Mark Arens started with MERS (Metropolitan Employment and Rehabilitation Services) in 1997 as a Vocational Counselor. In 2001 MERS merged with Goodwill to form one of the largest non-profits in Missouri, providing vocational counseling and job placements to individuals with disabilities or barriers to employment.
Prior to MERS Goodwill, Mark worked for several companies that performed vocational rehabilitation and medical management for individuals who had been injured at work. He recalls that many of the individuals he worked with were unhappy in their jobs and saw their injury as a chance to do something different with their lives. He also remembers, “More than half of the people I worked with, all of whom had substantial and life changing injuries, were so unhappy in their jobs that they saw their injury as an opportunity to start their career over and get into a job that they were excited about. It struck me how often people find themselves in a job through circumstance or luck rather than exploration and planning.” Those cases were formative in Arens’ understanding of the importance of job match and vocational counseling.
Arens holds a BA in Psychology from the Miami University of Ohio, a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling from Illinois Institute, and a Master of Business Administration from Webster University. Arens has served on the Missouri Association of Rehabilitation Facilities as President and Employment Division Chair. Arens was part of the 2010-2011 Leadership St. Louis class and served as a Board Member for the Maryville University Vocational Rehabilitation Program. He has also served on the Webster Groves School Board Advisory Committee and served as Vice-Chair on the Webster Groves School District Bond Campaign.
Mark is married to Dr. Kerry Arens, and they live in Webster Groves with their three children and their two yellow labs. He is an avid hobbyist and enjoys woodworking, welding, brewing beer, SCUBA diving, and restoring the 1888 home where he and his family reside.