From the President’s Desk

President Stephanie Kruger
MRA is excited to announce the development of a Client Assistance Fund. 
The purpose of the fund is to provide financial support to MRA Members’ participants in order to reach employment or educational goals.
Guidelines:Funding requests come from MRA memberUp to $150.00 per request (including shipping if needed)Limit request for participant to 2 times per rolling yearRequests to be approved or denied by Participant Fund TeamGoal to respond to request within 3 business daysProcess:Complete MRA Client Assistance Fund Request FormReviewed by Participant Fund Team – respond to request within 3 business daysRefund MRA member by checkIf online option – MRA can purchase and ship to individual 
MRA thanks YOU for your membership!  We want to show our appreciation for your dedication to the Association: to developing professionally, to sharing your expertise with others, and to promoting ethical practices within the profession.
To that end:  MRA will reimburse up to $50 of all new and renewing members paid between January and December of 2021.
In addition, the following divisions will reimburse your division membership cost:Job Placement and Development Division (JPD) for all members = $30.00Transition Specialties Division (TSD) for all members = $40.00 Process:Complete the Membership Reimbursement Request Form which will include submitting your NRA Receipt as proof of payment.*If your membership renewal is automatic through ACH, please submit a final receipt in December 2021.Reimbursements will be submitted via Check or PayPal upon receipt of the completed request form.Thank you again for your membership!
The MRA Conference is planned! 
MRA 2021- History in the Making: Honoring the Past, Embracing the Future 2.1 is scheduled for September 29th, 30th and October 1st. This year’s host location is at Ruttger’s Bay resort in Deerwood, MN.
We have excellent offerings of presenters that will be on site, along with a virtual track for those not able to attend in person.
Please visit the MRA website to see the schedule of presentations and for lodging information. Or click here to register for the conference! On September 29th in the evening there is an open house reunion event for past members, professionals from the field and retirees. (Download flyer here.)
Ruttger’s is a beautiful location with scenic outdoors and opportunities for enjoying out-of-doors activities as well as boating. The conference has several meal options included in the conference registration. Additionally, there are four other restaurants and food venues. Most events will have coffee and soda offerings and a cash bar. 
This promises to be a restful setting full of connecting with friends and colleagues. We look forward to seeing you later this month!

Stay in touch,
MRA President 2021

Vice President and Membership Chair

The time to join the Minnesota Rehabilitation Association is now!
The membership with MRA is a Dual Membership and you will also be a member of the National Rehabilitation Association (NRA). The membership looks good on a resume and your willingness to better yourself as a professional is impressive to current and future employers in the rehabilitation field.

If you become a member, you have a chance to shape the future of the organization and be involved in helping create future competent rehabilitation professionals by becoming a member of the board of directors. Great networking and training opportunities are available at a discounted price as a member and you can even get the Journal of Rehabilitation to keep up on what is going on in the field on a national level.

As if these reasons weren’t enough, MRA is reimbursing up to $50 for all new and renewing members paid between January and December of 2021 after receiving a receipt from NRA to confirm your membership. If you are interested go to Membership Information | National Rehabilitation Association-NRA. If you have any questions about the process or what membership category you should sign up for, or need copy of the reimbursement form, contact me at


Micah Olson
Vice President and Membership Chairperson
Minnesota Rehabilitation Association
Name: Adam TeBrake

Role in MRA: President of the MASPPR Division, Conference Planning Committee member

Professional Role: Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant with Vocational Consultants of Minnesota; Independent Vocational Evaluator for litigated court cases; Vocational Expert for Social Security Disability Administration cases

Why I Chose the Rehabilitation Profession: Like many others, I entered college with an idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up, but soon realized that industry wasn’t what I really wanted for myself. I began taking Psychology courses which sparked my interest. After college, I began working at the St. Peter Treatment Center in a security counselor position. Shortly after this time, I accepted a Rehabilitation Counselor position within the Vocational department. I began learning so much about the vocational rehabilitation industry and what types of positions were in our field. I hadn’t known what this field was all about, but my interest was certainly peaked. My supervisor encouraged me to apply for the Rehabilitation Counseling program at Minnesota State University – Mankato. After the first week, I was hooked! I was able to provide a service for individuals who could benefit from my training and education, while also filling my cup. I have always enjoyed helping others and I am able to do that in this industry.

One Thing Others Don’t Know About Me: I am a huge sports fan! I love all Minnesota sports teams and continue to be engaged in as many activities and sports as possible. I have three children and we are at the beginning stages of them participating in sports, which I love! My garage is filled with sports equipment for the kids, and I wouldn’t have it in any other way!

How MRA Involvement Has Contributed to Your Professional Growth: My mentor was heavily involved in MRA when I first accepted a QRC position. I began attending MRA Conferences in 2011 and have met so many great people through the association and the conferences. The MASPPR division is so welcoming and will share ideas and strategies to best serve our clients. After my time as President comes to an end, I will continue to be involved with future conferences to ensure our association stays strong!

Each issue we will feature one MRA Member in this section, and we welcome nominations and volunteers for whom to “spotlight.” Please send these to and the spotlighted member will receive a questionnaire to complete and return to Micah at the address above. The purpose is to get to know each other and to highlight reasons why membership in our professional organization is so important.
Click Here to Join, Renew, or to Update Your Membership

Job Placement and Development Division
 Cristy Thomas, JPD President
Over the past few months JPD continues with updating and developing virtual trainings while also working on surveying professionals in the field, reviewing results, and making action plans with those results. 
We are excited to share that dates are coming soon for our upcoming JPD trainings including Placement 101 and Job Coaching for Sustainable Employment. Watch for a special edition of the Spotlight with those dates and how to register. 
We also want to send a reminder to get your submissions in for the awards we have for amazing professionals and employers in the field. Make sure they get recognized!Employer of the Year – Large Metro, Small Metro, Large Non-Metro, Small Non-MetroPlacement Person of the Year – For Notable and Continuing Achievements in Effective Placement of Persons with DisabilitiesThe Lori Sterner Award – For Contributions to the Field of Job Placement and the Advancement of Employment of Persons with DisabilitiesNomination forms can be downloaded by clicking on each category above.  Passionate about the field of Placement?  Want to get involved and do more?
We Need You!  
                    JPD is calling for nominations for the following Board positions that will begin January 2022:

President Elect
Area Representatives

You can download a list of board position descriptions here.

Nominations are open until October 11, 2021. Send in a letter with position of interest, why you are interested and a short bio. Nominations can be for either yourself or someone else you think would be a great leader in JPD. Please note that if you nominate someone else, we will be checking with them before putting their name on a ballot. All board positions need to be in good standing with NRA and JPD.

Serving on the Board is a great way to build your leadership skills and meet new people. As a leader of JPD you help us to maintain and grow our reputation as leaders in the field of Job Placement and Development!

If you have questions or would like to make a nomination, please contact current JPD President, Cristy Thomas at or 612-390-5790.
The next JPD Board meeting is on Thursday, October 21st. Please contact JPD President at if you’d like more information or want to attend.

And if you’d like to learn more about our division feel free to check out our page on the MRA website

Have a great day!

Cristy Thomas
MNJPD President 2021

MASPPR Division
Laura Hokeness
Adam TeBrake
Michele Waisganis
1551 Livingston Ave #101
West St. Paul, MN 55118
Phone: 612-353-8594
Fax: 612-278-2266
On May 27th and 28th I had the opportunity to attend my first in person professional conference and networking event since the COVID-19 pandemic. There is something to be said about getting together in person, safely, to collaborate and grow professionally. This spring conference, hosted by MASPPR, was in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There were about 25 to 30 people attending the conference.
We had an array of different speakers throughout the two-day conference. These speakers included medical providers, attorneys, an IT professional, and DLI employees. Topics were pertinent to vocational rehabilitation providers and included topics like non-surgical/conservative care options for chronic low back pain and work injuries, the Ewing decision, communication with the parties involved in workers’ compensation claims, HIPAA and encryption details, as well as a lengthy discussion on the CAMPUS rollout and progress. There was even a speaker who discussed the impact that COVID-19 has had on workers’ compensation claims and outcomes. These topics were relevant to everyday practice of vocational rehabilitation professionals. Each speaker allowed for ample time to hold an open discussion answering questions and talking about outcomes for the future.
Speaking of the future, MASPPR has started planning and looking into the next conference in the fall. We reviewed the type of speakers we would like to hear from and the topics they could discuss. This included additional medical providers to cover things like TBI, orthopedic practices, and PTSD. It also included inviting speakers to discuss vocational testing, social security, and even a QRC panel to review QRC’s roles in rehabilitation. MASPPR will also be offering 20 scholarships to students to attend the upcoming fall conference. The scholarship will include most of the conference fee covered and students accepting the scholarship will only have to pay $20 for the event and will be required to attend the MASPPR meeting. The students will also be encouraged to attend the QRC panel for more information. The upcoming fall conference, September 29th through October 1st, will be focused on 100 years of vocational rehabilitation. I know I speak for much of the MASPPR community when we are looking forward to both covering the history of VR as well as looking towards the future!
Michele Waisganis-Sward

St. Cloud State University

Greetings to all,
Thank you to those of you who participated in The ABILTY Event during the summer of 2020 and Speaker Series this past Spring! All of our previous sessions are available on our YouTubeChannel:

We are excited to extend an invitation The ABILITY Event being hosted this fall. This year, our ABILITY Event will be focusing on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Download event flyer here.
We have international experts who will be sharing on these topics and the impact, current status and future goals of the CRPD and SDGs on individuals with disabilities. Participants will learn valuable information on both of these areas. CRC Continuing Education Units are available. *Students are also welcome to attend in person or via Zoom. 
*New this year is the opportunity to also earn a Micro-badge! The event will be both on the campus of St. Cloud State University (lunch provided) and virtually via Zoom.
Detailed information and registration may be found online at:
We hope to see you attending The ABILITY Event! 
Thank you!
Drs. Kathryn Johnson and Amy Hebert Knopf
St. Cloud State University


Transition Specialties Division 

Greetings from the Transition Specialties Division (TSD)!

We are excited about the upcoming 2021 MRA Conference returning this Fall and hope to see you all there! Congratulations to our student scholarship recipients, Kaitlyn Wall and Christina Douglas! They both received a stipend to attend the conference on behalf of TSD!

Transition Specialties Division Board Meeting Dates 2021
October – This meeting will take place in person at the MRA Conference (Thursday: 5:00 – 6:00 pm, room TBD) and there will be a virtual zoom option for those who do not attend the conference

December – TBD
If you would like to attend one of our virtual board meetings, please contact TSD President Jessica Norem for the zoom link:

The t-shirts are black and the front has a grey outline of Minnesota with the words “transition”, “passion”, “future”, “empowerment”, “job”, “new life”, “goals”, “motivation”, “creative”, “development”, “change”, and “career” in white along the outline. The back of the t-shirt says “MRA Transition Division” in white.
If you would like to order a t-shirt you can contact us at
If you’d like to learn more about our division feel free to check out our page on the MRA website or send us an e-mail at:

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