Lindsey (Wentz) Willhelm, a former VR Consumer recently received the North American Rescue (NAR) Ellenburg Employee of the Month Award for May 2019. Lindsey, a Contract Specialist with NAR/TRM , was described as a “dedicated team player” who “exceeds expectations on. . . completing challenging tasks”.
Qwavez Henderson, a former VR consumer, was recognized as Associate of the Month for January 2019 at Embassy Suites by Hilton Greenville Golf Resort & Conference Center. Qwavez has been a complimentary breakfast utility attendant for Embassy Suites since May 2018 and has excelled in many different areas of his job.
Tommy Pruitt, Human Resources Manager at Ruiz Foods, recently discussed the opportunities available at Ruiz Foods and the importance of the ManuFirstSC credential with VR Consumers during the third week of ManuFirstSC training held at the Southeastern Institute for Manufacturing and Technology (SiMT), which is part of Florence-Darlington Technical College. The ManuFirst SC credential is recognized by the industry as the equivalent to one year’s manufacturing experience, which is what many manufacturers require for an entry-level job. During the training, students learn about safety, quality practices and measurement, manufacturing processes and production, maintenance awareness, and OSHA-10.
After graduating from high school in May 2018, Mikayla Pucetas wanted to enter the workforce but needed some assistance. In September, she attended job preparedness classes at VR’s Spartanburg Training Center. During this time she expressed interest in fork lift training, which she enthusiastically completed. She was hired by the Rite Aid Distribution Center in November and continues to be very happy and successful in her role. Mikayla is currently being cross-trained to work in various areas of the distribution center.
Vocational Rehabilitation Seneca recently hosted a Ground Breaking Ceremony to celebrate the expansion of their training center.
More than 90 consumers, business and community partners, and supporters to joined in the celebration of this expansion, which will allow the Seneca office to serve more people with disabilities in Oconee and Pickens counties.
Brothers Shawn and Ray Hernandez were delighted to meet and have their picture taken with Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette when she toured the Worksman Cycles factory in Conway on March 22, 2019. Shawn and Ray are two of nearly 20 VR consumers employed at Worksman in positions that include assembly, warehousing, painting, welding and office work.
Fischer Packaging & Automation is a local BMW supplier that provides opportunities for VR consumers to gain skills in the Anderson training center. John Lee, a manager at Fischer Packaging, frequently visits the training center where he is able to observe consumers as they receive training on projects for the company. Lee recently hired VR consumer Kristopher Brown and has been very impressed with him. Kristopher was the first consumer to complete Anderson’s in-house forklift training program. At the training center, Kristopher received both classroom instruction and hands-on forklift training.
In addition to Kristopher, Lee has hired one other consumer, and is planning to hire a third consumer in the near future.
Students from VR’s Conway and Georgetown offices recently participated in the Ride and Decide program, which was created by the South Carolina Association of Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors to provide high school juniors and seniors opportunities for employment in the HVAC field. Tania Appel, VR Business Development Specialist, facilitated partnerships with local HVAC companies to help promote Ride and Decide. Three students were hired by companies participating in the program.
People often need a variety of experiences to find their niche in life, and often surprise themselves when they discover the right path. Michael Magill is one of those individuals. He was referred to VR by the Berkeley County School District during his junior year of high school. At the time, Michael was considering various options for completing high school: attend virtual school, obtain a GED, or remain in school and earn his diploma. He tried virtual school, but it did not meet his needs. So he decided to push through the “awkward social setting” of public school to finish his senior year at Stratford High School.
Michael was also undecided on which vocational goal he wanted to pursue. Because of this uncertainty, Michael’s VR counselor worked with him to explore various career paths.
More than two dozen individuals representing fourteen businesses and organizations throughout the Sumter area participated in a recent Business Partnership Breakfast at the Sumter Office. Speakers included Laura Spears, VR Transition Services Coordinator; Steve Patterson, VR Correctional Program Development Specialist; and Val Gioia, VR Rehabilitation Engineer.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.