based care requirements.
  • Analyze the results of the C-SSRS and evaluate with the Veteran to formulate a plan to manage suicide risk in various settings.

Monitors Veterans Adjustments
  • Counsels and guides Veterans through difficult transitions while adjusting to the job.
  • Great skill and knowledge are required to encourage and motivate the individual to become self-sufficient.
  • Helps the employer understand the nature of the Veterans limitations while maintaining a positive impression of the Veterans capacity to succeed.
  • Develops, maintains, and nurtures positive employer/employee relationships.
  • Participates in team treatment and administrative meetings to be aware of any clinical concerns and shares strategies, progress, and needed support with other members of the treatment team.
  • Delivery of services may occur over extended time, the VRC is the primary point of contact between the Veteran and the employment agency for the duration.
  • Analyze mental and physical disabilities or other handicaps in terms of the practical effects of such a handicap on motivations and make significant adjustments to accommodate the Veteran's severe limitations.
  • Effective early interventions will be adjusted and refined to promote a gradual decrease in face-to-face contact based on the Veterans need for support and the ability to engage natural supports to replace the VRC functions in the work environment.
  • Follow along supports must be provided no less than once a month and consist of a fact-to-face contact with the Veteran.
  • Follow along supports are time unlimited provided as long as the Veteran has a clinical need (determined by the Veteran, VRC and the clinical team), desires support, and is engaged in CWT-SE services.
  • Preparation for discharge from CWT-SE is determined when the Veteran develops natural supports and demonstrates job stability. In preparation for this the VRC must have face-to-face sessions with the Veteran to address benefits counseling, transfer of care, and follow-up plans.
Locates Suitable Training Programs
  • Maintains awareness and fosters community contacts. Keeps alert for job and small business opportunities. Maintains contact with potential employers, placement personnel, or other likely placement resources.
  • Negotiates with employers to provide reasonable accommodations to meet the needs of Veterans based on performing a worksite analysis.
  • Facilitates relationships between Veterans and co-workers.
  • Problem solve workplace performance issues or supervisor/co-worker situations that may need support from the VRC to resolve.
  • Establish training programs to satisfy identified vocational needs of Veteran served.
  • Based on referrals from a professional staff member, determines the vocational goals and objectives of the Veteran. Assesses training needs to meet the Veterans vocational goals and objectives.
  • Participates in employment-related training opportunities as offered and recommended by the HCHV Program Manager.

Work Schedule: Monday - Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm (Negotiable)
Compressed/Flexible: Available
Telework: Available
Virtual: This is not a virtual position.
Position Description/PD#: Vocational Rehab Counselor/PD1385-0
Relocation/Recruitment Incentives: Not Authorized
Financial Disclosure Report: Not requiredTo qualify for this position, applicants must meet all requirements by the closing date of this announcement, 07/14/2020.

Time-In-Grade Requirement: Applicants who are current Federal employees and have held a GS grade any time in the past 52 weeks must also meet time-in-grade requirements by the closing date of this announcement. For a GS-11 position you must have served 52 weeks at the GS-9. The grade may have been in any occupation, but must have been held in the Federal service. An SF-50 that shows your time-in-grade eligibility must be submitted with your application materials. If the most recent SF-50 has an effective date within the past year, it may not clearly demonstrate you possess one-year time-in-grade, as required by the announcement. In this instance, you must provide an additional SF-50 that clearly demonstrates one-year time-in-grade.

Note: Time-In-Grade requirements also apply to former Federal employees applying for reinstatement as well as current employees applying for Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 (VEOA) appointment.

You may qualify based on your experience and/or education as described below:
  • Specialized Experience: You must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the next lower grade GS-9 in the normal line of progression for the occupation in the organization. Examples of specialized experience would typically include, but are not limited to: Work that required obtaining and applying occupational information for people with disabilities, knowledge of the interrelationships of the involved professional and specialist services, and skill in employing the methodology and techniques of counseling to motivate and encourage individuals served by the program. Experience that demonstrated knowledge of the vocational rehabilitation problems characteristic of the disabled, including familiarity with available resources and skill in identifying, evaluating, and making effective use of such resources to serve individuals with disabilities; or of the disadvantaged, including knowledge of adjustment problems of the educationally or culturally disadvantaged, familiarity with available adult education and training resources, and ability to recognize problem areas needing special attention. Experience in vocational guidance or teaching in a recognized vocational rehabilitation program or school, developmental or supervisory work in programs of vocational rehabilitation or training programs for the disadvantaged, or personnel or employment placement work that provided extensive knowledge of the training and adjustment requirements necessary to place persons having disabilities or social adjustment problems.
  • Education: Applicants may substitute education for the required experience. To qualify based on education for this grade level you must have
Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree
3 full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree
LL.M., if related
  • . OR,
  • Combination: Applicants may also combine education and experience to qualify at this level. You must have an combination of specialized experience and education beyond a Master's Degree.
You will be rated on the following Competencies for this position:
  • Administration and Management
  • Analytical Reasoning
  • Communications
  • Teamwork
  • Therapy and Counseling

Analytical Reasoning: Identifies issues and analyzes information to draw accurate conclusions, ensuring careful attention to detail. Dissects problems and information into their meaningful parts, and uses logic and judgment to evaluate alternatives and develop solutions.

Administration and Management: Identifies issues and analyzes information to draw accurate conclusions, ensuring careful attention to detail. Dissects problems and information into their meaningful parts, and uses logic and judgment to evaluate alternatives and develop solutions.

Communications: Effectively expresses information to multiple audiences through clear dissemination of information and ideas; actively listens to others and demonstrates understanding of their comments and/or questions.

Therapy and Counseling: Knowledge of diagnosis and treatment of physical and mental ailments, and career guidance.

Teamwork: Encourages and facilitates cooperation, pride, trust, and group identity; fosters commitment and team spirit; works with others to achieve goals.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religions; spiritual; community; student; social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Note: A full year of work is considered to be 35-40 hours of work per week. Part-time experience will be credited on the basis of time actually spent in appropriate activities. Applicants wishing to receive credit for such experience must indicate clearly the nature of their duties and responsibilities in each position and the number of hours a week spent in such employment.

Physical Requirements: The work requires some physical exertion, such as periods of standing when teaching; some walking, bending, crouching, stooping, stretching, or similar activities when visiting work sites; and some moderate lifting and carrying. At other times the work is sedentary, requiring the use of a computer.

For more information on these qualification standards, please visit the United States Office of Personnel Management's website at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/general-schedule-qualification-standards/.

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