VR3: Making a Difference
Vocational Rehabilitation, Lets go to work
Q1, Quality One, Quality happens one person at a time
VR3  Ready...Reliable...Results May 2016

Bridge to excellence; DDS PRIDE awards

More than 200 Disability Determination Services (DDS) employees from around the state converged on Columbia for the annual DDS PRIDE Awards Ceremony on April 7 to celebrate outstanding staff achievements throughout the state.

PRIDE (People Responsibly Influencing Decisional Excellence), which began in the Social Security Administration Atlanta Regional Office in 1985, recognizes the positive contributions made by DDS employees through a regional award and recognition program.

“This was an opportunity not only to recognize individuals and groups for their accomplishments, but to acknowledge those who excelled in service and humanitarian efforts,” says Anne Mayo, Senior Manager of Operations at DDS.

Each nominee and winner exemplifies customer service, forward thinking and dedication to their job. DDS staff were recognized for their work both within the agency and their community, including exceptional leadership; helping to provide interpretive services so that a claimant could receive a needed consultative examination; improving the quality of training; and streamlining procedures to reduce confusion and improve case processing time.

“Collectively, the recipients of the annual PRIDE awards epitomize qualities which enable us to serve our citizens with effectiveness and compassion,” says Mayo.

This year, DDS added a new award, the Maria Terese Pierce Award, also known as the Director’s Award. This award recognizes an employee’s spirit of selfless dedication and commitment to serve, inspire, and persevere under extraordinary circumstances. It was established in memory of Maria Terese Pierce, a former employee of the Office of State Claims.

Congratulations to the following winners of the SC DDS 2016 PRIDE awards!

Office of State Claims Excellence Award
Jeri Parker - Columbia DDS

Support Person of the Year
Cassie Keeton - Charleston DDS

Staff Person of the Year
Joey Finlay - Greenville DDS

Examiner of the Year
Andrew Lawley - Charleston DDS

Rookie Examiner of the Year
Courtney Cherry - Charleston DDS

Medical Consultant of the Year
Dr. Craig Horn - Greenville DDS

Staff Supervisor of the Year
Liz Costello - Greenville DDS

Case Processing Supervisor of the Year
Teresa London - Columbia DDS

Mary Simmons Special Acts of Service Award
Sylvie Hasapis, Candy Harmon - Charleston DDS

Thomas M. Leahy Creative Achievement Award
Dr. Angela Saito - Charleston DDS
Failure to Cooperate Desk Aid Workgroup (Front row: Gail Davis, Summer Ham, Nena Vincent. Back row: Shirley Jarrett, DDS Director; Melissa Goeringer; Susan Vlahos) - Greenville DDS

Carl Fullbright/Robert R. Hinrichs Humanitarian Award
Justin Murray - Charleston DDS

Maria Terese Pierce Award
Charity Boozer - Columbia DDS

The winners will represent South Carolina at the Atlanta Region 2016 PRIDE Awards later this year.

PRIDE began in the Atlanta Regional Office in 1985, recognizing the positive contributions made by DDS employees through an annual, regional award and recognition program. The Atlanta Region includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia,Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Regional DDS Pride winners for 2015

South Carolina Disability Determination Services employees won in five out of ten categories at the Social Security Administration Atlanta Region’s yearly PRIDE awards.

The Atlanta Region encompasses eight Southeastern states. DDS offices in each state select local PRIDE winners in ten categories. The regional winners are then chosen from the local winners in each state.

Congratulations to the following winners of the Atlanta Region 2015 PRIDE awards!

Robert Hinrichs Humanitarian Award
Rosalyn Porterfield - Charleston DDS

Mary Simmons Special Act of Service Award
Deidre Fulmer - Columbia DDS

Rookie Examiner of the Year
Heather Appel - Greenville DDS

Case Processing Supervisor of the Year
Allen Cooper - Greenville DDS

Thomas M. Leahy Creative Achievement Award
Assistance Request Workgroup (Columbia DDS): Sherrie Cathcart, Taji Caughman, Cyndi Crolley, Teresa Dorman, Deidre Fulmer, Natasha Mitchell, Missouri Moultrie, Marianne Phillips

Photo: Front row (left to right): Taji Caughman, Cyndi Crolley, Deidre Fulmer, Natasha Mitchell. Back row (left to right): Sherrie Cathcart, Missouri Moultrie, Marianne Phillips. Not pictured: Teresa Dorman.

Around the state


Photo: Clayton Cooper (left) and Jackson Reed, students from Williston Elko High School, recently spent a day touring and shadowing at the Bridgestone Aiken County Off Road Tire Plant in Aiken. They are standing in front of the largest manufactured radial tire in the world, which is made at this plant. The students met with different employees to discuss steps for employment. The day was facilitated by Business Development Specialist (BDS) Freddie Boan and Transition Counselor Melody Boyd.


During their spring break, High School/High Tech students (HS/HT) from Hillcrest, Woodmont, and Greenville Technical Charter High Schools participated in a tour of Super Duper Publications. Students enjoyed seeing the various operations, learned about the technology and many different career opportunities available in the publications and communications field, and also had the opportunity to speak with editors, designers, account managers, pickers and packers.

Photo (front row, left to right): Transition Counselors Chris Utsey and Latoya Downs; parent Robyn Connelly; and HS/HT Transition Counselor Virginia D’Alessandro.


Greenville Area Supervisor David Turnipseed, BDS Bernard Jones, and Counselor Rebecca Frank attended the DSS Upstate Spring Fling Event at Marathon Church on April 14 to discuss Job Retention Services. More than 200 people attended the event where they interacted with more than 50 service vendors.


The Greenville Area Office hosted a hiring event on April 27 which featured an array of diverse employers including Bi-Lo; Embassy Suites; Taco Bell; Chili’s; Defender Services; Waffle House; Ashmore Brothers, Inc.; WIS International; Omnisource Staffing; WorkSmart Staffing; and CompX National.


Clients from the Conway Area office recently spent two days at Worksman Cycles, a bicycle manufacturing company which opened their second factory in Conway this year. They participated in tryouts for wheel building and wheel hub spoking positions.

The clients learned the wheel building process and then each built three wheels. Those that did well have been asked to return for a second tryout and an interview.

Worksman Cycles does all of the machine operations, welding, painting, wheel building and final assembly of its bicycles in its New York and Conway factories.


More than 100 junior and senior students from Blacksburg and Gaffney high schools recently attended the “Life after High School” workshop at the Broad River Electric Cooperative where they explored career and post secondary education options available to them upon graduation.

The students interacted with representatives from 911 Dispatch, The Big E, Dollar General Distribution, Spartanburg Emergency Medical Service, Food Lion, Limestone College, SC Works, Spartanburg Community College, Staffmark (Belk Distribution Center), Wells Fargo, York Technical College, and Zaxby’s.


The Walterboro Area Office held a lunch and learn for the Colleton County Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, April 13. Representatives from Agape Hospice, Pruitt Health, Dayco, Colleton Medical Center, Grasshopper Clean Upper, Enterprise Bank, The Press and Standard, and the Chamber President discussed business partnerships and community business needs.


Photo: One hundred eighty-two job seekers and forty-three vendors participated in the Marlboro Area Office Job Fair held at the Bennettsville Community Center on April 13.


The Williamsburg Area Office hosted a Lunch and Learn at C. E. Murray High School on April 12 to share success stories and discuss ways to improve referrals. To improve engagement with parents and teachers, the Williamsburg Office is collaborating with schools in Williamsburg County and Lower Florence County area to participate in school registration, In-Service days, and parent-teacher meetings.

Photo (left to right): Allen Keels, Principal; Cynthia Cooper, Guidance Counselor; Jannice Gamble, VR VACE/TASC Instructor; Cautha Sabb, Teacher; Barbara Wilson, Teacher; Kenndra Brown, VR Counselor; Anthony Cameron, Teacher.


Williamsburg VR staff spoke about VR’s mission and purpose at the monthly Williamsburg Interagency Meeting on April 21. The Williamsburg Interagency is a collaborative effort to get agencies, both for-profit and non-profit, together to share information and resources in the community.


The Williamsburg Area Office hosted a counterpart meeting with the Williamsburg County Department of Social Services (DSS) on April 13. The purpose of this counterpart meeting was to collaborate with each other in order to better serve the residents of Williamsburg County.

Barbara Parrott, Williamsburg Co. DSS Director, and thirteen staff members learned about the variety of VR services available.

Photo: Jannice Gamble, VACES/TASC Instructor; Preese Abraham, VR Counselor and DSS liaison; Barbara Parrott, DSS Director; Teresa Moses, Area Supervisor.

VR website recognized for quality, ease of use and value to SC citizens

VR’S website recently received one of ten Notable State Documents Awards for 2015 from the SC State Library (SCSL).

This annual award recognizes the state government publications of outstanding merit and usefulness to the citizens of South Carolina.

A panel of librarians and state employees selected the documents, grading the publications based on their designs, writing styles, and breadth of information. The judges chose a diverse group of documents for recognition, including a brochure detailing a historical battle and two well-designed websites.

“South Carolina state documents provide a wealth of information, statistics, and share a broad range of knowledge about our state,” says Leesa Aiken, SCSL Acting Director. “I am pleased that we are able to publicly recognize these important publications and websites as notable documents and it is my hope that all South Carolina state agencies continue to produce high quality documents such as these.”

Photo (left to right): Darline Graham Nordone, Public Information Director; Mark Gamble, Media Resource Consultant; Matt Daugherty, Resource Specialist; Neal Getsinger, Commissioner; Mark Wade, Assistant Commissioner; Leesa Aiken, Acting Director, SCSL.

Q Stories

The Williamsburg Area Office participated in the Spring Career Fair at Williamsburg Technical College on Thursday, April 21. A number of VR clients attended as part of Job Placement and Career Club activities.

James Bostic, Director of Workforce Development at Williamsburg Technical College expressed his appreciation for VR’s assistance and support. “Thank you and your staff from SCVRD for making the Spring Career Fair a success. [Your] amazing staff members demonstrated their professionalism at the highest level during yesterday’s event. They were definitely a pleasure to work with.”

Photo: Preese Abraham, VR Counselor; James Bostic, Director of Workforce Development at Williamsburg Technical College; Lorie Matthews, VR Counselor.

Did you know...

...that the Federal Trade Commission and Social Security Administration (SSA) are warning consumers that scammers are trying to get personal information from people by pretending to help with applications for disability benefits and claims. The callers are hoping that you’ll give them information like your Social Security or bank account numbers over the phone.

If you receive a call from someone you don’t know offering to help you with your application for disability benefits, contact the SSA Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271 (TTY: 1-866-501-2101).

For more information, visit identitytheft.gov


Lyman (Bryant Center)

June 6 - The Bryant Center is accepting referrals for its two-week Summer Transition Program. Students attending each session will participate in physical therapy or exercise; take part in simulated work experiences and learn independent living skills through occupational therapy; enhance leadership, teamwork and communication skills; explore careers and post-secondary interests; and engage in mock interviews and other job preparedness activities.

Sessions will meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9am-1pm.

Students and recent graduates who are interested in attending should contact their VR counselor.

For more details, download the flyer.

June 6-17 - Session 1.
July 11-22 - Session 2.
August 1-12 - Session 3.
  For more information, call 864-249-8030 or 888-322-9391
Comprehensive Evaluation Center

June 13 - Learn leadership, teamwork, communication, self-advocacy and other skills while exploring career and college options at the two week Summer Transition Evaluation Program for Students (STEPS). Build your strength and stamina, gain independent living skills and participate in simulated work experiences. Two sessions are available. Each is different, to meet the different needs of our students:

Students who are interested in attending should contact their VR counselor.

Otherwise, to refer a student, complete a referral form (#204) and indicate which session is preferred.

For more details, download the flyer.

June 13-24 - Session 1: STEPS. For students transitioning to college or technical schools.
June 27-July 8* - Session 1: STEPS. For students transitioning to college or technical schools.
July 11-22 - Session 2: STEPS. For students transitioning to work.
July 25-August 5* - Session 2: STEPS. For students transitioning to work.
  * Session availability dependent on enrollment.
  For more information, contact Ali Cato at 803-896-6040
May 3 - Job Fair.
  For more information, call 843-740-1600
May 3 - Community Meet and Greet to introduce new staff to community and business partners.
  For more information, call 843-740-1600
May 4 - ServSafe Training & Certification. Clients will learn basic food safety practices for preparing and serving food. ServSafe is a food and beverage safety training and certificate program administered by the National Restaurant Association. The program is accredited by American National Standards Institute and the Conference for Food Protection.
May 21 - The Aiken Area Office will participate in the Aiken Electric Cooperative’s Annual Meeting.
  For more information, call 803-641-7630 or 800-861-9410
May 12 - Lunch and Learn.
  For more information, call 864-489-9954 or 866-451-1481
May 12 - High School/High Tech Senior Recognition Day at Greenwood High School.
May 17 - High School/High Tech Senior Recognition Day at Emerald High School.
  For more information, call 864-229-5827 or 866-443-0162
May 12 - Jonesville Meet and Greet at the Janesville Office to welcome new counselors to the community.
May 12 - SPICE (Self Paced In Class Education) Graduation.
May 19, 8:30am - Spartanburg Area Office will be hosting the Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors Meeting.
May 19, 11:30am - Spartanburg Work Training Center “End of the Year Bash” for students from all Spartanburg school districts.
May 19, 6pm-8pm - Spartanburg Transition Alliance Parent Night.
May 23 - 2016 Project Search Graduation at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center.
May 26 - Spartanburg Area Bounce Back event. Bounce Back is an information program to educate and inform clients with criminal backgrounds on how to move forward and the resources available to help them.
  For more information, call 864-585-3693 or 866-451-1480
May 13 - Senior Celebration at the Hartsville VR Office. Local technical colleges will be present for a student question and answer time.
  For more information, call 843-332-2262
May 17 - Graduating Seniors event. Seniors will celebrate completion of school, cover next steps with VR support, and schedule follow up meetings as they prepare to enter the world of work or post-secondary training.
  For more information, call 803-276-8438
May 11 - Project SEARCH Parent/Student Night. Welcoming new parents and students into Project SEARCH.
May 18 - Bounce Back event. Bounce Back is an information program to educate and inform clients with criminal backgrounds on how to move forward and the resources available to help them.
  For more information, call 803-896-6333 or 866-206-5184
May 21 - Members of the Greenville Area Office (known as the VR Valiant Rabblerousers) will participate in a team walk at Furman University as part of NAMIWalks. NAMIWalks is a public display of support for people with mental health challenges, changing how Americans view mental illness, improving lives and our communities one step at a time.
  For more information, call 864-297-3066

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 29170.
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.