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

28 proud years; it all started at SCVRD

(l to r) Mike Hemann, Focus Factory Manager, Covidien; Eric Sorensen, HR Manager, Covidien; Donald Burton, Counselor, SCVRD; Steve Hodges, Manufacturing Associate, Covidien; John Davis, Senior Value Stream Leader, Covidien; Jimmy Vickery, Plant Manager, Covidien.

“My hope is that all employers will consider that someone with a disability may be the most able person to do a great job,” Steve Hodges says with a smile. Steve has been a valued employee of Covidien, a global healthcare products company and manufacturer of medical devices and supplies, since 1986.

Steve came to SCVRD in the mid 1980s. He was in his early 20s, had no work experience, and felt that his hearing impairment could be perceived as a limitation by potential employers.

But Steve was determined to prove that he could be a great employee.

“One of the things I remember most about Steve when he first came to VR for assistance was his great attitude and smile,” says Donald Burton, Steve’s former VR counselor.

“In spite of his great attitude, Steve had no former work history, so he was assigned to the Work Training Center on a contract we had with Covidien,” recalls Burton. “In a short time we observed he was consistent, productive and driven. If given the chance, I knew Steve could be successful at Covidien.”

In addition to job readiness training, Steve also received counseling and guidance, job coaching and assistance in purchasing a hearing aid. He also received guidance on adjusting to and caring for a hearing aid.

Burton encouraged the VR point of contact for Covidien to consider Steve for an opportunity. The representatives at Covidien agreed and soon Steve started second shift in the production area. In the beginning Burton would take time after his busy day at VR to go by Covidien every evening.

“I wanted to make sure he was doing well on his new job,” explains Burton.

“He loved the work, met his production goals, and was soon an integral part of the Covidien production team,” he adds.

Steve enjoyed his work so much that he did not miss one day for 24 years!

“Steve is a pleasure to work with,” says Eric Sorensen, Human Resources Manager at Covidien in Greenwood. “He consistently meets me with a smile and a handshake. You can’t help but smile when you are greeted by Steve. His positive attitude and his dependability are a model for the rest of us.”

“If I could describe Steve in one word,” says Burton, “it would be humble.”

“I am so grateful for the opportunity Covidien has given me to prove that I can be a great employee,” says Steve.

Helen Hodges, Steve’s mother never misses an opportunity to thank SCVRD staff when she sees them in the community for the assistance her son received 28 years ago.

“I just thank God for Vocational Rehabilitation,” she says with tears in her eyes. “They made such a difference for my son.”

Around the state

DDS’s helping hands

Each year the Charleston Disability Determination Services Office has an Annual Outreach Project. This year’s theme is “HELPING HANDS — Giving to Our Neighbors in Need.”

The Charleston Social Committee asked each Team to participate in a donation drive to collect items such as toiletries, baby products, clothing, personal hygiene items, etc. for My Sister’s House and HALOS.

HALOS (Helping And Lending Outreach Support) provides support and advocacy to abused and neglected children and kinship caregivers.

My Sister’s House provides services, programs and resources to empower victims of domestic violence and their children to be free from abuse.

The Charleston Office is excited and compassionate about these projects and donations are pouring in. We look forward to helping these two very important organizations in our community.

To learn more about the non-profit organizations, visit their websites: www.charlestonhalos.org and mysistershouse.org.

Walgreens & Lowe’s shine at Job Fair

Thirty clients received either one-on-one interviews or information from group sessions with both Lowe’s and Walgreens at the Job Fair held at the Oconee-Pickens Area Office on September 18.

Group sessions provided tips on what information to disclose when applying, why certain applications get reviewed faster, appropriate attire for interviews, and available positions in addition to shift information for both locations.

Other participating employers were Upstate Healthcare and GCA Services.

Job Fair in Anderson brings out local employers

Fifty clients received interviews, applications or information on how to apply for specific jobs with the five employers that were part of the Job Fair at the Anderson Area Office on September 17.

Sam's Club held 30-minute group sessions and their representatives were extremely impressed with our clients and their questions and answers.

Other participating employers were: City of Anderson, Pete’s Lawn Care, Upstate Healthcare Services, and Walgreens Distribution Center.

Leadership class tours office and work training center

The 2014-2015 Leadership Oconee County class toured the Oconee-Pickens area office and Work Training Center on September 5th, led by Anna Connelly, BDS.

The group observed clients assembling Electrolux fans and learned about the programs and services offered by SCVRD.

Summer transition at the Bryant Center

During the Bryant Center’s summer transition program, students participated in physical therapy, general exercise, occupational therapy, and transition activities.

The students pictured are actively participating in physical exercise, occupational therapy assessments, and activities involving counting money and calculating change.

Client recognition in Rock Hill

The Rock Hill Area Office held its first Client Recognition Ceremony on July 3rd and a second on August 13. The events celebrated the individual achievements of clients currently in the Work Training Center.

Counselors and WTC staff collaborated on client recognition in areas such as “Most Improved,” “Perfect Attendance,” “Self-Development” and “Excellent Productivity.”

“The ceremony gave the clients a sense of accomplishment,” says Jon Robinson, WTC Manager. “It allowed them to be recognized in front of their peers and gave others something to look forward to.”

The monthly event will serve as a form of recognition in addition to the JRT Standards of Excellence Certificate. The goal is to foster a sense of accomplishment, self-motivation, and encouragement among clients.

Q Quotes

Excellence is not an act, it’s a habit.


Did you know...

that 64 percent of SCVRD’s successfully rehabilitated clients work 35 or more hours per week? That compares with 48 percent nationally and 53 percent in the Southeast region. SCVRD ranks sixth nationally.


October 2, 8am-6pm - Fall Back to Work Job Fair. Held in partnership with SC Works. Location: SC Works McAlister Square, 225 S. Pleasantburg Drive, Greenville, 29607. 864-467-8080.
October 2 - Greenville Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 BBQ Bash. Held at Hartness Estates. This event celebrates upstate manufacturers.
November 8 - 7th Annual Run for Thought at Conestee Park. This is a 5K trail run and 1 mile walk/run to benefit the Brain Injury Association of SC.
  For more information, call 864-297-3066
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
October 10 - Open House.
  For more information, call 843-479-8318 or 800-849-4878
October 15 - Open House.
  For more information, call 864-984-6563 or 866-443-0103
October 15 - Disability Mentoring Day luncheon.
October 29 - Open House.
  For more information, call 803-469-2960
October 22 - Open House.
  For more information, call 843-332-2262
October 22 - Disability Mentoring Day.
October 23 - Open House.
  For more information, call 803-896-6333 or 866-206-5184
October 22 - Open House.
  For more information, call 843-538-3116 or 888-577-3549
October 23 - Disability Mentoring Day.
October 24 - Open House.
  For more information, call 864-224-6391
October 24 - Open House.
November 6 - Health Screening by Mackey Family Practice.
  For more information, call 803-285-6909
October 28 - Open House.
  For more information, call 864-489-9954 or 866-451-1481
October 29 - Open House.
  For more information, call 843-522-1010
October 29 - Open House.
  For more information, call 864-882-6669 or 866-313-0082
October 30 - Open House.
  For more information, call 843-354-5252
October 30 - Open House.
  For more information, call 864-585-3693 or 866-451-1480

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.