Oregon Commission for the Blind Student Honored with Dean’s Award

AmyRose

AmyRose with her “Dean’s Award of Excellence.”

AmyRose is finishing up community college and hopes to transfer to a 4-year college in the fall. In May, the dean of Clackamas Community College honored Oregon Commission for the Blind (OCB) student AmyRose Bonano with the Dean’s Award. Over 50 people — staff, family, and fellow students — gathered on May 29 for an inspiring ceremony via Zoom.

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Spotlight on Oregon Commission for the Blind’s Pre-ETS Program: Daniel Bair

Daniel Bair Playing a Violin


Many people are familiar with the Oregon Commission for the Blind (OCB)’s work helping seniors and adults, but helping youth successfully transition from school to the workforce though pre-employment activities, or “Pre-ETS”, is another significant part of what we do.

Perhaps because we’ve held it for 45 years, one of our more well-known Pre-ETS programs is the Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP). Serving youth ages 16-20 with low vision, SWEP helps prepare youth to live independently and enter the workforce. With programs in Portland and Salem, students typically work between 25-30 hours per week at worksites related to their career interests.

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Then and Now: VR Partnership with Business Expands

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

KwikTrip Staff

Posted by:
Kathy West-Evans: Director of Business Relations, CSAVR
Christopher Pope, RSA


OSERS’ Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) partnered with the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation’s National Employment Team during National Disability Employment Awareness Month in 2018 to highlight the partnership between state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies and Kwik Trip, a convenience store company with roots in the Midwest.

The partnership with Kwik Trip is a positive example of how the VR program serves a dual customer—both individuals with disabilities and business.

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Ensuring an Inclusive Rapid Response to COVID-19

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

Logos for the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, Rehabilitation Services (MRS), and Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP)

By the Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) and Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP)


As the nation continues to adapt to the “new normal” brought on by COVID-19, so too do state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies. While the circumstances are unprecedented, VR’s nimbleness is not. Adapting during a pandemic is one more example of how the Michigan VR program has continually evolved to meet shifting needs over the course of its 100-year history.

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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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Requesting Feedback Related to State VR Agency Technical Assistance Needs

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:

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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?
  4. 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.

Getting Where I Need to Go: Traveling Opens Doors

Jamel Berry

By Jamel Berry


When I was in high school, I was advised to contact New York State’s Adult Career and Continuing Education Services — Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) for job training. However, I wasn’t traveling on my own yet, because even though I was 20 years old at the time, I relied on the school bus to get around during all my years of school.

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