September 9, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 9, 2015 Media Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 207-621-5009
Will help employers and people interested in working understand how vocational rehabilitation facilitates employment.
AUGUSTA—The Maine Department of Labor’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services has posted five videos describing the successful journeys of six people through the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program. The stories describe how VR helped individuals, families and employers learn how to connect people who want to work with employment in their communities.
“These individuals have a story to tell about the importance of work in their lives,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “No matter the type of disability, vocational rehabilitation guides individuals who want to work to a career path and helps them access the training to get them there. At the same time, it helps employers meet their workforce needs by matching them with qualified employees.”
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), a program within the department’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, helps people who have physical, mental, or emotional disabilities get and keep a job. Individuals who apply will work with a vocational rehabilitation counselor to determine eligibility. This may include participating in a Career Exploration Workshop to identify a person’s individual strengths and interests. Once enrolled, a client and counselor develop an Individualized Plan for Employment that identifies the job goal and services needed to achieve that goal.
The videos depict the end result of this process—the successful placement of individuals in jobs that match their career interests and goals. These stories illustrate different clients who have overcome different challenges in finding or keeping a job.
Kevin sought VR services because he had barriers to employment due to back problems and mental health issues. The video, through interviews with Kevin, his employer and his counselor, shows how he was able to achieve his dream career of becoming a personal trainer. http://www.maine.gov/rehab/videos/2.shtml
Kristy, a student with a hearing impairment, graduated from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf with a degree in accounting. The video explains how VR helped Kristy choose a college major and assisted in her job search after college, including interviews with Kristy and her employer, as well as scenes from her workplace. http://www.maine.gov/rehab/videos/4.shtml
Judy has a vision loss and is 71 years old. She’s now running her own snack bar and concession stand, offering 24-hour access to food and beverages. Her video tells the story of how the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired helped Judy reach her goal of managing her own store, featuring discussions with Judy, her coworkers and her DBVI counselor. http://www.maine.gov/rehab/videos/3.shtml
Jacob was in high school when he came to VR with a dream of pursuing a college degree and becoming a history teacher. His VR counselor assessed his interests and helped him pursue his goals, including a part-time job. Jacob also works as a student-teacher alongside a supervisor who believes teaching is the perfect fit for him. http://www.maine.gov/rehab/videos/5.shtml
Samantha came to VR when she was in high school and wanted a job to lead to more independence. The video shows how VR and her Department of Health and Human Services case manager supported those goals and helped her find an employer that was both welcoming and the right match for her. Samantha is now working with her employer to acquire even more training and knowledge. http://www.maine.gov/rehab/videos/6.shtml
Patrick worked with VR for a couple of years and landed a job at Walgreens, where he was voted employee of the month. Interviews with Patrick, his employer and his VR counselor illustrate how VR helped Patrick find a part-time job that fit his skills, interests and needs. http://www.maine.gov/rehab/videos/6.shtml
An audio descriptive version of each video is available. To view the videos, visit the bureau’s webpage at http://www.maine.gov/rehab/videos/index.shtml.
To learn more about partnering with vocational rehabilitation to hire employees or to access vocational rehabilitation services, visit your local CareerCenter. Find your local CareerCenter at http://www.mainecareercenter.com .