The Associates

MANDY DOOCY, MSW, LGSW,  Program Director/Social Coach
B.A. Organizational Management and Leadership, M.S. in Social Work  507.530.5084
Mandy has a strong track record of successful employment outcomes.   She works effectively with her time and resources, and is able to set up job seeker-relevant work experiences and internships.   Mandy enjoys being a trainer, often training new staff.   She is skilled at program development and management. Mandy oversees LJ&A’s southern MN services, guiding the team and providing leadership. She is a Blandin Foundation community leader, working to build community through leadership. Mandy was awarded the MRA Placement Person of the Year 2017. Mandy will be providing specialized social coaching services to job seekers.

B.A. in Sociology, M.A. in Vocational
Rehabilitation Counseling  507.271.9693
Michelle is a creative and focused Job Placement Specialist.  She brings her natural organizational skills and attention to detail to the working relationship of Job Seeker and Employment Specialist.  Michelle is a strong communicator and is thorough in making certain details are addressed.  Michelle has been successful in providing services with good outcomes by making solid connections with employers, rehabilitation counselors, and the persons she serves.

picture of DEAN DeGROOT

DEAN DeGROOT, Employee Development Specialist/Social Coach
B.A. Psychology, M.S., Behavior Analysis & Therapy  612.789.9596
Dean has expertise in assessing and understanding various aspects of behavior.  He works to assist job seekers in understanding their potential and unique ways of fitting into work and other environments.  As a Social Coach, Dean supports and guides individuals—helping them to refocus direction and manage anxiety as they find work. He assists job seekers to develop enhanced social, emotional, and vocational capacity to work.

MARK LEWIS, Employee Development Specialistpicture of MARK LEWIS
Ph.D. Human Performance, M.Ed. Training & Development (Private Sector), B.S.Ed. 
French & History  651.491.4778
Mark is an Employee Development Specialist, human performance consultant and expert at documenting work—the sub-tasks, tasks, and outputs expected of individuals as they perform their jobs.  His capabilities include identifying the present or missing knowledge, skills, and organizational factors that have impact on performance at work. Mark addresses process/systems issues when they inhibit individuals from success on the job.

ERIKA TEACHOUT, Employment Specialist II
B.S. Political Science and Social Welfare, M.S. Rehabilitation Counseling  507.341.1329
Erika has worked with individuals with disabilities for ten plus years, both as a parent and in assisting with benefits analysis through a private organization. Erika’s education and training have given her tools to both better her skills and to enhance the lives of individuals served. Erika interned with LJ&A which then evolved into a regular position of Employment Specialist. Erika plans to continue her passion for helping individuals improve their lives through work.


MIKE SCHAITBERGER, Employment Specialist
B.S. Psychology  612.816.9165
A career business services professional; Mike is strongly attuned to business, including hiring needs, providing qualified candidates, the entire process of getting job seekers into good jobs. Mike’s focus is on identifying skills needed for jobs and in assisting individuals with securing employment. Mike is creative, upbeat and business savvy.

LIZ COLE, Employee Development Specialist
B.S. Vocational Rehabilitation and Special Education, M.S. Vocational Education with Special Needs Emphasis  612.242.3418
Liz is a career special educator/work coordinator from the metro area. Her expertise is in preparing youth and young adults for employment and post-secondary education and training. Liz has evaluated students’ job skills through classroom activities, work assessment, job shadowing experiences, workplace tours and community-based employment. Liz has helped students identify their interests using assessments, in-school activities and on-line resources and research. Liz understands school systems, special education case management, transition from school-to-work, and working with community resources and partners. Liz believes that the people she works with deserve to have meaningful experiences that leads to gainful employment.

C. STEVEN RIEHL, Employment Specialist IIpicture of C. STEVEN RIEHL
B.A. Sociology/Mass Communications  763.568.3223
Steve approaches the complex issues of employment and barriers with a compassionate and pragmatic style; exercising sensitivity and logic to the process with positive employment outcomes. Steve gives his best to the job search, always going that extra mile.  Steve has helped many satisfied people with becoming successfully employed.  He applies a practical approach to job search—locating client-relevant job openings and assuring that applications and support materials are complete.  Steve is hard-working, diligent, and instills hope for the job seeker to find employment.

picture of JERRY JUDKINS

JERRY JUDKINS, Employee Development Specialist
B.A. Liberal Arts, M.A. 
Liberal Arts/History  651.436.2193
Jerry performs Job Developer services and is instrumental in helping to set up internships, on-the-job evaluations, work experiences, and in locating job leads that are a good match for our job seekers.  Jerry also makes follow calls to both counselors and job seekers to gauge satisfaction with services.  Jerry is a skilled interviewer who has been instrumental in arranging ideal work sites.  Jerry enjoys travel and is a MN Wild fan.

ELIZABETH JONES, Director of Operations
B.S. Vocational Rehabilitation and M.Ed.
 Vocational Education  651.497.5312
Liz is committed to working with people with disabilities to attain self-sufficiency through employment. Liz has worked to build existing services, expanding the company to meet demands of referrals to out-state areas.  Through planning, LJ&A has expanded services to include Employment Planning, Employee Development, and Community Employment Services. Liz is honored to be able to serve people with disabilities in their employment journeys. Her mission is to assure quality services and outcomes through offering resources  of qualified and compassionate staff.


The Support Team

Pat BienfangPAT BIENFANG, Administrative Assistant, Corporate Compliance Officer  651.481.0090
Pat is an experienced vocational rehabilitation professional dedicated to supporting quality and effective systems service delivery to people with disabilities seeking employment.  Pat has had a rich professional path of working in state VR systems including Iowa, Oklahoma and Minnesota. Pat shares her systems knowledge though collaboration and practical implementation. Pat has provided leadership and guidance in active roles with the National Rehabilitation Association and Minnesota Rehabilitation Association (NRA and MRA).  Pat’s skills and drive assure cross system service delivery and collaboration.  Pat assists LJ&A with service provision planning, check and balances with CARF and regulatory standards, compliance and operations.

Rachel JennerRACHEL JENNER, Bookkeeper, Human Resources  651.481.0090
Rachel assists with day to day operations, manages payables, receivables, payroll and financial reporting for LJ&A.   Rachael is part time while she provides services to small businesses in the twin cities Metro Area through her company, Essential Business Services. Rachel is also the treasurer and board member for Allied Charities of Minnesota and provides annual training to CEO’s and officers on managing nonprofits and charitable gaming. Rachel is helpful and informative on advising on best practices for small business like LJ&A and the various supporting organizations they interface with such as nonprofits, Minnesota Rehabilitation Association and governmental agencies.