VR3: Making a Difference
Q1, Quality One, Quality happens one person at a time
VR3  Ready...Reliable...Results September 2014

Gov. Haley visits to talk jobs and celebrate success

“I am so amazed by all of you because you are changing lives,” says Governor Nikki Haley. “Whether it’s helping somebody with physical therapy or talking with somebody about a job, you show them that success is possible. And you show that people believe in them.”

Governor Haley joined SCVRD staff in recognizing the accomplishments of the Richland Office, three VR business partners and two former VR clients.

“I could not be more proud because none of this is possible if you’re not here,” the governor says about the business partners, which include Lizard‘s Thicket, Pontiac Foods and BlueCross BlueShield.

Gov. Nikki Haley speaks with a client in the Lexington Work Training Center.

Governor Haley toured the Lexington Work Training Center, Evaluation Center, Muscular Development Center and Information Technology Training Center, speaking with staff and clients.

“What we try to do every single day is prepare our clients not just for any job, but for the job that they want to do and that they can continue to grow in,” says Commissioner Barbara Hollis.

“With the right opportunities, services, partnerships and the commitment from all of us, we can realize, as a community and as a state, the many valuable resources that people with disabilities in SC can bring.”

Richie Garner

“I'm very honored,” said Richie Garner, former SCVRD client who now works as a customer service representative for the SC Department of Motor Vehicles. “I wanted to go back to work. That’s all I wanted to do.”

“The services VR provide are like no other. They get you where you need to be.”


Justin Gilreath

Before he came to VR, Justin Gilreath, who now works for BlueCross BlueShield, was frustrated trying to find a job.

“Some companies tend to be nervous and shy about hiring deaf folks,” he says. “But VR was able to help them better understand the things I needed.”

Gilreath received a range of VR services including vocational counseling, assistance with hearing aids and job coaching.

“They [also] provided me with an interpreter for my job interview. I got the job,” he says proudly.

SCVRD’s rehabilitation engineering services also provided a work site evaluation that resulted in the installation of two concave mirrors to increase his safety on the job.

Lizard’s Thicket

“We’ve been involved with Voc Rehab for over 20 years,” says Bobby Williams, CEO of Lizard’s Thicket. “It’s a great partnership and shows what the private and the public sector can do when they come together.”



Pontiac Foods

Ken Pott, Scott Wishart and Jim Griggs of Pontiac Foods.

“We’re able to better serve our customers through the partnership with VR,” says Jim Griggs, Operations Manager of Pontiac Foods. “They do an excellent job. They’re very receptive to our needs. For us, it’s all about serving the customer, and they help us meet those needs.”

“I’m not sure how we could do it without VR,” adds Ken Pott, Coffee Planter.

Pontiac Foods has also hired VR clients over the years, who Potts describes as “very reliable and dependable.”

“This partnership has grown over 10 years,” says Scott Wishart, Spice Production Planter. “I look forward to continued success and imagining what we can do together if we commit to make a difference.”

BlueCross BlueShield

“BlueCross BlueShield has a long-standing relationship with Voc Rehab,” says Gayel Wigfall, Human Resource Consultant in the area of Diversity and Human Capital Strategies for BlueCross BlueShield of SC. She also serves on SCVRD’s Business Advisory Council (BAC).

“Thank you for all of the work you do, for the support you lend us. You are a valued, valued resource, and we thank you.”


Business Advisory Council

SCVRD’s Information Technology Training Center (ITTC) began in 1984 as a cooperative effort between representatives from business and industry and SCVRD.

SCVRD’s Business Advisory Council (BAC) is the result of that effort. BAC members lend their expertise and experience to help the training program respond to the ever-changing demands of computer technology in the job market. A BAC subcommittee guides each area of the ITTC. The subcommittees participate in course development, candidate selection, instruction, candidate progress, intern training, mentor development, graduation, job placement and follow-up.

For more information about the BAC, or to become a member, call 803-896-6091.

Around the state

Florence Summer Institute a big success

More than 80 students turned out for the Florence Area office Summer Institute, held July 24-25. Though traditionally planned for the High School High Tech students, the entire transition team joined together to invite all of their transition students from Florence, Timmonsville, Hannah-Pamplico, Marion, Mullins and Creek Bridge High Schools.

During the two-day event, students participated in application and resume practice, “Do’s & Don’ts,” a Job Interview Fashion Show, games, and a lunch and learn with Audrey Timmons, mother of Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons.

Other local guest speakers taught the students about budgeting skills, renting apartments, college admissions, and bullying.

The event ended with the high school graduates celebrating with a graduation cake, donated by local bakery Let Them Eat Cake to honor the graduates for their accomplishments.

Hamrick recognized for fraud detection

Dr. Olin “Rick” Hamrick was recently recognized by the Atlanta Center for Disability and the South Carolina Disability Determination Service (DDS) for his dedication and thorough case review to identify, detect, and report fraudulent activity in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) disability program.

Dr. Hamrick identified discrepancies in a claim’s documentation and referred the case to the Columbia CDI Unit. The CDI Unit’s investigation supported Dr. Hamrick’s findings and the case was disallowed, saving SSA over $100,000.

Dr. Hamrick’s efforts support SSA’s strategic goal of ensuring the integrity of Social Security Disability program with zero tolerance for fraud.

Palmetto Center orientation for ISOs

Seven South Carolina Department of Corrections Intensive Supervision Officers (ISOs) recently completed an orientation at Palmetto Center, coordinated by Dawn Porter in the Sumter Area Office and Barry Waddell at Palmetto Center.

Pictured, back row: Gloria Lloyd, Melanie Johnson, Lisa Seabrook, and Carol Williamson of Palmetto Center. Front row: Christy Taylor, Terence Dupree, Joni Leviner and Shevonne Graham.

Q Quotes

Quality begins on the inside…and then works its way out.

—Bob Moawad, author

Did you know...

…that the theme for National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2014 is “Expect. Employ. Empower. What can YOU do?”

Link to National Disability Employment Awareness Month website.

This activity began as National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week, established by Congress in 1945 for the first week each October. It was extended to a month and the name was changed to National Disability Employment Awareness Month in 1988.

SCVRD open houses and Disability Mentoring Day activities traditionally occur as part of NDEA Month.


September 5, 7am - Presentation about SCVR services to the Men’s Prayer Group Breakfast Meeting in Pageland.
September 23 - Chamber Members, employers, and potential referral sources are invited to meet with staff to learn more about VR.
October 24 - Open House.
November 6 - Health Screening by Mackey Family Practice.
  For more information, call 803-285-6909
September 4 - Job Fair at the Work Training Center.
  For more information, call 843-740-1600
September 10, 9am-4pm - Bounce Back Workshop. This intensive workshop is designed to help VR clients with criminal backgrounds learn more about community and VR services as they prepare for employment.
October 7 - Open House. Community partners, employers, and other members of the public are invited to visit our office and learn more about VR services.
  For more information, call 803-534-4939
September 18 - Job Fair.
  For more information, call 864-882-6669 or 866-313-0082
September 17, 9am-12 - Job Fair.
  For more information, call 843-538-3116 or 888-577-3549
October 15 - Open House.
  For more information, call 864-984-6563 or 866-443-0103

Preparing and assisting eligible South Carolinians with disabilities to achieve and maintain competitive employment

VR3 is published by the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department (SCVRD), 1410 Boston Avenue, West Columbia, SC 29171.
The Public Information Office provides all news and information. News material may be reproduced with credit to VR3. In accordance with federal and state laws, SCVRD does not discriminate against any race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability in employment or in provision of services.