The VR Development Group is proud to announce an exciting free webinar on how to care for yourself so you can help others. The purpose of our session is to discuss how VR professionals may prepare for the reopening of state economies/government services. Taking a pulse of your professional life is important to know if you are ready for the next stage. As a nation, we’re all going to experience the resumption of the economy at the same time, but how each of us enter into this new “normal” may affect our ability to provide good service
We will explore ways to be ready, identify if we are dealing with every aspect of life in a positive way and review what skills can we borrow from the world of transition that can suit our “transitioning” to the new normal.
Randy Loss, MA, CRC
Randy has been in vocational rehabilitation for the past 27 years. His professional career started by working in the early 1990s at a wilderness camp with youth who were adjudicated. He then worked in a sheltered workshop, was a case manager and finally a job coach serving individuals with intellectual disabilities until the late 1990s. He then became a field operations manager for an older-adult employment training program until the early 2000s. He then started work at the Pennsylvania state vocational rehabilitation agency from 2002 until 2017. He currently is the Employment First lead for the PA office of mental health and substance abuse services (OMHSAS).
He has worked with a variety of disability populations, such as mental health, substance abuse and brain injury, but his focus over the past eight years has been working with individuals who are involved in the criminal justice system. He was the lead staff on several state VR projects to improve employment outcomes for those with disabilities in the criminal justice system. He was the PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) liaison to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and the State Board of Probation and Parole. During 2018 he was a national TA consultant working with several state VR agencies nationwide to support transition services to opportunity youth.
His current work with OMHSAS is promoting Employment First within this agency and providing TA to providers, MH case management, and community partners on evidence-based practices approaches to vocational services, including supported employment and education, to individuals with a diagnosis of serious mental illness SMI.
Kimberly Gerlach, MS, CRC
Currently Kimberley is the BJJS specialist and special programs rehabilitation specialist, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. Her duties include: Interpret policies, procedures and regulation to agencies or employers. Formulate standards and criteria for rehabilitation facilities. Participate in conducting training of professional staff assigned to specialized areas. Responsible for statewide planning, developing and implementing phases of special vocational rehabilitation programs such as Bureau of Juvenile Justice Services (BJJS), ex-offenders, psychological and allied health services, vehicle and home modifications, and Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse System (OMHSAS). Provide advisory and consultative services to governmental agencies and to public and private rehabilitation center and facility administrators on state, regional, or local levels. Provide expertise and technical assistance to district offices in developing and implementing programs.