Vocational Rehabilitation for Native Americans


Our Goal

Vocational Rehabilitation for Native Americans will develop and deliver vocational support to eligible Native Americans /Alaskan Natives with disabilities living in the defined service area that are sensitive to their individual cultural beliefs, strengths, resources, priorities, concerns and abilities so each may engage in gainful employment.

If you are eligible to participate in VRNA, you may receive support in the following:

  • Vocational counseling
  • Vocational evaluation and/or career exploration
  • Job seeking skills
  • Job development
  • Transition from high school to post-secondary education or immediate employment
  • Physical or technical aids needed to accommodate a disability in the workplace
  • Tools and equipment
  • Other Federally approved services needed to find, keep or advance at a job.

Funding for VRNA is provided through a grant from the United States Department of Education. Our partners include: the sovereign nations of the Bad River, Lac Du Flambeau, Red Cliff, Sokaogon (Mole Lake) and St. Croix Bands of the Lake Superior Chippewa, Forest County Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk, Menominee and Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican; Lac Courte Oreilles and Oneida Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation projects; the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and numerous tribal, public and private education and social service agencies.

522 Service Road
PO Box 778
Spooner, WI 54801

Tel: 715-635-0967
Fax: 715-635-0969

Karen Johnson
VRNA Counselor
[email protected]

Eligibility and Service Area

To be eligible to participate in the VRNA project:

  • You must be an enrolled member of any federally recognized tribe. A copy of your tribal enrollment card or letter from the enrollment office is needed for verification.
  • You must live in one of our service areas: Barron, Burnett, Polk or Washburn County
  • You must have a documented physical, mental, cognitive or developmental disability. If you don’t have copies of your records, the VRNA Counselor can help you get this information. Some examples of possible disabilities are:
    • Hearing loss
    • Vision problems
    • Complications from diabetes
    • Depression
    • Arthritis
    • Substance abuse (however, you must not be using drugs or alcohol to participate)
      **Please note this is not a full list of disabilities.**
  • The disability must be the major problem for getting, keeping or advancing in employment. If you are not sure what the disability is or how it is making it difficult for you to find employment, the counselor can recommend different assessments that will help identify the disability and point out your abilities and interests.
  • You must be reasonably expected to benefit from vocational rehabilitation services. In other words, the disability can’t be so severe that it is impossible for you to work. However, we assume you are able to work until proven otherwise during the development and implementation of your Individualized Plan for Employment.
  • You must have the desire to work and actively take part in the journey towards your employment goal.
  • Once all the needed paperwork is completed, the counselor has up to sixty days to make a determination of your eligibility to participate in the VRNA project. You will receive a letter notifying you of the decision. At this point, if accepted, you and the staff will begin developing your Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).