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

Summer filled with opportunity for students

How to start a small business, leadership skills, job interviewing, self confidence. These are some of the things more than 150 students from around the state learned at VR over the summer.

Many students participated in team building, career exploration and job preparedness classes. Several offices held Dress for Success events, hosting fashion shows and teaching students how to best present themselves at job interviews.

Touring colleges and universities provided students with information and resources they can utilize as they pursue post secondary education.

Employers spoke about what they look for in successful employees. Visits to businesses as diverse as MTU Detroit Diesel (which manufactures Rolls Royce engines) and The Local Buzz (a family owned, kid-friendly coffee cafe) introduced students to a variety of vocations and provided them with behind the scenes looks at careers such as an electromagnetic engineering, farming, veterinarian, and event planning and management.

View the slide show below to learn more about how students from around the state spent their summer.

VR summer slide show

Many businesses around the state partnered with VR to provide a variety of engaging opportunities for students this summer.
Aiken Summer Institute
Students learn about personal protective equipment and teamwork in a manufacturing environment.
Aiken Summer Institute
Students toured MTU Detroit Diesel, Inc. and learned how Rolls Royce engines that are used in trains and Israeli tanks are manufactured.
Front row (left to right): Nechyna Carter, Selena Brannum, Annette Baker, LaShawn Chinn. Back row: Bobby Livingston, James Eubanks, Jonathan Bodiford, Will Cato, Wayne Driggers, Marquis Brooks, Zee Seago, Zakary Simmons.
Aiken Summer Institute
Aiken Summer Institute students learn about the Rolls Royce engines manufactured at MTU Detroit Diesel.
Aiken Summer Institute
Students view and learn about the Rolls Royce Engines that are used in trains and Israeli tanks. These engines are produced at MTU Detroit Diesel, Inc.
Students in the Midlands participated in the Summer Transition Evaluation Program for Students (STEPS) at the VR Evaluation Center in West Columbia.
Evaluation Center STEPS
This student faced her fear of heights on the “Cat Walk” at the Wil Lou Gray Ropes Course.
Evaluation Center STEPS
Another student climbed higher than she thought she could at Ropes Course.
Evaluation Center STEPS
Students challenged themselves and learned teamwork at the Wil Lou Gray Ropes Course.
Evaluation Center STEPS
A student fist bumps Vocational ACE Brittany Jenson after challenging himself on the Ropes Course.
Evaluation Center STEPS
Staff walk the runway during a Dress for Success Fashion show. Students rated each staff member for their, appearance, dress and overall presentation.
Evaluation Center STEPS
Students point out the fashion faux pas made by a VR staff member during the Dress for Success Fashion Show.
Evaluation Center STEPS
Students take a behind the scenes tour of the Lexington County Baseball Stadium. They learned about the variety of jobs at the stadium, what’s involved in hosting a minor league baseball team, and other non-obvious ways the stadium serves the community.
Evaluation Center STEPS
After the tour, students had fun meeting Blowie (right), the Lexington Blowfish mascot.
Evaluation Center STEPS
Students learn about the day-to-day operation of Pets, Inc.
Evaluation Center STEPS
STEPS students learn about the day-to-day operation of Pets, Inc.
Evaluation Center STEPS
A student who has difficulty communicating verbally types a question on her iPad for the Pets Inc. staff.
Evaluation Center STEPS, Session 2
Students learn about the challenges involved in opening and owning a small business from Stephanie Bridgers, owner of The Local Buzz.
Evaluation Center STEPS, Session 2
Stephanie Bridgers (right), owner of The Local Buzz, teaches students baking techniques and shows how she markets each days baked goods using social media.
Lexington Summer Institute
Students visited City Roots where they toured the three acre farm and learned about field crops, greenhouse microgreens, beekeeping, aquaponics and the variety of career opportunities available on a farm.
Left to right: Sade Pugh, Counselor; James Blake; Robbie Radcliff; Kayla Ford, Counselor; Robbie McClam, City Roots Owner/Founder; Jacob Rice; Anthony Scott; Jaheim Gleaton; Timothy Blane Russell, Jr., Truck Driver; Antwan Middleton, Counselor.
Lexington Summer Institute
Students visiting the Richland County Sheriff’s Department learned about career opportunities in law enforcement.
Left to right: James Blake; Jaheim Gleaton; Robbie Radcliff; Brittian L. Gadson; Leon Lott, Richland County Sheriff; Anthony Scott; Devaney Johnson; Jacob Rice.
Lexington Summer Institute
Students tour Harvest Hope Food Bank.
Bryant Center Summer Transition Program
Forty-two Upstate students participated in the Summer Transition Program at VR’s Bryant Center in Lyman.
Bryant Center Summer Transition Program
Students Skylar Norton and Immanuel Martinez participate in a work simulation under th guiadance of Tanya Lambert, Occupational Therapist.
Bryant Center Summer Transition Program
Heather Tucker, student engages in a job preparedness activity.
Bryant Center Summer Transition Program, Session 1
Front row (left to right): Erik Hackney; Allen “Trey” Bridwell; Zachary Gibson; Brandon Loncke; Gracie Harris; Hollie Bass; Erica Lewis. Back row: William Hicks; Preston Foster; Xavien Miller; Jameris Shippy, Ray Ruiz; Dyquan Collins; Ward Gray, Physical Therapy Assistant; Tanya Lambert, Occupational Therapist; Jennifer Matthews, Occupational Therapy Intern; Julie Atkins, Area Client Services Manager; Iyonia Simmons, Counselor.
Bryant Center Summer Transition Program, Session 2
Front row (left to right): Rebecca Crichlow; Justin Holland; Jennifer Hawn; Allison Salmen, Occupational Therapy Assistant; Heather Tucker; Arkeem Moore; Tyler Nichols. Middle row: Taylor Lydakis; John Connelly; Deandre Sharpe; Damian Guin; Skylar Norton; Andrew Sanders; Madison Brown; Kadaja Wilson; Tiffany Franklin; Sebastian Kirkland; Iyonia Simmons, Transition Counselor. Back row: Ward Gray, Physical Therapy Assistant; James Jones; Immanuel Martinez; William Nesbitt; Zachary O’Conner; Bryce Mitchell; Jacob Spruill; Julie Atkins, Area Client Services Manager.
Sumter Summer Institute
Students Deshawn Dicks (left) and Tyreek Brunson participate in Dress for Success at Mayo’s Suit City. They are learning how to tie a basic knot, a Half Windsor Knot, and the full Windsor knot.
Sumter Summer Institute
Grant Watson, sales associate at Mayo’s Suit City in Sumter, discusses appropriate colors to wear, how to choose a suit, and when to wear a suit and tie for an interview.
Walterboro Summer Institute
Students from three Walterboro high schools challenged themselves at the Wil Lou Gray Ropes Course. They learned self confidence, how to work together in teams, and supported each other as they accomplished the many challenges of the Ropes Course.
Front row (left to right): Faith Thompson; Lynn Marcom, Counselor; Rachel Cope; Jennifer Crabtree; Alyssa Frick; Devante Singletary; Darrell Thomas. Back row: Michael Williams; Messiah Thomas; Antwain Frederick.
Walterboro Summer Institute
Darrell Thomas (left) and Messiah Thomas (right) work together on team building and leadership exercises with Mark Ready, Wil Lou Gray Guidance Counselor.
Walterboro Summer Institute
Students challenged themselves and encouraged each other as they climbed the 40 foot tower to use the zip line.
Florence Summer Institute
Students who toured Otis Elevator in Florence were fascinated to learn how elevators are designed, manufactured and installed.
Front row (left to right): Savannah Dynan, VR Transition Counselor Xavier Sams, Meronica Williams, Alexus Backus. Back row: OTIS Mechanical Engineer Paula Bryant, Jasmine McCray, Kelleigh Coleman, Mary Smith, Jonathan Strait, Kanisha Cain, Keshawn Milling, D’Airah Hooks, OTIS Industrial Engineer Intern Megan Torbenson, OTIS Executive Administrative Assistant Benzene Shells.
Florence Summer Institute
ScienceSouth conducted a hands-on electromagnetic engineering activity: building brush bots.
Florence Summer Institute
High School / High Tech students build brush bots using rubber bands, a AA battery, a nail brush, a small motor, and a glue stick. Students were excited to discover how the brush bot’s construction and weight caused its movement.
Florence Summer Institute
Students use marshmallows and spaghetti noodles to construct buildings. In this team building STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activity learned how the different lengths of noodles affected the stability of their buildings.
Florence Summer Institute
Students touring General Electric saw how MRI machines are constructed and learned how superconducting magnets make these machines economical to operate.
Left to right: GE Advanced Manufacturing Engineer Derrick Shaw, GE Process Engineer Jameka Sims, Meronica Williams, Alexus Backus, GE Materials Team Leader Lindsey Odom, Mary Smith, Kar’Nisha Benjamin, Kelleigh Coleman, VR Transition Counselor Xavier Sams, Jasmine McCray, D’Airah Hooks, Kanisha Cain, Jarell Johnson, Keshawn Milling, Christopher Jones, Dillon Transition Coach Melissa Dunson, Jonathan Strait, GE Process Engineer Nehemiah Stephens.
Berkeley-Dorchester Summer Institute
Tanisha Hook (left) and Mitchell Harp, both from Trident Technical College (TTC), discuss apprenticeship programs available at TTC.
Berkeley-Dorchester Summer Institute
Andrew Bryan, an instructor from Robert Bosch, talks about Bosch’s apprenticeship programs while leading students through hand-on activities.
Charleston Summer Institute
Students learn about apprenticeships at Trident Technical College.
Charleston Summer Institute
Students engage in mock job interviews.
Charleston Summer Institute
Staff members (left to right): Spencer Bobian, VR High School/High Tech Counselor; Laquilla Sirmans, Administrative Team Support Specialist; Christopher Faulk, Vocational Ace.

Around the state

Business leaders and lawmakers learn about VR success in Oconee-Pickens

VR hosted and was showcased at an Oconee Economic Alliance luncheon. Business leaders learned about VR services and heard the compelling story of former client Kendra Echols.

Read about this very successful event as featured in the July 6 issue of The Journal, Seneca’s daily newspaper.

BDS participates in Leadership Laurens County

Photo: Business Development Specialist Byron Smith (front row, second from left) recently graduated from Leadership Laurens County. Leadership Laurens County is a program to develop a corps of informed committees and qualified individuals capable of providing dynamic leadership to Laurens County.

Former VR clients chosen as Walmart Employees of the Month

Photo: Two former Lancaster VR clients have been chosen as Employee of the Month at Walmart: Tyler Hinson, left, for the month of June and Andre Martin for the month of July. Both work as Courtesy Associates and "love their jobs and working for Walmart".

Richland office strengthens partnerships with local employers

Photo Gallery

Franklin Morton (left) and Shaina Lockhart (right) from the Columbia Marriott Human Resources Department; Stacy Lever, Richland Area Supervisor.
Lizzeth Hensley (left) and Markos Young (right) from the McEntire Produce Human Resources Department; Stacy Lever, Richland Area Supervisor.
Pat Lee (left), Administrator, Pruitt Health-Columbia; Stacy Lever, Richland Area Supervisor.

The Richland Business Partnership Network (BPN) recently recognized several local employers for their participation in the office’s Quarterly Talent Fair. The Talent Fair resulted in a number of VR clients being hired into competitive employment.

The Richland staff spent a great deal of time engaging with each business to identify their workforce needs, understand their culture, and learn their hiring processes. This, in turn, helped them identify and match talented candidates to a variety of job opportunities. Staff continue to engage with the employers to ensure each candidates’ success and to explore future employment opportunities. The staff embraces the attitude “We succeed when our clients succeed and strong partnerships with employers are key to such success.”

Spartanburg recognizes student graduates

Photo Gallery

Broome High School
Left to right: Student Bryce Mitchell; Caroline Rogers, VR Counselor; stuents Chris Nance and Tylon Mills; Kevin Phillips, Spartanburg School District 3 Job Coach.
Students from Byrnes High School.
Chesnee High School
Nikki Robinson, VR Job Coach; Anne Ensley, VR Counselor; students Mason Foster and Jeremiah Collins; Libby Gurley, Spartanburg School District 2 Job Coach.
Dorman High School.
Barbara Rhodes, VR Counselor; Sam Napier, Project SEARCH Instructor; Nikki Robinson, VR Job Coach; student; Hilary Wells, VR Project SEARCH Job Coach; Susan McAbee, Spartanburg School District 6 Job Coach; studens Kwamell Evans, Benaja Means, Tyler Williams, Stephanie Bush Chastain, Special Education Director, Spartanburg School District 6; Jarvis Jones, student.
Spartanburg VR staff.

Photos from the graduation celebration at the Spartanburg Work Training Center in May for students who are VR clients.

Williamsburg Community Career Fair

More than 150 clients and visitors attended the Williamsburg Office Community Career Fair on June 29, where they interacted with twenty employers and representatives from local training programs and resources such as SC Works and the Williamsburg County Emergency Operation Center.

A technology industry representative stated, “This is the best career fair I have been to in this area.”

Photo: Joseph Anthony, Rehabilitation Technology Engineer, discusses VR services with a guest at the Community Resource Fair in Williamsburg.

#InclusionWorks is the theme for National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Reflecting the important role disability plays in workforce diversity, this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) theme is “#InclusionWorks.” Each October, NDEAM celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and educates about the value of a diverse workforce inclusive of their skills and talents.

The 2016 NDEAM poster, along with other resources, is now available for download.

Q Quotes

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.

—Albert Einstein

Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.

—Louis Pasteur

Did you know...

...that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensures that students with a disability are provided with Free Appropriate Education (FAPE) that is tailored to their individual needs?

For more information visit idea.ed.gov or disability.gov.


August 8 - High School/High Tech Summer Transition Tour of the Walgreens Distribution Center in Anderson.
  For more information, call 864-984-6563 or 866-443-0103
August 4, 12 noon - College Back to School Lunch and Learn. The disability services coordinators from each of Spartanburg colleges will be in attendance. Tina Vires, Program Director of Winthrop University’s Office of Disability Services, and Andrea Allison, Director for Accessibility and PALS at Limestone College, will speak on their collaboration with VR. Tracy Manning, VR Counselor, will discuss services available to students and the referral process.
  For more information, call 864-585-3693 or 866-451-1480
August 10-11 - Summer Institute. Guest speakers will expose students to community resources and career opportunities. Additionally, students will tour several local businesses.
  For more information, call 864-489-9954 or 866-451-1481

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

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