Out of the Office - Random Act of Kindness

Good morning, I had a very interesting weekend. The weather on Saturday afternoon was somewhat warm at least for February. The skies were clear and the sun was shining very bright. I decided to stop at Finlay Park for a few minutes before my next appointment.

As I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed a large gathering of the homeless population carrying white containers of food. Some were huddled around a SUV with the trunk open. I noticed two young ladies with more Styrofoam containers of food in the trunk. I thought to myself, “How nice of theses ladies to take time to feed the homeless.”

NAR and VR Featured in Greenville Today

"North American Rescue® (NAR) is as American as baseball and bald eagles (it is in their logo, after all).

You’ve probably seen their building perched up on a hill near I-85, between Pelham Road and Highway 14. You’ve more than likely wondered what they do. What they do is save lives. Really – their mission is to reduce preventable deaths."

- Greenville Today

Job coaching leads to internship and employment

Zavan Boyd, former client, is thrilled with his job at Family Health Center, and with the services and opportunities he has received from VR.

Zavan, who has ADHD, began working with VR when he was in high school and continued receiving counseling and guidance throughout his time at Benedict College. After graduating with an Accounting degree in May 2017, he attended job preparedness classes and learned a variety of skills at the Orangeburg office's training center.

Second chance forum in Greenville

Greenville Counselors Cierra Mack and Chris Mulley, and LaMonica Woodruff, Vocational Assessment and Career Specialist, participated in the 7th Annual “A Second Chance Forum,” at the West End Community Center on November 16. The event featured an expungement and pardon workshop and a job fair where a number of individuals were interviewed on-site.

Customized training presentation at CSAVR

Representatives from Ruiz Foods, HM Solutions, and the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SiMT) joined VR Business Development Specialist Susan Courtney for a panel discussion about VR’s customized training initiatives at the recent Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) Fall Conference in Greenville.

 The presentation focused on how VR develops strong partnerships with local businesses and industries to understand their specific needs, and in turn provide them with job candidates who have the specific skills and training required by those businesses. To help provide the required training, VR has partnered with a number of the technical colleges around the state.

Hard work leads to success as welding instructor

When Eric Scriven was referred to the Walterboro VR Office by Colleton County Probation and Parole Services, he was at a turning point. He was in jail due to probation revocation and a court requirement to attend inpatient treatment for substance abuse. With a long criminal history and an even longer history of drug use, Sciven knew he needed help to overcome his additions and achieve his desire to obtain competitive employment.

Interim commissioner drops in on drop-in

VR Interim Commissioner Felicia Johnson (center) recently attended the Oconee-PIckens Office’s first Veterans Appreciation Drop-In. Attendees of the event learned about services provided by VR and partner organizations, including SC Works, National Guard, Oconee Veterans Affairs, Pickens Veterans Affairs, Disabled American Veterans, Upstate Warriors, and Southern Wesleyan University.

More than 50 people attended the event, including local business Champion Aerospace. A client in the training center was excited to receive a job from Champion Aerospace through the HTI Staffing Company. Champion Aerospace’s HR manager, Dave Hocker, spoke very highly of the client, who has a silver WorkKeys certificate and has also completed the ten-week SC Manufacturing Certificate Program through Tri-County Technical College.

Also pictured are Gloria Holmes, Area Client Services Manager; Sheila Ford, Area Supervisor; Dan Alexander, Business Development Specialist; Vincent Bryant, Center Manager.

Open house in Lancaster

More than 80 individuals attended the recent  Lancaster Area Office Open House in its work training center.  

One  guest stated that the event was “eye opening” and that he “had no idea what amazing resources existed in Lancaster.” Other guests stated that they would be referring individuals for VR services.

Former VR clients Ryan Steward and Fernandez Johnson were recognized with Client Achievement Awards for their inspiration, determination and exceptional accomplishments in reaching their vocational goals.

Boeing featured at Oconee Economic Alliance Business Forum

Sheila Ford, Oconee-Pickens Area Supervisor; Rep. Bill Sandifer; Tommy Preston, Director of National Strategy and Engagement and Government Operations at Boeing South Carolina; Senator Thomas Alexander; Dan Alexander, Business Development Specialist. Preston spoke recently at the Oconee Economic Alliance Business Forum, a monthly event where citizens and business leaders share information and discuss ways to work together to improve Oconee.

SCVRA Annual Meeting

Simon Castaneda of Berkeley County received VR’s Client Achievement award at the SC Vocational Rehabilitation Association (SCVRA) annual meeting on October 20, 2017.

Entering his senior year of high school in 2015, Simon was having trouble concentrating, had low self confidence and poor motivation. He had been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder ( persistent inattention, hyperactivity, and sometimes impulsivity) and oppositional defiant disorder (a frequent and persistent pattern of anger, irritability, arguing, or defiance) when he was younger. He was also dealing with the sudden, unexpected loss of his mother three months before school began. As a result, he made the decision to withdraw from school.

Reentry Job Fair & Expo provides opportunities and resources

More than 250 individuals seeking employment attended the Second Annual Pee Dee Reentry Job Fair & Expo in Florence on September 27. The event was hosted by the United States Attorney’s Office; the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services; SC Works; SC Vocational Rehabilitation; SC Department of Social Services; and the US Probation Office. Three individuals were offered jobs on site.

Customized training in the upstate

Interim Commissioner Felicia Johnson and Board Chair Dr. Roxzanne Breland recently enjoyed hands-on demonstrations of customized training initiatives in the upstate area that offer VR business partners flexibility in filling their workforce needs while providing VR clients with exciting career opportunities.

Conway tops in program integrity

The Conway Area was recently recognized for having the top Program Integrity results for state Fiscal Year 2017. Program Integrity measures reflect a balance in an office’s productivity, compliance assurance, and customer service, demonstrating effectiveness and accountability in achieving successful employment outcomes for people with disabilities. Pictured, David Edwards, Area Supervisor, accepts the award from Dr. Roxzanne Breland (left), Chair of the SC State Agency of Vocational Rehabilitation, and Gail Murray, Area Development Director.