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.
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.
Interim Commissioner Felicia Johnson joined community members to participate in the annual Walk and Roll event held by the Mayors of Spartanburg County Committee for People with Disabilities on October 12, 2017.
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.
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.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). NDEAM raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. The theme for 2017 is “Inclusion Drives Innovation."
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.
More than 800 people attended the Orangeburg Chamber of Commerce annual Business Expo where they networked and learned about the resources offered by more than 88 businesses and organizations. A photograph of VR staff was featured in the Orangeburg Times and Democrat.
Amy Firestone, program analyst of the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship, addressed hundreds of business partners, educators and students at the Charleston Regional Youth Apprenticeship Program’s Signing Day breakfast held at Trident Technical College.
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.
Eleven VR clients recently received forklift certification through a grant-funded class held at Central Technical College in Sumter. The two-day class included basic knowledge and safety and hands-on training. Dennis Bolen, from Central Carolina Technical College, was the instructor.
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.
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.”