Vocational Rehabilitation for Individuals with Disabilities from High School and College Youth to Adults

The Maine Department of Labor’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services works to bring about full access to employment, independence and community integration for people with disabilities.

Working with its partners in the Maine Department of Labor’s CareerCenter and the rehabilitation community, the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services works with persons with disabilities through the divisions of vocational rehabilitation, blind and visually impaired, and deaf, hard of hearing and late deafened.

Bureau of Rehabilitation Services clients and counselors shared their journeys to employment including improving skills needed to be a successful employee, finding employment while pursuing a teaching degree, keeping up with favorite interests and starting a business all while using labor market information to find a job matched to skills.

Career Exploration and Support to Find the Right Fit

Patrick

Samantha

Samantha and Patrick have different reasons and experiences for seeking VR services. Both, however, worked closely with Maine VR counselors to help them find employment that suited them and a place where they could continue to grow.

Watch Samantha and Patrick’s stories.

Love for Drawing and Numbers

Kristy

Kristy started working with VR in high school to help determine a good major for her in college and eventually help her as she sought fulltime employment.

Kristy found an internship with Central Maine Health Care in the accounting department. Once she completed her internship, Central Maine Health Care extended a temporary position offer to her and that temporary position eventually turned into a fulltime position.

Follow Kristy as she balances work and her other interests.

From Student to Employee

Jacob

Jacob’s father had worries about Jacob, who has cerebral palsy, and his career prospects when he finished high school. Jacob started working with VR during his junior year after his school connected him and a VR counselor.

Jacob earned a history major and minor in secondary education, and he successfully completed a 15-week student teaching rotation.

Learn more about Jacob and how his work with VR and their employment support helped him build a stable work foundation and ethic and improve his confidence.

Visually Impaired and Self Employed

Judy

Judy runs a snack bar with support from the Randolph-Sheppard Business Enterprise Program for the Blind.

Find out more about Judy’s snack bar and the accommodations she uses to help her succeed.

 


Videos and stories originally posted to Maine’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services.

Blog articles provide insights on the activities of schools, programs, grantees, and other education stakeholders to promote continuing discussion of educational innovation and reform. Articles do not endorse any educational product, service, curriculum or pedagogy.

I Can Do Anything: Learning Job Basics and Preparing for the Future

NOTE: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Theo Brooks

By Theo Brooks


When I lost my job in the food industry, I didn’t know what to do. Without my job, I was feeling defeated. I was frustrated that the job I enjoyed and looked forward to was gone.

I stopped by INCLUDEnyc, which my mom found, that helps young people with disabilities like me and their families. One of their youth educators spoke to me and gave me an assessment. From that point, I started to feel more optimistic that I had opportunities.

I visited the youth educator a few times and after several conversations, I realized that I had valuable skills from the food industry and my experience in building maintenance. I could do anything I set my mind to.

I started applying to jobs again. INCLUDEnyc suggested a retail opportunity. The educator worked with me to fill out the job application and prepare me for the interview. I was worried about questions that I would be asked about my work experience, but the educator coached me to handle the questions. I knew how to answer the tough questions and focus on my strengths.

When I went to the interview, I was prepared, but still nervous. I was happy I did well and as INCLUDEnyc taught me, I wanted to send a thank you note. The youth educator helped me draft the note. Then, all I had to do was wait. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait too long. I received an offer the very next day! I also continued to work with the INCLUDEnyc educator to build my skills. We talked a lot about budgeting and time management. Both are so important for my life and my career.

Now, I have a retail job that I really enjoy. I work at a Marshall’s store in Manhattan. I’m a retail clerk, and I help out wherever I can. Sometimes, I’m organizing inventory and other times I’m helping customers. I like my co-workers, and it’s a great environment. I’m proud to say that everything is going well.

I used to worry about what my future would look like. I know now that I can’t always predict what will happen, but I’m prepared. For anyone like me who might have a hard time finding a job, connect with others. There are great people out there who want to help, and they believe in you.


Theo Brooks participated in INCLUDEnyc’s Project Possibility program, which provides intensive support for youth who are transitioning into adult life. As a member of NYS Transition Partners, INCLUDEnyc is a leading Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) Parent Training and Information Center (PTIC) organization providing young adults with disabilities and their families with postsecondary education and employment resources.


Blog articles provide insights on the activities of schools, programs, grantees, and other education stakeholders to promote continuing discussion of educational innovation and reform. Articles do not endorse any educational product, service, curriculum or pedagogy

Creating Access to Successful Employment

Note: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Logo: Project CASE

Manufacturing, healthcare and information technology are three promising career pathways for Kentuckians seeking training and employment in in-demand jobs that pay family-sustaining wages and have opportunities for advancement.

Project CASE was created to increase the numbers of individuals with disabilities training and working in these fields by finding and/or developing flexible and innovative training and postsecondary approaches to skill attainment.

Project CASE’s six Career Pathway Coordinators help increase the capacity of Kentucky’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Office for the Blind in reaching employers who can provide work experiences such as job shadowing, internships, apprenticeships and, ultimately, job placement in these pathways.

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The Power of Partnerships

NOTE: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Ethan - Photo 2

By Chris Pope, OSERS RSA, and Kathy West-Evans, CSAVR


Partnerships between state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies and the private sector have helped individuals with disabilities served by state VR agencies to meet their career goals.

Ethan, a young man with Autism, secured a paid internship with HP Inc. last spring thanks in part to a partnership between the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation’s (CSAVR) National Employment Team (NET), Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS), and Michigan Technological University (MTU).

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Vocational Rehabilitation Success Stories from the Sunshine State

Note: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Florida’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation within the Florida Department of Education offers various vocational rehabilitation (VR) services to Florida customers.

This division has helped clients find jobs including services, technical and professional positions, self-employment, business start-up, and others positions across the state.

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Transitions and Transmissions: VR Services Help Teen Roadmap a Career Path

Note: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Kenneth Singletary, working on a car.

By Way2Work Maryland

Way2Work Maryland, a five-year federal RSA research grant in Maryland, connects students with disabilities in local school systems across the state to community rehabilitation providers to participate in Work-Based Learning Experiences.


Way2Work student Kenneth Singletary was connected to TransCen, Inc. for services in his junior year thanks to a partnership between the University of Maryland, the Maryland Department of Education’s Division of Rehabilitation Services and its pre-employment transition services funding, and the Harford County, Maryland school system.

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Career Pathways Advancement Project — Individuals with Disabilities Find Work That Best Fits Them

Note: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Nebraska VR logo in center of 4 photos. Top Left: A.J. (Andrew) Sigler, A1 United Heating, Air & Electrical Construction. Top Right: Sam Nelson, Environmental Services Associate. Bottom Left: Tanna Skarniak, Owner TS Preservation Specialist. Bottom Left: Amanda Carr, Hy-Vee Courtesy Clerk ]

The Career Pathways Advancement Project (CPAP) is designed for Nebraska vocational rehabilitation (VR) clients to explore and access opportunities to advance in their employment.

Through a combination of classroom and on-the-job training, clients earn the recognized postsecondary credentials required for advancement within a specific industry. CPAP provides employers access to a group of potential employees with the required and relevant skills.

This project is funded by a five-year grant awarded to Nebraska VR in 2015.

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Flipping the Script on my Limitations

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

Julia Kaback

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


When I was a child, I dreamed of working at the National Park Service and when an entry-level position became available, I applied for it immediately. After my interview, I had to start thinking about the words I would use to describe my learning disability if given a job offer.

Good news, I got the job!

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Julia Kaback
Posted by
Member, Young Adult Leadership Council, National Center for Learning Disabilities

NDEAM 2019 | “The Right Talent, Right Now”

Note: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

NDEAM 2019 Poster, “The Right Talent, Right Now”

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), observed each October, celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and promotes the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents.

This year’s NDEAM theme is “The Right Talent, Right Now,” which reflects a commitment to a robust and competitive American labor force.

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ED avatar -- ED seal.
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Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education

October and Disability Awareness

ICYMI "In Case You Missed It!"

In addition to announcing OSEP’s new director, Laurie VanderPloeg, and interviewing Caryl Jaques at Little One’s University preschool, this October, we highlighted aspects of disability awareness for National Disability Employment, Dyslexia, Learning Disabilities, ADHD, and Down Syndrome!

Check out the stories below:

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