Federal Partnerships Creating Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities

logo: Internal Revenue Service (IRS)logo: National Employment Team (NET)

By Kathy West-Evans, Director of Business Relations, CSAVR


VR and the IRS: A Partnership that Produces Positive Returns

To fulfill its workforce needs across multiple states, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) partners with the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation’s (CSAVR) National Employment Team (NET), and the relationship is producing positive returns for the agency and candidates with disabilities alike. 

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Impact Stories — Way2Work Maryland

Throughout June, we will celebrate the graduating high school class of 2020. This third blog in the series highlights two students from Maryland’s Way2Work program. Stay tuned as the graduates featured in this blog will also be part of the VR 100 webinar series in August.  


Congratulations graduates! A spotlight on Way2Work Maryland participants

Way2Work logo


Way2Work Maryland is a partnership between the University of Maryland’s Center for Transition and Career Innovation and the Division of Rehabilitation Services through the Maryland State Department of Education. It is a project designed to improve the academic and career success of students with disabilities in Maryland through work-based learning experiences. The project serves students with either an Individualized Education Program or a 504 Plan who will complete high school with a diploma or certificate.

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Impact Stories — Project SEARCH

Throughout June we will celebrate the graduating class of 2020.
This second blog in the series highlights three students who participated in the District of Columbia public schools’ Project SEARCH program.


Congratulations graduates! A spotlight on DC’s Project SEARCH participants

Project SEARCH logo

By Sah Brown, Principal, Eastern High School; and Aimeé Cepeda, Ed.D., Principal, River Terrace Education Campus, DC Public Schools

Project SEARCH is a one-year “school-to-work” transition program designed to prepare DCPS adult students with intellectual and other developmental disabilities for competitive employment. Project SEARCH interns receive daily instruction in employability skills and gain hands-on work experiences by rotating among three 10-week unique paid internships at a one of four Hilton Worldwide host site locations. The goal for each student is competitive, integrated employment by the end of the experience.

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Impact Stories — Unified Schools/Special Olympics

Throughout June, OSERS will celebrate the graduating high school class of 2020.
This first blog in the series highlights three students who participated in the Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program.


Congratulations Graduates! A Spotlight on Participants of Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools

logo - Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools

By Andrea Cahn, Project Director & Vice President for Unified Champion Schools

The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program is aimed at promoting social inclusion through intentionally planned and implemented activities affecting systems-wide change. With sports as the foundation, the three-component model offers a unique combination of effective activities that equip young people with tools and training to create sports, classroom and school climates of acceptance. These are school climates where students with disabilities feel welcome and are routinely included in, and feel a part of, all activities, opportunities and functions.


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New Innovative Early Language and Literacy Program in South Carolina

NOTE: May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

Family Connection of South Carolina

By Amy Holbert, chief executive officer of Family Connection of South Carolina


Family Connection of South Carolina is pleased to join the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and the American Speech Language and Hearing Association in celebrating Better Hearing and Speech Month.

Family Connection of South Carolina is excited to announce a new communication tool launched earlier this month in the spirit of this year’s theme, “Communication at Work!”

Family Connection of South Carolina—in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Education—launched a family-centered, early language and literacy communication service for parents of preschoolers.

“Text2Read” (T2R) is a free mobile-based program offering practical information about child development and low-cost language and literacy activities for young children. The service is a confidential, easy-to-use resource for parents to help prepare their child for kindergarten and to become ready to read.

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A Picture of Success

NOTE: 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

Dillon Maestrejuan

Dillon Maestrejuan

By Nevada Vocational Rehabilitation


If a picture is worth a thousand words, Dillon Maestrejuan is a prolific storyteller, and he is turning a passion for photography into a promising career path with assistance from Nevada Vocational Rehabilitation (VR).

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Gaining Independence While Losing Your Eyesight as a Teen

NOTE: 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

Levi Welsch

Levi Welsch

By: Minnesota State Services for the Blind (SSB)


“It isn’t too scary,” Levi Welsch said, when asked how he felt about the possibility of his vision loss deteriorating in the future. “I am learning skills,” he said, “and I know that Minnesota State Services for the Blind (SSB) has my back.”

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A Commitment to Inclusive Employment

The Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation’s (CSAVR) National Employment Team (the NET), in partnership with CVS Health, a business at the forefront of building an inclusive workplace for individuals with disabilities, released a new video on recruiting, training and employing individuals with disabilities. OSERS highlighted one of the employees featured in the video this past October in a blog during National Disability Employment Awareness Month, “The Dual Customer: Individuals with Disabilities and Business.”

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Voices From the Field: Interview with Yetta Myrick

The Power of Parental Engagement

Yetta Myrick

Ms. Yetta Myrick is the mother of a teenage son with special needs. She is the founder and president of DC Autism Parents (DCAP), a non-profit organization. At DCPA, Yetta has created programs for children diagnosed with autism and their families and oversees the daily operations of the organization. Yetta serves as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Act Early Ambassador to D.C. In this role, she promotes developmental monitoring and assists families in getting the help they need to access services for their children.

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Words of Advice from a Triple Threat

NOTE: October is Learning Disabilities/ADHD/Dyslexia Awareness Month

Alyssia Jackson

This blog is written by Alyssia Jackson, a member of the Young Adult Leadership Council of the National Center for Learning Disabilities


One of the scariest experiences in life is finding a job after college. Sometimes it felt like the more I applied, the more I got rejected. I struggled with finding the right job. You see, I am a woman of color with a learning disability and society also sees me as presenting with a physical disability.

I grappled with whether I should identify myself as having a disability on applications. I did not know if checking that box would cost me an interview, and many times, it felt like it did. Once during an in-person interview, I remember being asked if I had “gotten into a car accident recently”. At that time, I explained my learning disability, and the response was “does that mean you can’t read?”

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