Blogging mostly about mundane stuff like, immigration, Workers' Compensation and other immigrant related activities.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Deconstructing The OBRA School Fair

This past Thursday evening I decided to attend the OBRA School Fair. The event was held at Stevens Steak House in the City of Commerce, CA. I should mention that I only attend the school fair out of....well...."morbid curiosity"...I wanted to see which schools would actually feel that it was important that they exhibit given the state of the Vocational Rehabilitation industry.

I figured since I was going more on more leisure than business purposes, because I was interested in picking up some freebies...such as the school brochures, the free coffee cups and candy especially the chocolates. You see chocolate is the addiction that my precious 4 year old son Joseph has stumbled upon and like any good parent I felt obligated to bring him along and well..."enable him".

Approximately 12 schools officially exihibited at the school fair. OBRA has also produced a Shool Catalog which they currently sell for $10.00. If you are interested in purchasing the catalog you can contact OBRA at "877 ORG-OBRA".

Needless to say it was encouraging to see that some of the vocational schools had received state accreditation and have begun to receive students from sources beyond Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors. A few schools have found some success with Welfare Return to Work programs and State Rehabilitation Counselors. A few indicated that they had begun to see a "trickle" of Voucher enrollments but these enrollments fail to make up for the loss of students with pre 2004 dates of inury.

The current President of OBRA Marion Richardson provided an encouraging keynote speech in which he encouraged Rehab Counselors and Vocational Schools to look at each other and engage in collaborative projects.
Marion spoke of markets in which California based Rehab Counselors and Vocational Schools could tap into and new markets that could benefit from their products and services. His message has already been implemented by various Counselors, such as Claudia Leal & Associates, Herrera & Associates, Disability Management Partners all who have begun to offer a host of services such as Diminished Earnings Capacity Evaluations, Ergonomic Evaluations, Early Return to Work programs, as well as standard services like Interpreting/Translations, Copy Service and Transportation.

All in all, I was happy that I attended the event. It was smaller and felt somewhat more intimate than the school fairs of the few past years. It was good to see familiar faces engaged in a common goal of surviving the many changes our industry is currently experiencing.

I should mention that Joseph got lots of chocolate and a toy crane which was a gift from the kind folks over at the College of Instrument Technology. Thanks and it was good to see you all.

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