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.

VR part of Lander University’s annual CommUniversity event

Representatives from over 80 non-profit organizations and businesses in the Greenwood area took part in Lander University’s annual CommUniversity event on Tuesday, August 23.

Lander has an estimated annual economic impact of $103.7 million in the region, and CommUniversity is a celebration of the relationship between university students and the community. In addition to enjoying samples from local restaurants, students also met community difference makers, and talked about leadership and volunteer opportunities.

Graduates share knowledge

Justin Smith, Melanie Miller and Terry Manus, graduates of the first Heavy Equipment Operator (HEO) class at the Bryant Center, and who now work for Sloan Construction, recently spoke to the current HEO class. They shared their experiences and gave examples of how they have applied what they learned in class to their new jobs with Sloan.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Are you ready for National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)?

Each October, NDEAM celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and educates about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents. Reflecting the important role that different perspectives play in workforce success, this year's NDEAM theme is “Inclusion Drives Innovation.”

STEPS to success

Lucien “Luke” McCurry prepares to throw the first pitch at a recent Lexington Blowfish game. Prior to the game, Luke and nine other young adults attending the Summer Transition Evaluation Program for Students (STEPS) at VR’s West Columbia Evaluation Center toured the Lexington County Baseball Stadium and met with various employees. They learned about jobs at the stadium, what’s involved in hosting a minor league baseball team, and various ways the stadium serves the community

First Project SEARCH graduates in Anderson

Aron Gilliam, Elizabeth Gonzalez, La-Keisha Logan, Trenton Pate and Dillon Worley were recognized for being the first class of Project SEARCH graduates from AnMed Health during a ceremony on June 11 at Westside High School in Anderson.

Project SEARCH is an international school-to-work program that places high school students with disabilities into a work environment, with the ultimate goal of competitive employment. It combines classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands-on training.

Community involvement - Greenville

VR’s Greenville Area Office Business Partnership Network luncheon was attended by the largest group of business and community leaders to date.

Bernard Jones, Business Development Specialist, presented examples of VR partnerships with more than 20 businesses in the Greenville area and how VR matches employer needs with qualified candidates. He emphasized the diversity of positions in which VR clients are employed, including sales, customer service, administrative, healthcare, manufacturing, warehouse and distribution, construction, truck driving, and many more.

Worksman Cycles rolls into Horry County

Worksman Cycles recently celebrated their grand opening in Conway. The company, which manufactures bicycles and tricycles for industrial, commercial and recreational use, opened a factory in South Carolina because it had outgrown its New York production facility.

When Worksman received their first wheel building machine in 2016, VR’s Conway Area Office was invited to watch as the company manufactured their first wheel in South Carolina. Shortly thereafter, a wheel building tryout was scheduled for VR clients. That tryout led to three clients participating in on-the-job trainings, which resulted in the clients becoming full time employees for Worksman Cycles.

Governor’s Committee Winners

The SC Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities works with mayors’ committees and state and local agencies to bring greater public awareness to the many talents and qualifications of workers with disabilities and their positive impact on the workforce and our state’s economy.

Each year a number of South Carolina businesses are recognized for their exemplary practices in hiring people with disabilities and actively promoting disability awareness and workforce opportunities in the business community.

Keep on rolling – VR helps bus drivers stay on the job

Cecelia Maples was having trouble “walking the bus.”

“Walking the bus” refers to making a safety check of a school bus that includes checking all lights, ensuring all equipment is functioning properly, and examining the interior and exterior of the vehicle for damage. Drivers perform this check at least four times a day.

Cecelia has been a school bus driver for the Kershaw County School District for 14 years and loves her job. But she had been having difficulty walking for almost two years, and it was getting worse. Now it was affecting her job.

“I could barely walk and when I did, it was just agonizing pain,” she says. “If I can‘t walk my bus and I can‘t sit down and drive the bus, then I‘m going to be out of a job.”