South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department

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Customized training presentation at CSAVR

(l to r) Freddie Evans, Operational Supervisor, and Tommy Pruitt, Human Resource Manager, from Ruiz Foods; Greg Horne, President of HM Solutions; and Lauren Holland, Associate Vice President of Corporate and Workforce Development at the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology; speak about how VR’s customized training initiatives are benefiting their businesses and communities.

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 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.

Lauren Holland, Associate Vice President of Corporate and Workforce Development at SiMT, which is part of Florence-Darlington Technical College, explained how SiMT is able to provide classes that are tailored to a businesses specific needs. The duration, content, and frequency that a class is offered can be scaled based on the business needs and the number of clients available for the training.

Greg Horne, President of HM Solutions, revealed how partnering with VR helped to provide him with a source of qualified, trained, dependable employees. HM Solutions provides industrial manufacturing custodial services for other businesses and have hired VR clients into positions from janitorial services to accounts manager.

Tommy Pruitt, Human Resource Manager at Ruiz Foods, said that the quality of employees they hire from VR is better than those they get through more traditional resources. He stated that there were two main reasons for this: that VR clients are pre-screened to determine if they will be a good match for Ruiz, and that the customized training provided the clients with the exact skills they require. 

Former VR client Freddie Evans, who now works at Ruiz Foods, explained how VR and the customized training prepared him for the opportunity to work at Ruiz. Since starting as a packager, Evans has been promoted to an operational supervisor in charge of two production lines and 266 employees.

The group spoke before more than 300 representatives of state rehabilitation agencies and others from around the country. They answered a variety of questions from the audience and spoke with a number of attendees afterward.

HM Solutions and Ruiz Foods have each hired more than 50 VR clients.

For more information, watch the following video about VR’s customized training opportunities.


CSAVR is composed of the chief administrators of the public rehabilitation agencies which serve individuals with physical and mental disabilities in the United States, District of Columbia, and the territories. These agencies are the state partners in the State-Federal program of rehabilitation services provided under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.CSAVR’s members oversee the rehabilitation of more than 1 million persons with disabilities.