What does a Social Worker do in a Vocational Rehabilitation Center?

While many social workers are employed by the county or by the state, it’s not uncommon to find qualified counselors working in vocational rehabilitation centers as well. For social workers and licensed social services counselors who are interested in working with a return to work program, there are options to help adult members of society rehabilitate themselves and find meaningful employment. If you’d like to know what you would do as a social services worker in this setting, here’s a guide to help:

What is the Overall Role of a Social Worker in Rehabilitation?

The Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed in 1990, guarantees disabled Americans the same employment opportunities as all other citizens. To give individuals with impairments who have suffered an accident or an occupational disease these equal rights, each state has a social services department set up to provide vocational rehabilitation services to help locate accessible jobs that the individual is qualified for.

A social worker’s role is to ensure that a worker’s rights that were written into law under the ADA are not violated. They will also help to eliminate the disability when possible or reduce the effect that the disability can have on job performance. When the worker is ready to return to work, the social worker is also there to aid the worker in finding a role that enables the individual to work at their greatest capability.

What are the Daily Duties of a Social Worker in a Rehabilitation Unit?

Social services are not always voluntary. In many cases, especially when a person is involved with Child Welfare Services, an individual is required to work with a social worker in an effort to remedy the problem and close the case. All social workers are there to help, but for many, it’s difficult to accept this when services are court-ordered and mandatory.

When it comes to vocational rehabilitation, working with a public service worker is generally considered optional, which makes exchanges with disabled workers much more pleasant. This is why many choose to use their Social Work degrees in the vocational setting. Here are some of the duties of rehab unit social service workers:

  • Interviewing referred parties for services
  • Identifying vocational issues and constructing plans
  • Evaluating skills and current work capacity
  • Review of case history, diagnosis, and rehabilitation plan
  • Referral to workshops and training centers
  • Assistance in finding work
  • Research labor market and solicit jobs
  • Continue to counsel client and assess progress
  • Act as liaison between employers and agencies
  • Handling of complex casework to consult with other agencies on case management
  • Write reports and maintain a file

Related Resource: Top 10 Affordable Masters in Social Work: 2018

Vocational rehabilitation counselors play a major role in helping disabled parties gain the skills and the confidence that they need to return to work after a debilitating accident or illness. In return for all of their hard work, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the average salary is $38,950, with some areas paying substantially more than others. If you are interested in putting your education to use to help those in need, you can change lives by working as a social worker in a vocational rehabilitation center.