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link/button in an outbound email that connects back to SFDC and performs some sort of action?

Our business has a functionality need that I am not sure is doable.  After identifying a subset of contractors from a proximity map, they would like to be able to (with a click of a button!) send an emai lto the subset list that is detailing fields from a custom object.  So far, this I think I can do with apex and visualforce.  They'd like a link or a button in the email that allows the contractor to accept a job (whoever pushes the button first), and then is able to view the job in our customer portal.  So, it seems a lot of things would have to happen here, although at this point, I am not sure what link or button functionality can be provided in an email that (1) makes the contractor who pushed the button/link the "owner" of the job, (2) makes the job visible to the contractor in the portal.  Has anyone run into anything similar?  I was thinking it would be similar to the functionality of the "stay in touch" button?