By Stephen A. Wooderson, CEO, CSAVR
This summer marked 100 years since a major milestone in our nation’s history—the establishment of America’s public vocational rehabilitation (VR) program, which was created by Congress in 1920.
As the collective voice for chief administrators of state VR agencies, the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) is pleased to celebrate VR’s centennial with a special issue of our annual Investing in America publication featuring a timeline of the events that have shaped the VR program since its start, as well as examples of its impact as of late. For instance, we learn about:
- Travis Telford, a formerly incarcerated individual who, with assistance from VR in Utah, charted a new path for himself as a commercial truck driver;
- Sasha Ferguson, a young woman with autism who, with pre-employment transition services from VR in Alaska, is turning her love of cooking into a career;
- Chris Walden, a resident of Washington State who, with help from VR in Washington, transferred from sheltered to competitive, integrated employment;
- Raeshetia Cook from Illinois, who has a mental health condition and is hard of hearing and received help from VR in Illinois in obtaining workplace accommodations;
- A summer internship program sponsored by the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind that connects its VR consumers with employers across the Commonwealth;
- A summer program sponsored by VR in Nevada that helps high schoolers with disabilities explore their college and career options going forward; and
- CVS Health’s long-standing commitment to disability inclusion—and how it’s fruitful partnership with CSAVR’s National Employment Team helps in delivering on it.
Of course, these stories are just a small sample of VR’s impact. We now look forward to continuing to invest in individuals, businesses and communities across the nation—for the next 100 years and beyond.