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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Success Stories: Kelsey Redding

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

Vocational rehabilitation helps student gain confidence and discover passion for public speaking

Kelsey Redding

By Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation
(part of the Adult Learning & Rehabilitation Services, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education)


Kelsey Redding wasn’t sure if Missouri’s vocational rehabilitation was right for her when she first became aware of the program. She had been going through a difficult time in her life, living first with a friend and then with a married couple who worked as teachers at her high school. She had no confidence she would even be able to get a job.

However, Kelsey persisted and participated in a VR work experience during the summer between her junior and senior years at East Carter High School in Ellsinore, Missouri. She started out as a shelf stocker at a Town & Country grocery store then moved up to working as a checker.

“Having a job felt really good,” she said, “especially saving money up for a car.”

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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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Adapting to Evolving Employment Needs in Ohio During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD)

By Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD)


Throughout its 100-year existence, the nation’s vocational rehabilitation (VR) program has continually adapted and evolved to meet changing public needs. This spirit is certainly evident today, as state VR agencies respond to the rapidly shifting employment landscape triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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.

October and Disability Awareness — 2019

ICYMI "In Case You Missed It!"

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.

Check out the stories below.

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