LARA Recognizes National Rehabilitation Counselor Appreciation Day

Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280
Agency: Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

March 22, 2012 - The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) joins disability organizations across the country in recognizing March 22 as National Rehabilitation Counselor Appreciation Day.

"The mission of MRS is to partner with individuals and employers to achieve quality employment outcomes and independence for individuals with disabilities," said LARA Director Steven H. Hilfinger. "This mission would be impossible to achieve without our highly trained vocational rehabilitation counselors who are among the very best. On this day, I am honored to recognize them for their professionalism and dedicated service in helping individuals with disabilities meet their employment goals."

In FY 2011 MRS assisted more than 7,705 individuals with disabilities to achieve competitive employment and self-sufficiency
and exceeded its annual performance goals by using additional American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. MRS also assists individuals with disabilities in exploring self-employment or owning a small business, and assists employers in finding and retaining qualified workers.

MRS counselors are required to possess a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling or related field; and demonstrate competency in counseling, job placement and retention services, and skill in vocational rehabilitation assessments by using labor market information in developing Individualized Plans for Employment (IPEs) for MRS customers.

MRS also recognizes employers, partner programs, customers and MRS staff through its Champion Awards program held every October -- Investing in Abilities month, to encourage employers to hire qualified people with disabilities and to increase the public's awareness of the contributions and skills of Michigan workers with disabilities. Michigan is home to approximately 1.3 million people with disabilities. That number is expected to grow as medical advances help people survive serious injury or illness, including wounded veterans returning home to Michigan with significant disabilities.

Michigan Rehabilitation Services operates under the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and Title IV of the Workforce Investment Act and provides employment services to people with disabilities in all 83 Michigan counties. MRS is one of two Michigan agencies responsible for vocational rehabilitation in Michigan. The Michigan Commission for the Blind, also located in LARA, serves individuals who are legally blind.

Congress annually designates March 22 as National Rehabilitation Counselor Appreciation Day at the request of the National Rehabilitation Association.

For more information about Michigan Rehabilitation Services go to or or call 800-605-6722 (toll free, voice) or 888-605-6722 (toll free, TTY).


For more information about LARA, please visit

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