VR3: Making a Difference
Q1, Quality One, Quality happens one person at a time
VR3  Ready...Reliable...Results March 2015

Schaeffer honored with SSA Commissioner’s Citation

Nancy Schaeffer, SSA Commissioner’s Citation recipient.

Nancy Schaeffer is the South Carolina recipient of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Commissioner’s Citation Honor Award for 2014.

“The Commissioner's Citation is SSA's highest honor award,” says Shirley Jarrett, DDS Director. “It is presented to those employees who have demonstrated a personal commitment to excellence and who have made exceptional contributions to our agency's mission and goals.”

“I'm honored to work with such a wonderful team,” says Schaeffer. “Everything that we do is to serve our claimants. We each go about it in different ways depending on our job, but together, we all process disability claims in a timely, efficient manner.”

“I am so proud of her,” says Jarrett. “She is such a dedicated and outstanding employee and she is well deserving of this honor.”

Schaeffer has been an Analyst for DDS since August of 2006. Her background in psychology, teaching, and computer systems has made her a great asset to DDS. She is known for her warm spirit, willingness to help and her desire to provide the best possible customer service.

She credits her coworkers with much of her success. “The people who surround me make me confident that I can do well in different opportunities.”

She wears many hats, organizing and conducting computer and software training; assisting the IT staff with system issues; and troubleshooting, testing and writing enhancements for the legacy system.

During New Employee Orientation, she provides a philosophical overview of DDS, and she regularly serves with VR’s Program Evaluation as a Data Analyst, helping to find trends, creates charts, and translate numbers into meaningful words. Getting to “see both sides of the house” gives her a valuable insight into the agency.

“It’s important not only to understand our mission,” she says, “but to live our mission, and be a part of something that is bigger than one individual.”

In December 2012, Schaeffer graduated with honors at the top of her class from the Lean Six Sigma Program. During her training, she completed a project that involved gathering nine months of DDS claim data, process improvement and data analysis. Successful Lean Six Sigma projects usually show a 30% process improvement. Schaeffer’s project results demonstrated an impressive 83% process improvement. Upon graduation, she was Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certified and now serves as a mentor for Lean Six Sigma.

Whether she is training on a new system release or analyzing an adjudicative process to gain efficiency, Schaeffer is always working with a smile.

“We have a great team of people here,” she says. “I’m really proud to be a part of DDS and VR.”

Around the state

Langton wins leadership award

Belinda Langton (left), SCVRD’s director of staff development and training, was honored as winner of the Otis A. Corbitt Leadership and Community Service Award from the South Carolina Action Council for Cross Cultural Mental Health and Human Services.

Nadine Livingston, the conference chairperson and a board member, presented the award at the 37th Annual Cross Cultural Conference in Myrtle Beach in February. Langton has provided leadership as a member of the council’s board of directors and in planning its events.

True holiday spirit

The holiday months were busy, fun and, above all, generous at the Columbia DDS. With two months of fundraising events, the DDS raised more than $5,000 to help support several neighborhood charities, in addition to funding various employee well-being and team building activities within the agency.

The fun began with an agency wide Carolina-Clemson challenge. Spirit gear was hauled into the office and decorated the halls as well as some employees. Clemson won this year—both the challenge and the football game—but everyone got into the spirit of giving.

This event was followed by a Thanksgiving bake sale. Staff also provided Christmas gifts and gift cards for two families with children with disabilities through the Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital Adopt-A-Family program. One family had three members and the other nine family members, including the grandmother. Additionally, seven women and two twin girls at the Columbia Women’s shelter were given assistance. By the end of the program, a large pile of colorfully decorated gifts filled the lobby. In addition, a very successful and well-enjoyed silent auction raised over $800 to help buy gift cards for the families and for women in The Women’s Shelter.

In the midst of all this, a Winter Blanket Drive brought in forty blankets, which were donated to the Oliver Gospel Mission.

The incredibly energetic and generous staff of the Columbia DDS was rewarded with a delicious holiday lunch. It was truly a season of giving.

Heart healthy in Beaufort

February was American Heart Health Awareness Month and the Beaufort Area Office celebrated by wearing red and sponsoring a “Heart Healthy” Luncheon on February 13.

The luncheon was coordinated by staff members, Teresa Drayton, Janie Armstrong, Vonetta Williams and Gregory Bruemmer. The luncheon featured heart healthy options, including salads; chicken cooked with ground flax seeds, chai seeds, olive oil, and parsley; jerk chicken; avocado; hummus; fresh fruits and vegitables; ginger water; and even healthy chocolate.

The event kicked off with a Healthy Heart quiz and healthy recipes were handed out for the staff to try at home.

Photo (seated l to r): Joycestean Pringle, Deborah Newman, Michelle Hannah, Heather Steele, Karen Hinen, Carmen Pirtle. (standing l to r): Patricia Green, Teresa Drayton, Latoshia Manigo, Raymond Glover, Gregory Bruemmer, Mark Houseman.

Anderson client recognized

Troy Neal is the Anderson office’s first recipient of the Building and Grounds Training Program Certificate. He successfully completed the program under the tutelage of Mike Brown.

Photo (l to r): Richard Hall, Job Readiness Training Coordinator; Troy Neal, VR client; Mike Brown, Maintenance Specialist; David Gustafson, counselor.

Job readiness recognition in Greenville

The Greenville office resently presented Job Readiness Training Certificates of Achievement to VR clients who have successfully demonstrated fundamental job readiness skills and traits.

Photo (l to r): Paul Mears, Director of Work Training Center Services; Vaneasha Danzy, Counselor; VR clients Joshua Bailey, Ja Von Williams, Susan Butler and Eddie Wright; Mike Laney, Center Manager.

Q Quotes

Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality.

—Ralph Marston, writer

Did you know...

...that South Carolina DDS had a documentation accuracy rate of 98 percent last year, which exceeded both national and regional averages for disability determination agencies?


March 4, 9am-11:30am - The Business Partner Expo will introduce current and potential business partners to VR and the services we provide. Attendees will tour our facility, and learn about our capabilities and how we may be able to meet their needs.
April 25 - The Aiken Electric Cooperative will host Run United 2015 to benefit the United Way of Aiken County and its partner agencies. The Aiken Office will be one of 13 partner agencies represented at the run (an agency will be represented at each mile marker).
  For more information, call 803-641-7630 or 800-861-9410
March 4 - The Lancaster Area Office is hosting a BounceBack seminar for individuals with criminal backgrounds, which is designed to help them learn more about available community resources. In addition to discussing employment tips and strategies, guest speakers from local agencies will provide information to assist the individual in returning to the work force.
  For more information, call 803-285-6909
March 10 - Gaffney Job Fair.
March 12 - Spartanburg Job Fair.
March 17 - “Life After High School” for transition students will be held at the Broad River Electric Auditorium, 811 Hamrick Street, Gaffney, SC, 29342.
  For more information, call 864-585-3693 or 866-451-1480
March 26, 9am-4pm - SC Assistive Technology Expo 2015 at Brookland Banquet and Conference Center, 1066 Sunset Blvd, West Columbia. Find out more.
  For more information, call 800-915-4522
April 16, from 6-7:30pm - The Oconee office is assisting the Transition Planning Cooperative Community Outreach Committee in hosting a Community Services and Resource Fair for parents, students, teachers, and other community members. Attendees will learn about the services available to transition students and have a chance to meet with community partners. The event will be held at the Gignilliat Community Center in Seneca.
  For more information, call 864-882-6669 or 866-313-0082

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.