A Note From Bonnie, Director of R. Work Group...
We provide vocational rehabilitation services to people who have physical disabilities, injuries, or illnesses, as well as psychiatric disabilities and traumatic brain injuries.
Providing vocational rehabilitation services means doing more than simply writing resumes and providing basic job search support. That’s why we ask that you work with us collaboratively in the delivery of these services. We need to understand the medical implications of your client’s disability to ensure we provide appropriate support and counselling. Information that you can provide that assists us with this will be foundational in helping us to ensure quality service delivery for the client.
Included on this site is a form you may wish to complete to provide information that will assist in planning return to work. You may have other information that you view as helpful, such as detailed functional capacity
information or a case plan that you can forward.
If your client/patient has not had a meeting with us yet and they are concerned about releasing this information, we encourage you to first have them contact us for an appointment in which we can explain, in person, the reason we request this information. Our experience is that once there is an understanding of the purpose for us requesting this information that most clients are willing to participate in this collaborative process.
We operate and are bound by patient/client privacy legislation. The information you submit on behalf of your client is respected and confidentiality is maintained.
If you have any questions please contact us directly by calling 539-1072 and speak with myself or one of our qualified staff for more details on our services and process. Please also check out our FAQ’s where you will find details on our service delivery. Scroll down for a map of the area we service, services and information, and commonly asked questions.
Bonnie Maguffee, MS, CRC, CVE
Services and Info
Information on Alberta Human Services: Employment and Immigration Services and Services for Insurance Companies.
A team approach to Vocational Rehabilitation: Image below shows R. Work Group's team approach:
Screening (by vocational rehabilitation consultant), client calls, 1. Referred Outside or 1.2 Accepted for placement services or 1.3 Accepted for basic job search services
2. Basic Assessment by counsellor/coach/developer/consultant
3. Vocational Evaluation by Vocational Evaluator, 3.1 On site assessment by job coach/developer, 3.2 In-house assessment by vocational evaluator
4. Career Counsellor, 4.1 Career Counselling, 4.2 Job search training by counsellor 4.3 Follow along by counsellor
5. Direct placement 5.1 and 5.2 by job coach, 5.3 Follow along by job coach/developer
6. (If accepted for basic job search services only) Resume writing, use of internet for job search, basic computer introduction.
7. Fast-track, Job Placement 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 by job developer, 7.4 follow along by counsellor
Services funded by Alberta Human Services: Employment and Immigration
Who is eligible for services under funding from Alberta Human Services: Employment and Immigration?
Only individuals considered eligible can receive VR services funded by Alberta Works. Eligibility criteria require that an individual be at least 16 years old, unemployed or underemployed, and have a physical or mental health related issue that results in a significant barrier to finding and/or keeping employment. The type of disability or health related
issue can be wide ranging, including physical or psychiatric disabilities. If the person has a developmental disability, he/she generally does not qualify for these services. In this instance, the client may be eligible for services funded
partly through the Federal Government program – CareerFriends. Formal documentation of the client’s diagnosis or
disability must be provided (by the referring professional or we can request directly from the client’s General Practitioner and/or main medical support). An individual must also require help to prepare for, find, and/or succeed in paid employment of a minimum of 15 hours/week
What is the intake process for people funded by Alberta Human Services?
Clients, applying for services, complete an application form from Alberta Works for services. Eligibility for services is
determined in this interview(s). The client’s primary and any secondary disabilities/health related issues are identified, and potential barriers to employment are identified. The main question we are asking with the client is: “How does your health/disability impact your ability to find and/or maintain work?” Clients must be interested in and able to work a minimum of 15-20 hours per week.
A justification for services is determined and a decision is made regarding client eligibility based on the information provided. The counselor conducting the intake interview may call the referral source for more information, if the
information is unclear and with the client’s consent. Principles of workplace safety provided under the provisions of the Occupational Health & Safety Act are reviewed and discussed. At the end of the intake interview(s) (can take up
to 3 sessions), the client will typically be informed of acceptance into the appropriate Vocational Rehabilitation program. . If the client is ineligible for services, we will inform and, when appropriate, referral to other community
What are some instances in which a client is viewed ineligible for services?
A client who has disabilities may be ineligible if they are currently working in a suitable job, e.g. managing well in their
current job and earning a viable income. However, if the client is underemployed or needs a job change for medical reasons, then services may be considered. A client who is receiving Medical Employment Insurance benefits is ineligible. Clients may only require parts of our programs, e.g. perhaps only assistance with resume development. Individual needs are identified and services delivered based on these needs. Occasionally, the screening interview may take more than one meeting to determine justification for services. A client who is currently working but the job is considered to be unsuitable may require approval to proceed from the contract manager with Alberta Works. If the client is unable to obtain medical confirmation of diagnosis, services are delayed.
Why is a medical confirmation of diagnosis required?
A medical confirmation of diagnosis on file is required to justify services. It provides proof of eligibility. Most
importantly, it is used in the vocational assessment process, in suitable job targeting and determination of accommodation needs. It provides for continuity of care and collaboration amongst all service providers. The medical
confirmation of diagnosis form is available for completion on this website.
With the patient’s/client’s consent, It can be completed by the patient’s/client’s family physician, medical specialist, psychologist, psychiatrist, mental health therapist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist,or chiropractor. Medical reports are most helpful, e.g. EMG studies, MRI/CT scan results, psychological assessments, functional capacity evaluations, hearing tests, medical specialist reports, etc. Including these expedites the process and helps greatly in providing a high quality service to the client. A form letter to physicians addressing the requirement for a medical confirmation of diagnosis may be found on this website. We operate and are bound by patient/client privacy legislation. The information you submit on behalf of your client is respected and confidentiality is maintained.
What does the Vocational Rehabilitation Process include?
There are five steps to our services: Screening, Assessment (including on-site work assessments), Job Search Training and Job Maintenance Training, Job/Education Placement, and Follow-along support services
(typically 6 to 8 months). The length of time the client participates in these steps depends on the individual client need and his/her Client Investment Plan. On average, clients work with us over a period of 10 months.
Explain your vocational assessment process:
Following acceptance into services, a Vocational Assessment is completed. A comprehensive, abilities focused approach is used understanding that in addition to a client’s primary and secondary disabilities, many factors may impact an individual’s ability to secure and maintain suitable, long term work. Comprehensive information is gathered including the client’s current circumstances and barriers to employment encountered, results of any independent job search strategies, health history, therapies participated in, other agency involvement, functional abilities, work readiness and work motivators, work interests, work history, educational background, aptitudes, attitudes, work ethics and values, social history, current sources of support, family and social issues, legal background, financial issues, volunteer work history, associated skills identification, hobbies and leisure activities, availability of good work references, preliminary job targeting, preliminary vocational goals identification, and completion of a ‘Client Service Plan.’
Transferable skills are identified. Work interest inventories and aptitude testing may be completed to assist with suitable job targeting. The client is assisted with suitable job targeting and short, intermediate and long term vocational goals are identified. Clients are encouraged to identify at least 3 suitable job targets to ensure an adequate employer base. A client may be placed in a work assessment program where their on-the-job skills can be more closely monitored and evaluated. Further counseling may be required based on the results of the workplace assessment.
How do you approach your job search and job maintenance training?
Employment/Job Search Services are delivered once the Vocational Assessment and/or the Career Exploration phase(s) are completed. In this phase of the program, the client is provided with a comprehensive Job Search Manual for their reference that is reviewed and discussed at length with them. However, our focus is on “action”and having clients practice and use the skills he/she is being taught.
The client is assisted with resume and cover letter writing, writing thank you letters, interviewing skills training
including conducting informational interviews, how to access advertised and hidden job markets, job lead generating, how to stay positive, disability disclosure decisions, conducting warm and cold employer contacts, planning and
organizing their job search efforts, using the internet as a job search tool, using R. Work Group’s extensive employer data base, identifying assistive technology/resources/services if required, and implementing effective job search
Clients are encouraged to use R. Work Group office space as their “Job Search Office”. Numerous software programs are available such as Typing Tutor and interactive interviewing skills training for clients to use. Job search efforts are monitored and evaluated on an on-going basis. Clients are encouraged to complete a coached job search. One of the goals of the Vocational Rehabilitation program is to achieve or restore independence and to teach the client how to proceed independently once the program is completed. It is hoped the client will then know what to do when faced with any future job searches.
When is a client employed? How do you support him/her while working?
A client is considered to be placed in a suitable job once they have maintained this job for 14 days. Usually within that period of time, suitability can be determined. The Follow-Along phase then begins. It is considered a vital part of the services. Job-placed clients are followed up for a period of at least six months. Off-site or on-site counseling services are delivered to the client and to the employer if and when required. Clients are assisted with challenges encountered on-the-job, changes in disability status are monitored as well as ability to adequately maintain the job. At the end of six months, their ability to proceed independently is determined. If they are deemed able to proceed independently, the client is advised and their file is closed. If more assistance is required, the follow-up phase can be extended up to 2 months.
When do you use ‘direct job placement”services (i.e., when does RWG contact the employer and coordinate the worksite on the client’s behalf?)
Occasionally, a client experiences significant difficulties conducting an effective coached job search for various reasons. Or, the nature of the disability, such as a traumatic brain injury, is such that coaching on site is important to the overall success of the placement services. This client would be referred to our Job Developer for direct placement. The Job Developer works with the client and counselor, makes employer contacts on the client’s behalf and acts as the client’s advocate.
Do you assist clients with returning to school?
Some clients may be encouraged to upgrade their educational background and continuing education options are researched. Funding may be available through Alberta Human Services Disability Related Employment
Support Program for assistive technologies/resources and/or continuing education.
Besides formal training, what other training options do you access?
Some clients who have major barriers and are unable to or have no desire to participate in continuing education to upgrade their skills may qualify for a Workplace Training Program through Alberta Works. The policy for this program may found on the Alberta Works website. In this program, employers agree to provide on-the-job training for approximately 26 weeks. In return the employer is reimbursed for their training costs on a sliding scale. The goal of this program is to enhance the employee’s current skills and the expectation for the employer is to continue to employ the individual once the program is completed. The procedure for this program involves a proposal submission to Alberta Works for consideration for approval. The proposal is completed and submitted by one of the counselors at R. Work Group following consultation with the client and the employer. It is important to note that the client and employer cannot enter an employment relationship until program approval is received from the Alberta Government – R. Work Group only recommends funding and there is not a guarantee of funding approval. Turnaround time is typically 3 weeks from proposal submission to approval/disapproval.
What happens when a client is unable to complete your services?
Occasionally, a client may have to discontinue the program. This can happen if their health status deteriorates. In this case, the client would be referred to the appropriate service or agency for alternate assistance if necessary. Client’s can be re-apply for services at a later date, when appropriate.
Do you have a referral form?
We do have a referral form. The referral form can be found here on our website. We find it helpful if the client also calls and books an appointment directly; however, upon your request and receipt of the referral form, we will initiate contact with the client.
Services for Insurance Companies
GENERAL OVERVIEW OF SERVICES
Services are tailored to meet the insurance company and client needs, and can be tailored based on case consultation between the Case Manager/Rehabilitation Consultant and VR Consultant with R. Work Group.
Established Programs Available Include:
A. Pathway to Success: Reducing Anxiety and Building
B. Seek and Find: 8 weeks to Effective Job Search Skills
Individualized Services Available Include:
A. Vocational Assessment and Action Plan Development
B. Career Counselling
C. Job Search Techniques Training
D. Adjustment Counselling
"New Programs" -- Under Development
Pathway to Success: Reducing Anxiety and Building Career Confidence
8 weeks of individual counselling and computer self-directed training and coaching that provides skill and confidence building to help ensure your client has the confidence and tools to define their next job options. The client attends twice a week, working independently on a computer guided program, typically for 1.5 hours/sessions of independent work plus 1 hour / week of individual counselling.
Who is this program for? This program is for clients who will benefit from extra support in re-establishing
control in their lives post an extended journey focused on managing physical and/or mental health related needs. Individuals diagnosed with depression who are struggling with maintaining routine and having hope for the future find this program especially helpful.
Price: Please call for current prices
Report writing is an additional cost
Throughout this 8 weeks your client will learn how to set goals and be coached in this process, identify and
practice effective problem solving skills, evaluate interests and values and achievement needs.
Using a computer managed, goal setting program that incorporates a pre and post assessment, your client will
receive training and coaching on all or some of these areas, depending on the assessment results and related skill training needs:
· Goal Setting
· Values Congruence
· Achievement Drive
· Problem Solving
· Supportive Environment
· Personal Responsibility
Your client will also complete one standardized interest inventory (instrument used will depend on clients
academic/work background and reading level) and receive debriefing of the results. The individual coaching sessions relate to guiding your client through homework assignments and practical application of the the essential work and life skills they are learning from the computer guided skill training.
Other components that are optional and can be included with additional cost include: Resume and Career
Portfolio Preparation, Interview Skills Training.
C. Seek and Find: 6 weeks to Effective Job Search Skills
2 hours/week of Basic Job Search Skills Training
Week 1: Transferrable Skills Assessment – Survey and Background Interview
Week 2: Identifying Jobs in the Hidden Job Market (includes informational interview
Week 3: Effective strategies for Disclosure of Disability and Health Related Needs to Employers
Week 4: Interview Skills Training
Week 5: Resume and Covering Letter Writing
Week 6: Putting It All Together – Action Planning
Price: Please call for current pricing
· Report writing is an additional cost
A. Vocational Assessment & Action Plan Development
- Determine client vocational strengths and needs through use of counselling and assessment tools.
- Develop an individualized action plan with the client identifying goals and timelines.
- Identify a minimum of 3 job targets that meet gainful earnings requirements.
B. Career Counselling
Delivery of career counselling services according to The Five Stages of Career Counselling:
Stage 1: Understand Self (values and needs; interests; abilities, aptitudes, and skills; temperaments).
Stage 2: Understand the Environment (family, culture, and society; sociological perspectives on the work environment; occupational and educational information).
Stage 3: Understand the Decision Making Process
Stage 4: Implement Career Decisions
Stage 5: Adjust, Adapt and Advance
C. Job Search Techniques Training
- Job Search Strategies– the client is provided individualized training and support on how to find a job following the behaviorial approach to training, similar to that outlined in the Job Club Methodand according to his/her “Employee Profile.” Accessing the hidden job market is our focus.
- Resume and cover letter writing– typically the resume is written with the client and they are trained in how to edit and use this as a tool. The same approach is taken with covering and thank-you letter writing.
- Interview Coaching –clients are trained on effective interview skills through educational materials, role playing (including video taping when suitable), and use of an interactive Interview Skills training computer
- Job Placement –clients are coached in how to connect with the appropriate employers in both the advertised and hidden job market. Focus is placed on how to access the hidden job market.
D. Access To Resources/Equipment
There are two client computers with internet access at our Grande Prairie office. The client will have
access to these resources for researching job leads, revising/printing resumes and covering letters. Employer directories, job postings received by R. Work Group, and various print materials on job search are available from our library for clients to access.
3. QUALITY ASSURANCE PROCESS
The following outlines the quality assurance process that we have in. Measurement of Deliverables and Outcomes:
Deliverable or Outcome:
Acceptance of referral
Commencement of services
Customer Satisfaction Survey
7 calendar days from receipt of referral
14 days after accepting referral
Progress report sent every 4 weeks or as required
 Salomone, Paul.“Career Counselling and Job Placement: Theory and Practice” in Work and Disability: Issues and Strategies in Career Development and Job Placement, pp: 365-415, 1996.
 Azrin, N & Besalel, V. (1980). Job club counsellors’ manual. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.
Commonly Asked Questions
Why would I refer a patient/client to R. Work Group?
People who have disabilities frequently encounter numerous and varied barriers to securing and maintaining suitable employment. Many people tend to see the disability first and disregard the person’s abilities. This tendency often adversely affects the person with a disability resulting in viewing themselves in this manner as well. People from all types of work backgrounds are helped through our services from professionals and trades people to those entering the labour market for the first time.
We are experienced and skilled specialists in this field who have worked with people who have disabilities since 1990. We work with the client as an individual with their holistic needs first; we identify their disability(ies), and then we identify and help them focus on their abilities.
We believe that each person has a desire and a right to achieve a lifestyle of independence and integration within their workplace, family and local community. We believe in the individual’s desire to maximize their quality of life experience, to be considered to be valued and positively contributing members of our society. We assist them in this process. Our clients who have achieved success have done so through tremendous courage and effort while applying learned success principles and developing positive attitudes. They are recognized and applauded for their hard work.
You would consider referring a patient/client to us to assist them in maximizing their quality of life experience.
What is Vocational Rehabilitation?
Vocational Rehabilitation as it relates to R. Work Group can be defined as a set of services offered to individuals with psychiatric/psychological and/or physical disabilities. These services are designed to enable participants to attain skills, resources, attitudes, and expectations needed to compete in the interview process, get a job, and keep a job. Services offered may also help an individual retrain for employment after an injury or mental disorder has disrupted previous or current employment.
The purpose of Vocational Rehabilitation services is to prepare qualified applicants to achieve a lifestyle of independence and integration within their workplace, family and local community. This transition is achieved through work assessment/evaluation, job readiness services, and job counseling services. For individuals with psychiatric disabilities, situational assessments are generally used to evaluate vocational skills and potential.
What is your approach to service delivery?
Vocational rehabilitation services are based on individual needs and defined as any goods or services an individual might need to be employable, such as assistive technology devices and services.
What are your best practices?
Our best practices in vocational rehabilitation include individual choice, person-centered planning, integrated setting, natural supports, job placement, and career development. The term integrated setting refers to placing
individuals in usual employment situations rather than making placements into sheltered workshops or other segregated settings. Natural supports are the person’s already existing support network, including family members, service providers and friends, who can help the person reach a goal, such as the employment of their choice. Person-centered planning is a technique in which a plan for a person’s future is developed incorporating the person’s work interests if at all possible.
Part of the program services includes meeting with employers in the community to identify currently available jobs, promote hiring people with disabilities, and building up a comprehensive employer data base.
What is considered a disability?
Any medical condition that creates a barrier to finding and/or keeping suitable and viable employment is considered a disability for the purpose of our services. Our services are delivered to people with various abilities. That is, some people require counseling support only, while others may require us to provide support at the work-site for an extended period of time.
Physical disabilities may include:
•Lower limb limitations, e.g. mobility issues, muscular weakness, hemiplegia, paraplegia, muscular disorders, diabetes with complications, nervous system disorders (e.g. paresthesia), hip/knee/ankle fusions, joint injuries/conditions, arthritis, decreased stamina
•Traumatic brain injury
•Sensory deprivation e.g. visually impaired, deaf
•Upper limb limitations, e.g. rotator cuff injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, synovitis, bursitis, weakness, arthritis
•Digestive system disorders, e.g. ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease
•Any major physical body system disorder that results in requiring some type of accommodation to manage
Psychological/psychiatric disabilities and emotional disorders may include:
•Any major mind disorder that results in requiring some type of accommodation to manage
How do you get paid for your services?
Our services are contracted by Alberta Employment, Immigration and Industry to work with many people who have disabilities find and keep a job.
Various insurance companies contract our services for clients who may be on short- or long-term disability and need assistance to return to suitable employment.
We also work with clients in the legal system who require a vocational assessment or evaluation for earnings loss determination. Comprehensive life care planning may be completed.
We work with employers to assist with employee retention, recruitment, vocational planning for existing employees, work accommodation needs, worksite evaluations, managing difficult employees, etc. .
Clients who meet disability eligibility requirements are not charged for our services. Clients who do not meet disability eligibility requirements and would like our assistance pay for our services directly.
What is the process that is followed?
Potential clients may be referred by someone or the client may contact us directly. If the client is being referred, completing a referral form is required. A referral form for professionals is available on this website. It
may be completed and submitted online. Please include as much information as is known about the individual you are referring.
Once we get the referral, the client will be contacted to arrange a screening interview in our office. Typically, this can be arranged within a few days of the referral.
What is your placement rate?
Our placement rate is 70%.
My patient/client is receiving AISH benefits. Are they able to work?
In selected cases, yes. Each client is assessed on an individual basis. Those that are able to work are assisted. Most of the clients that are able to work, do so on a casual or part-time basis. The AISH program allows for clients to supplement their benefits from employment earnings on a rated basis. Clients can experience improvement in their health status thus increasing their employability status. We have worked with clients who have maintained a full time suitable job and no longer required participation in the AISH
What will be expected of me when I refer a patient/client to R. Work Group? 1.With your patient’s/client’s consent, provide required information in the interest of collaboration amongst all care givers
2.With your patient’s/client’s consent, participate in case conferences if requested
3.Should any concerns with our service delivery arise, please let us know
4.If you are pleased with our service delivery, please let everyone know
Where are you located?
See Contact Us
How do I refer a patient/client to you?
Options: 1.Complete and submit the referral form for professionals found on this website. Complete and submit the medical confirmation of diagnosis form.
2.You can fax the completed referral form to (780) 532-7034 or mail it. Include the completed medical confirmation of diagnosis form.
3.Call us at (780) 539-1072 and we will complete the referral form with you. Complete and fax or mail us the medical confirmation of diagnosis form.
4.You can complete the referral and medical confirmation of diagnosis forms, give these to your patient/client and have the client contact us directly. The patient/client can call us or they can drop in to our office anytime between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. excluding weekends and statutory holidays. It would be
a good idea to have them call in first because occasionally we close the office for mandatory out-of-office meetings.
I have questions that aren’t addressed here.
Please feel free to call us anytime. We would be happy to assist you. If we are all occupied and no one answers the telephone, please leave a message on our voice mail. We check our messages frequently throughout the day and will return your call as soon as we can.