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).
“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.”
Ginger Roberts-Scott, Director of the Maine Women, Infant, and Children Supplemental Nutrition program, began her career as a licensed social worker working with individuals with intellectual disability and autism. Throughout her 32 years in a public health service career, Ginger has held several positions in the Maine Department of Health and Human Services helping children, senior citizens and people with disabilities access services, education and employment to gain self-sufficiency.
ED: How did you begin your career in early childhood?
My bachelor’s degree is in Human Services with a focus on intellectual disabilities and autism. I worked at the Maine State Medicaid office as the children’s and waiver services program manager and was responsible for making sure children received services to which they were entitled, especially early intervention services. Prior to that I determined eligibility for Medicaid services. In 2017, I moved to the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) program after 26 years at Medicaid. Working at WIC in my current position is a continuation of advocating for children.
By Kristen Kushiyama Public Affairs Specialist, OSERS, U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education held the seventh annual ED Games Expo at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, Jan. 9.
“The ED Games Expo is the department’s annual public showcase and celebration of educational learning games as well as innovative forms of learning technologies for children and students in education and special education,” according to the ED Games Expo site.
The expo had almost 150 learning and technology games that covered topics such as early learning, science, engineering, making, math, reading, social studies, English learning and social skills for all students — including students with disabilities.
Developing Executive Functioning Skills through Games
Grace is co-founder of Kiko Labs, an educational company creating learning games based on principles of neuroscience. She has been the principal investigator on two small business innovation research (SBIR) grants funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the U.S. Department of Education and another grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Prior to founding Kiko Labs, Grace spent 15 years in product roles in the technology industry, including a stint at Microsoft. Grace holds an AB in Economics and MS in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford and received an MBA from Harvard Business School. Her research interests include game-based learning and assessment as well as technology-infused learning applied to all facets of school readiness.
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.”
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.
As part of OSERS’ commitment to rethink its work to ensure that it is in the best position to achieve its mission, the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) is rethinking the way it supports and partners with its key stakeholders to improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.
One aspect of this ongoing work is rethinking how RSA evaluates the technical assistance needs of State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies and RSA’s strategies for disseminating resources and tools that help State VR agencies provide services to individuals with disabilities and the business community.
Through this blog, RSA is interested in receiving feedback from State VR agencies and stakeholders related to two areas: employer services and career advancement under the VR program. In particular, RSA requests that commenters respond to the following questions:
Do State VR agencies need technical assistance or additional information from RSA related to on-demand training (e.g., online videos) for businesses and other employers related to disability issues?
If so, what topics should RSA specifically address related to on-demand training for businesses related to disability issues and through what mode(s) should RSA provide this technical assistance to State VR agencies?
Do State VR agencies need technical assistance or additional information from RSA related to the provision of career advancement services for individuals with disabilities who are employed?
If so, what topics should RSA specifically address related to career advancement and through what mode(s) should RSA deliver this technical assistance to State VR agencies?
RSA will consider comments submitted to the OSERS Blog through December 5, 2019. We appreciate your thoughtful feedback as we work to maximize employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
Note: To help us in our review, we ask that you only address the questions in the comment section. To protect your privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as a Social Security number, an address, a phone number or an email address in the body of your comment. Comments containing the aforementioned information, or that do not address the above questions, will not be allowed.
Throughout October, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services highlighted aspects of disability awareness for national disability employment, dyslexia, learning disabilities, ADHD and Down syndrome.