The VR Richland office recently held its Quarterly Job Preparedness Education Week. Participating clients learned about proper grooming and appearance for an interview and for a work setting, the difference between business casual and business professional dress, and received insight into the job interview process. They conducted mock interviews, received feedback, and learned how to improve their responses. During a budgeting workshop, clients received tips on managing their money, how to eliminate debts and how to set realistic short and long-term goals.
Maricus Lewis’s success story begins in 2012 when he was referred to VR’s Seneca office for services by the School District of Oconee County. His dream was to become a radio broadcaster and producer.
After graduating from Seneca High School, Maricus attended Tri-County Technical College to pursue a degree in radio communications. At Tri-County Technical College Maricus studied hard and joined the school radio station. However, he did not have transportation of his own and had to rely on friends, family, and public transportation to get to and from school.
The Orangeburg Office recently celebrated the first graduate of the Janitorial Advanced Training Program (JATP). Melissa Friedman is happily working as the newest housekeeping technician for Orangeburg Rehabilitation and Health Care Center.
After earning a Job Readiness Training certificate in the Orangeburg Training Center, Melissa became the second candidate to enter the JATP, which is organized and administered by Stephen Kesler, Vocational Assessment and Career Specialist. Once she completed the JATP, she began a job training opportunity with Orangeburg Rehabilitation and Health Care Center.
The following comments are from a client who recently completed the four-week comprehensive evaluation services offered by VR:
“The staff here at VR are great people. The teamwork that was shown to me was excellent. I was impressed because they all worked (together) to help me. Everyone knew my issues. When I had medical issues, everyone helped. I am taking home a new lifestyle and confidence.
P.S. The food was great!”
VR clients may be referred for comprehensive evaluation services for an in-depth assessment. Their strengths, abilities, interests, types of jobs they are best suited for, and the services required to help them achieve employment success are evaluated.
The Oconee-Pickens VR office recently participated in the third annual Graduates to Work Job Fair at Liberty High School, which was attended by more than 200 seniors.
Business Development Specialist Dan Alexander explained to those at the fair that VR assists students with disabilities.
“We start working with kids age 16, because that allows us to find out where they’re coming from and what they’re looking at and what their career objective is,” Alexander said. “We want to make sure we’re working to fulfill those goals. I’m always interested to listen about what fields they’re (students) interested in entering.”
The co-founder of a 22-year-old program that helps students with learning disabilities land jobs after graduation came to Spartanburg Medical Center on Tuesday to see firsthand the fruits of her labor.
“The biggest joy is seeing people with disabilities get quality skills and jobs,” said Susan Rutowski of Project SEARCH in Cincinnati, which has grown since 1996 to more than 400 programs in 46 states and five other countries.
Spartanburg Medical Center was the first in South Carolina to use Project SEARCH, having worked in 2014 with Dorman High School. Other partners include the S.C. State Workforce Investment Board and the S.C. Vocational Rehabilitation Department. Last year, Pickens and Anderson counties joined the program.
VR is developing strong partnerships with local businesses and industries to understand their specific needs, and in turn provide them with job candidates who have the skills and training required by those businesses. To accomplish this, VR is also partnering with technical colleges around the state.
At the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SiMT), located on the Florence-Darlington Technical College campus, VR clients participate in a one week Manufacturing Skills Pre-employment course. SiMT classes are tailored to meet a businesses’ specific needs. The duration, content, and frequency that a class is offered can be scaled based on business input and the number of clients available for the training.
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.”
National Wear Red Day is held on the first Friday in February every year to raise awareness about heart disease in women. This is the 15th year it has been observed, and in that time many changes and advances in women’s heart health have occurred:
"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
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.
The Anderson VR office recently hosted a Lunch & Learn for veterans and community resource partners who provide veterans services. Attendees learned about the variety of services that VR and other partners can offer veterans.
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.
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.
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.
A grand opening ceremony was recently held for VR’s newest Training Center, located at the Bryant Center in Lyman. This training center joins a network of 32 locations across the state that help people with disabilities find or maintain employment.
The Walterboro Office recently hosted a Disability Mentoring Day. Forty students from five high schools learned about the jobs available in their communities, and what skills and type of education is required for their jobs of interest.
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.
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.
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.