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 Evaluation

Comprehensive evaluation assists clients in discovering their potential and helps them begin developing their vocational strengths and abilities.

A caring staff of specialists uses accessible facilities, equipment and techniques to evaluate each client and determine his or her vocational needs.

Services provided

Because each person's needs and goals are different, a variety of services are used during a comprehensive evaluation.

Vocational assessment and career exploration

Clients are first assessed to determine their interests and vocational needs. Each participant's physical abilities, work history, education, aptitudes and vocational interests are considered as vocational options are explored.

An assessment and career exploration (ACE) specialist conducts individual as well as group assessments. All participants are offered group sessions to help them prepare for employment.

Vocational testing

Using the results of WorkKeys® Career Readiness Certification tests completed by clients in cooperation with Adult Education, our ACEs match clients to potential training, educational, or career opportunities.

Job preparedness instruction

Classes and individual sessions focus on communication skills, coping with stress and preparing for job interviews.

Occupational therapy

Clients are evaluated for upper extremity strength, cognitive skills, visual skills, dexterity, activities of daily living and basic work skills needed for employment.

Therapists look at all components of a task or activity and determine how to adapt them to the client's ability.

This evaluation has been such a wonderful blessing to me. I can look towards the future with great hopes.
— Gayla D. Bouknight, former comprehensive evaluation client

Residential component

A 29-bed facility has accessible rooms, a dining room and scheduled recreational activities to create a comfortable atmosphere for assessment. 

Medical services

Fully trained, licensed nurses staff the dormitory 24 hours a day. This staff is available to provide education and basic medical care for residents. The nursing staff also provides diabetic education.

Nutritional counseling

Good nutrition is important to overall good health. The Evaluation Center medical director instructs clients in making good food choices and lifestyle changes. Weight management instruction is also available.


Special Sessions

Pain management

When chronic pain from a low back injury interferes with work or the ability to carry out daily activities, VR can help.

The four-week pain management comprehensive evaluation examines the relationship between tension and pain. Participants practice pain management through the use of assertiveness and relaxation skills that reduce stress while learning special exercises and lifting techniques to strengthen muscles and decrease the possibility of additional injury.

Brain injury

VR Brain Injury sessions helps individuals identify barriers to employment and develop behavioral and compensatory strategies to improve their work-related performance.

The four-week brain injury comprehensive evaluation was developed in cooperation with the Head and Spinal Cord Injury (HASCI) Division of the S.C. Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital in Greenville and the S.C. Brain Injury Alliance, which continue to contribute to the program.

Summer youth services

If you’re a high school student with a disability, you’re probably thinking about your future.

A two-week summer program for youth with disabilities is offered  to help give you that extra boost you need to succeed in the job market after you graduate.

Therapy sessions

Individual and group therapy sessions help the client develop awareness of the their limitations and provides an opportunity to apply and practice compensatory strategies.

Depending on the need, session topics may include discussion and practice on adjustment to disability, problem solving, anger and stress management, social support, goal setting, memory management strategies and substance abuse counseling.

Thank you for believing in me. I learned a lot about how to work better.
— Rosa Daniels, former Evaluation Center client

Muscular development

Muscular development helps clients achieve their physical and vocational potential through individual programs of fitness training and physical and aquatic therapy.

A physical fitness training program is tailored for each client. During the course of their program, clients may take advantage of any or all of the following:

Services provided

Muscular
development room

This area maximizes physical abilities through exercise. Using specially designed resistive exercise equipment, such as weights and exercise cycles, clients build strength and stamina.

Physical therapy
room

A registered physical therapist develops, implements and supervises a therapy program for each individual. The program includes a therapeutic exercise plan designed to decrease pain and increase function.

ec_aquatictherapy.jpg

Aquatic therapy
pool*

The buoyancy of water benefits clients who have difficulty exercising in traditional ways. Aquatic therapy increases strength, endurance, balance and coordination.

When you come to muscular development thinking you can’t, the staff will let you know that you can.
— Spencer Harris, former muscular development client

Clients participating in the muscular development  find a relaxed atmosphere where they can work at their own pace to build strength, mobility and confidence. The staff is available to offer guidance and encouragement. Clients receive individual assistance as necessary.

Keeping the body fit helps clients achieve the stamina required to compete for employment
and maintain their endurance after they are hired.

As with any physical fitness program, motivation and dedication are essential. Clients are encouraged to set goals and pace themselves in a sustainable, yet challenging, program of
physical fitness. The goal is to make physical fitness and good health a daily routine, so
clients improve strength and endurance and achieve as much independence as possible.

Vocational rehabilitation counselors may refer clients from the community to participate in muscular development, physical therapy and aquatic therapy*. Occupational therapy also is available upon request.

Information technology training

For more than 30 years VR’s Information Technology (IT) Training has prepared and placed South Carolinians with disabilities in computer-related fields. The training allows clients to fully compete in today’s technology-driven job market.

Curriculum

Programming

Programming provides each trainee with C# and SQL programming languages, extensive coverage of the .Net environment, and database theory and programming. This will provide each trainee with entry level knowledge and skills. Length: 14 months.

Computer Aided Drafting and Geographic Information Systems

AutoCAD/GIS centers on the development of entry-level CAD and GIS technicians who are proficient in 3D CAD fundamentals, and mechanical and civil design applications as well as GIS “smart” mapping. Length: 11.5 months.

Business Applications Plus

BAP prepares clients for careers in customer service and office support. This includes instruction and hands-on experience in Business Communications, Keyboarding, Record Keeping (physical & electronic), as well as the MS Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook), bookeeping fundamentals using QuickBooks Pro and medical office administration. Length: 8 months.

Networking and Server Support

Network and Server Support addresses the needs of industries for persons who are qualified to apply the basic concepts and fundamentals of PC, network, server support, and helpdesk. Clients prepare for and have the opportunity to take the CompTIA A+, Network+ and Server+ certification exams. Length: 11.5 months.

Business-Oriented Applications

Business Oriented Applications provides training customized to meet business needs for employees who are proficient in specific applications. Length: time frame varies by individual need.

Real-world Experience

Information Technology Training at VR began in 1984 as a cooperative effort between representatives from business and industry.

The Business Advisory Council (BAC) is the result of that effort. BAC members lend their expertise and experience to help the training program respond to the ever-changing demands of information technology in the job market. A BAC subcommittee guides each area of the IT Training Program.

The subcommittees participate in course development, candidate selection, instruction, candidate progress, intern training, mentor development, graduation, job placement and follow-up.

Other Benefits

All areas of study include training in customer service fundamentals, problem solving, professional development, professional behavior and work ethics.

In addition to the technical skills offered through the curriculum, students may take advantage of services provided by VR’s Comprehensive Evaluation, Muscular Development and the Rehabilitation Technology services are provided as needed.

The classroom building is adjacent to an 18-room, 24-bed dormitory used by trainees from across the state.

Training is coordinated using an online learning management system that contains information on the training, IT industry news and job availability.

Admission

Individuals referred to the IT Training must be highly motivated and capable of working normal business hours, five days a week.

VR counselors across the state identify candidates for the training program and refer them for a comprehensive evaluation for evaluation and testing.

The staff at those facilities, in partnership with the client, recommend a program of study based on the client’s interests and ability to meet the admission criteria.

The program staff will then present a slate of candidates to the BAC for interview and approval.

Rehabilitation technology

The primary function of rehabilitation technology is to help people with disabilities overcome barriers. These barriers may exist at home, at school or in the workplace.

Sometimes the solution is simple, like changing the height of a desk; sometimes it is more
complicated, like modifying a vehicle to be operated by a person who has had an amputation.

Services provided

The staff includes rehabilitation engineers and a rehabilitation technology specialist. These professionals provide consultation, assessment, design and fabrication for VR clients who are referred by their local counselors.

Once a case is opened, a technologist meets with the client to do a full assessment of their individual needs.

Recommendations are then given as to appropriate technology that can be used to overcome barriers and help the client compete successfully in the employment market.

The program provides services that include job accommodation; computer access; mobility, seating and positioning; telecommunications; sensory aids and devices; vehicle/ driving modification; home modification; and aids for daily living.

Job accomodation

Job accommodation helps clients overcome physical barriers on the job. A job-site evaluation
addresses any problems that relate directly to the client’s ability to perform specific tasks or worksite accessibility.

Computer access

Information technology offers our clients an opportunity to join the competitive job market.
Adaptive devices and alternative methods of input can open the door to those opportunities.

Since I started using the desk and arm rest, my endurance has increased. My typing speed and accuracy have improved due to the reduced pain and numbness.
— Graciela Rivera, former rehabilitation technology client

Mobility, seating and positioning

A seating adjustment or the addition of a mobility device can improve both comfort and productivity on the job. This includes our clients who use wheelchairs and scooters.

Vehicle/ driving modification

Many of our clients who are work-ready lack appropriate transportation. A rehabilitation
technology professional might recommend vehicle modifications that would provide a level of independence not previously possible.

Sensory aids and devices

Clients with significant sensory impairments, such as hearing deficiencies, can be evaluated and provided with recommendations that will increase their potential for employment.

Home modification

In addition, home modification and aids for daily living that help the client become more independent and better prepared to go to work can also be evaluated. This might reveal physical barriers that present a hindrance to employment, such as a lack of grab-bars in restrooms, narrow doorways or access to entrance and exit doors.

Aids for daily living

Assistive devices and aids used to manage a client’s health-related issues also may be evaluated.

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

Referral

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.

Services

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.

Therapy

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.

Classes

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.

Nutrition

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.

Recreation

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.

Training

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.