Vocational Recovery Services
“Return to work plays a significant role in the health and recovery of the individual, the reduction of disability, and the improvement of productivity and security. It also mitigates significant costs to employers, taxpayers, and society as a whole.” (IAIABC, 2016).
Vocational Recovery Services fulfill the Rhode Island General Law (RIGL) § 28-33-41 – Rehabilitation of Injured Persons by providing high quality vocational restorative and re-employment services to injured workers who cannot return to work in their job of injury or have been terminated by their employer by exceeding the period of time allotted under R.I.G.L. § 28-33-47 – Reinstatement of Injured Worker.
Vocational Recovery can take a variety of forms. Initially, a vocational counselor will meet face-to-face with an injured worker and conduct an intake assessment according to the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court Medical Advisory Board’s Initial Vocational Assessment Protocol Guidelines. At the conclusion of this assessment, the counselor will make return-to-work recommendations. The bases of these recommendations emanate from the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court, Medical Advisory Board’s Hierarchy of Vocational Rehabilitation. For example, if an injured worker is eligible to return to work with his/her employer, a vocational counselor will attempt to discuss (and can negotiate) his/her return to work by suggesting that an employer make accommodation(s) to the job so he/she can return to work despite some continuing disability. If it is not possible for an injured worker to return to work with his/her employer, the vocational counselor will recommend re-employment services and, if indicated, locate training opportunities.
Vocational counselors at the Arrigan Rehabilitation Center are trained and skilled in the rehabilitation of injured workers. Each vocational counselor has earned or is in the process of earning a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, is a Qualified Rehabilitation Counselor by the R.I. Department of Labor and Training, and has attained or is in the process of attaining the designation of Certified Rehabilitation Counselor by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. Graduate level rehabilitation counseling interns are often utilized from Salve Regina University, Assumption College, and the University of Massachusetts/Boston.
In 2017, the Department launched a collaboration between the Arrigan Rehabilitation Center, Vocational Recovery Program, Workforce Development, netWORKri One-Stop Career Centers, and Disability Employment Initiative (DEI). The partnership is called the Worker Recovery Program. This partnership allows injured workers to attain re-employment and re-training services at one of five locations throughout the state of Rhode Island.
Services consist (at the Arrigan Center) of an initial vocational evaluation and (at netWORKri) access to monthly support groups and computer classes, career counseling with assignment of a career counselor, vocational testing, resumé and cover letter development, interview skills training, employment application workshops, job search workshops, job placement, access to job fairs and employer placement opportunities, access to Social Security benefits counseling, case management, and potential access to on-the-job training and retraining programs.
Links to training programs offered are:
To sign up for this program and/or to speak with a vocational counselor, please call 243-1200 and select option # 6 at the voice prompt.
Source: IAIABC Return to Work: A foundational approach to return to function. Disability and Return to Work Committee, IAIABC. http://www.dlt.ri.gov/arrigan/pdfs/Return2WorkFoundation.pdf