VR services are available to all eligible South Carolinians with disabilities 

To be eligible for VR services, you must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially impedes employment, and you must require and be able to benefit from VR services that would lead to gainful employment.

Benefits Specialists are on hand to counsel recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) on work incentives and other benefits of working while educating them on the effects of earnings as they plan for employment.

Your vocational goal

Once eligibility is established, and depending on your need, services are available to assist you in preparing for, obtaining, retaining, or regaining employment. You participate fully in your case, with your counselor serving as a guide to help you navigate all of the services we offer.

Assessment is the first step. Your strengths, abilities, interests, types of jobs you are best suited for, and the services required to help you achieve employment success are evaluated.

This may involve job shadowing, working under a mentor or a job tryout. This process leads to identifying a specific vocational goal and the services needed to reach it.

Most assessments are done in your local office, but if a significant physical disability is involved, you may be referred for a comprehensive evaluation at one of two locations in the state.

Everything I learned at VR had a single common thread and that was to put you back to work
— Patrick McGregor, former VR client

Your Individualized Plan for Employment

Your plan will list the services you need to help you prepare for your chosen vocation. The specific services provided are based on your individual financial and employment needs.

You will progress through the following three stages:

Disability management through speech, hearing, physical, occupational, muscular or aquatic therapy; diagnosis and treatment for mental or emotional disorders like substance abuse at one of our residential substance abuse treatment centers; medical procedures, treatment, medications, prosthetics, orthotics, podiatry or dentistry; or rehabilitation technology, such as worksite assessment, assistive devices, technological adaptations, and aids for daily living.

Training to enhance your professional and soft skills through job preparedness instruction and job readiness training; demand driven training to develop job specific skills; business or information technology training; internships,
apprenticeships and on the job training; or post secondary training, including vocational or technical schools, colleges and universities.

Job search helps you identify and secure competitive employment. Follow-up, post-employment services and job retention services help you if your job is jeopardized because of disability-related factors.

In some cases, you may receive on-site job coaching to help you get started on the job.

Youth Services

If you’re a high school student with a disability, you’re probably thinking about your future. We can give you that extra boost you need to succeed in the job market after you graduate with School-to-work transition services.

High school/high tech, another popular youth program, encourages youth to set their sights on college and a career in the fields of science, technology, engineering or math.

During Disability Mentoring Day students with disabilities are paired with employers for one-on-one job shadowing experiences, helping them explore a variety of career options. The event is sponsored nationally by the American Association of People with Disabilities.

No one has ever done anything like this for us before
— Leesa Iseman, Special Education Teacher, Newberry Elementary.

Comprehensive services

Facilities across the state offer four services that meet the needs of clients with significant disabilities.

Comprehensive evaluation

Our staff evaluate physical disabilities and determine vocational needs. 

Physical therapists develop exercise programs to help you increase your strength and stamina while occupational therapists help you adapt to your work and home environment.

Muscular Development

Our muscular development facilities feature state-of-the-art physical therapy equipment, swimming and therapy pools, and well-equipped exercise areas. Clients are encouraged to set goals and pace themselves in a sustainable, yet challenging, program of physical fitness.

Rehabilitation Technology

One of our engineers may consult with you and make recommendations for technological adaptations that can help you overcome barriers at home and
at work, and compete more successfully in the employment market.

Substance abuse treatment

Substance abuse is a life-limiting and often life-destroying disability, but VR’s residential substance abuse treatment helps individuals regain their lives and achieve successful competitive employment.

There you will find caring professionals who can help you deal with the emotional, physical and medical aspects of confronting an addiction and replacing it with a sober, rewarding lifestyle.

Overcoming addictions

VR offers help for people who are unable to get or keep a job because of drugs or alcohol. It is available to those who are ready to overcome their addictions and realize their potential as productive citizens.

VR’s substance-abuse treatment provides a four-week residential program designed to help participants recognize the negative factors that contribute to addictive behavior and emphasize positive attitudes that can successfully overcome those factors.

What I learned in those 28
days will help me for the rest
of my life.
— Leanne Taylor, former VR client


Clients are referred to substance abuse treatment by VR counselors at any of our area offices around the state. Treatment is voluntary and participants must be substance-free for at least three days before admission.

What to expect

Trust is an essential component of the program at each of the centers. Clients are treated with respect and are expected to take responsibility for their own behavior while at the center.

Men and women, are housed separately in comfortable quarters.

A community atmosphere provides a natural support system and a framework for recovery. Clients elect their own leadership and community issues are resolved by the community.


Each client has an addictions counselor to provide support and guidance. Our nurses and food service specialists also are dedicated to helping clients overcome their addiction and find their way to sobriety.

A vocational assessment will help clients determine the kinds of jobs for which they are best suited.


Group therapy allows a safe environment where clients can express their feelings, learn from the experiences of others and begin to pave the way toward their own recovery. It also provides a background for clients to begin to respect themselves and build healthy relationships with others.

Clients keep a journal of their feelings and experiences as a record of their progress and there is plenty of quiet time for reflection and growth.


Educational classes explore attitudes that lead to addiction and how addictions affect the body physically and mentally. Ways to overcome addictions also are discussed.

Career exploration

A vocational assessment and career exploration specialist works with each client to identify strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice that would lead to a successful employment outcome.

Individual sessions focus on specific problems, such as stress management, building self-esteem, conflict resolution and dealing with anger constructively.

Accomplishing tasks successfully while sober is an important stepping stone to recovery, so work is an integral part of the program. Clients assigned to various housekeeping and maintenance duties during their stay rediscover the satisfaction of a job well done.


Bodies long neglected in favor of addictive substances thrive on the healthy, nutritious meals. Each client must report to the dining hall three times a day.


Recreational facilities are available where clients can let off steam, relax and remember how much fun it is to play while sober.

Medical needs

Medical needs are closely monitored. Essential medications are allowed, but some mood-altering or potentially addictive substances are not.

Involving the family

Special programs are available for family members who want to learn how to support their loved one.

Follow-up support

Following the four-week stay, clients continue to receive the support of their VR counselor and are encouraged to participate in community support groups as they return to work and a substance-free lifestyle.

For those who have lost their jobs, VR provides services to assist in making a successful transition back to the workforce.

Youth services

VR’s youth services work to reduce the dropout rate of youth with disabilities and improve their participation in employment-related activities. These programs focus on building self-esteem, developing personal leadership skills, and preparing young adults with disabilities for life beyond high school.

You may want to participate in a specialized program designed to help you try out career choices and build leadership skills (see information below).

A VR counselor is available to assist you at your school. Talk with a teacher, your guidance counselor or school nurse about getting connected. Or you can contact the nearest VR office.

School-to-work transition

If you’re a high school student with a disability, you’re probably thinking about your future. We can give you that extra boost you need to succeed after you graduate.

Summer programs

Your VR counselor will arrange for you to use the nearest Vocational Rehabilitation Training Center during the summer before your senior year to strengthen your ability to meet work requirements.

High school / high tech

Through high school/high tech students are encouraged to set their sights on a college and career in the fields of science, technology, engineering or math. Students with disabilities enrolled in High School/High Tech sites take field trips to science and technology-related businesses and attractions. They’re offered on-the-job experiences through job shadowing activities and internships.

Disability mentoring day

DMD is commemorated each October and pairs students with disabilities with employers for a one-on-one job shadowing experience. DMD is designed to expose young adults to a variety of career options and provide them with a better understanding of the work place environment. Participants are given a chance to learn about the day-to-day responsibilities required of a desired occupation and the skills and education requirements specific to a job in that career field. At the same time, employers benefit from DMD by understanding what people with disabilities have to offer to the workplace. The event is sponsored nationally by the American Association of People with Disabilities and implemented in SC by SCVRD and its statewide partners.


At VR we believe in job-driven, real world workforce development.

Adult education

Clients may take advantage of the adult education classes at our work training centers that are offered by the local school district, and supported by the SC Department of Education. These include essential work place skills (assessed through WorkKeys® testing), writing, reading and math (assessed through TABE® testing).

Job preparedness instruction

to help clients prepare for employment include:

  • how specific disabilities affect work ability.
  • how to fill out job applications, develop interview skills and develop an understanding of an employer’s expectations.
  • Job-seeking groups, advanced interview skills and other topics.

Job readiness training

Job readiness training helps develop positive work behaviors and the physical stamina needed for successful adjustment to a new job. This training involves working on outsource contracts at a VR work training center.

Information technology training

Our Information Technology Training instruction prepares qualified clients for jobs in
computer-related fields, including:

  • Programming & Business Intelligence
  • Network & Server Support
  • Computer Aided Drafting & Geographic Information Systems
  • Business Applications Plus

Demand driven training

This training emphasizes the skills and knowledge required for a particular job function
(such as a typing or data entry) or a trade (such as carpentry or welding) in the local community. These courses include topics such as:

  • Forklift operation
  • Custodial

Work based training

Internships,  apprenticeships and on the job training can be provided in partnership with a prospective employer. A “job ready” client works for an hourly rate of at least minimum wage while learning the skills of the job. If the training is successful, the client is expected to be employed in the same or a comparable position.

Post-secondary training

Assistance with post-secondary training leading to an associate or baccalaureate degree may be provided if it is in an area of study leading to an appropriate career field.