The Associates

MANDY DOOCY, Employment Specialist II/Program Director
picture of MANDY DOOCYB.A. Organizational Management and Leadership

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.

DEBORAH REZAC, Employment Specialist II
Master of Education (Tribal Cohort) M.Ed, Bachelor of Science B.Spicture of DEBORAH REZAC

A career employment and diversity professional, Deborah is a builder of resources necessary to improve workplace success for persons with disabilities.  Deborah has a proven track record of strong employment outcomes in serving people with disabilities. Deborah is creative and resourceful in developing options for job seekers – using  strong collaboration with team supports to best support job seekers in achieving employment goals.

Cindy Bodnar, Employee Development Specialist

A career transitional employment services professional; Cindy is experienced in assessing worker’s strengths and in setting goals to build work skills for employment. Cindy is organized and works to identify strategies to build work tolerances and confidence in job seekers. Cindy is a professional that works well with teams that support individuals and will provide positive and constructive feedback, support and follow up for services provided. Cindy likes to make the workplace fun and a place job seekers want to return to. Cindy is experienced in working with transition students, people with brain injuries and also with advanced service planning.

MICHELLE ARMBRUSTER, Employment Specialist II
              B.A. in Sociology, M.A. in Vocational Rehabilitation Counselingpicture of MICHELLE ARMBRUSTER

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.

 

DEAN DeGROOT, Employee Development Specialist/Social Coach
B.A. Psychology, M.S., Behavior Analysis & Therapypicture of DEAN DeGROOT

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.

HEATHER LINDGREN, Employment Specialist II
B.A. Sociologypicture of HEATHER LINDGREN

Heather Lindgren is an experienced Employment Services professional who is skilled in providing job placement, career exploration, skill development, vocational evaluations, job coaching and situational assessments. Heather was awarded the Job Placement Professional of the Year in 2014 from the Minnesota Rehabilitation Association. She has worked with persons with varied disabilities, and is experienced with Project Search. Heather works to empower each individual to reach maximum potential while pursuing employment goals.

MARK LEWIS, Employee Development Specialistpicture of MARK LEWIS
Ph.D. Human Performance, M.Ed. Training & Development (Private Sector), B.S.Ed. 
French & History

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.

SARAH DEENY, Employment Specialist/Program Director
B.A. Elementary Education/
Special Education, 
picture of SARAH DEENYM.A. Educational Psychology

Sarah is a talented and dynamic professional skilled in building solid relationships and in empowering people to their highest potential. A skilled leader, Sarah is highly organized and intuitive in assessing situations and in moving ahead proactively. A natural advocate for person-centered services, she is goal driven to assist individuals with identifying and achieving personal and career goals. Sarah has a superior track record for employment outcomes and consumer satisfaction.  She has earned the distinction of Job Placement Person of the Year in 2016 through hard work and diligence in providing highest quality Employment Services.

MIKE SCHAITBERGER, Employment Specialist
picture of MIKE SCHAITBERGERB.S. Psychology

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.

C. STEVEN RIEHL, Employment Specialist IIpicture of C. STEVEN RIEHL
B.A. Sociology/Mass Communications

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

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

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.