Category Archives: News Archives

Employment training conference brings ‘Carnival of Careers’ to Andalusia (photo gallery + video)

Students listen during a session at the employment conference

The Covington County Committee on Employment of Persons with Disabilities (CCCEPD) hosted its 11th annual Employment Training Conference for area youth April 11 in Andalusia. The one-day training connected more than 240 high school students with disabilities from 10 area schools with different and exciting employment opportunities to explore and expand their horizons within the community. Jobs in public service were a focus in this

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Kids Wish Network honors Tuscaloosa CRS consumer (photo gallery)

Hero of the Month graphic w/ photo of Ashlyn with cheerleaders

Ashlyn Wilson, a CRS consumer from Tuscaloosa, was named April’s Hero of the Month by the Kids Wish Network. To celebrate the honor, staff in the Tuscaloosa CRS office sponsored a party for Ashlyn and her family, complete with pizza and cupcakes. Ashlyn, who has Down syndrome and bilateral hearing loss, loves cheerleaders and cheerleading, so CRS staff worked with

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Older Alabamians learn IL skills at Camp SAVI (photo gallery)

A photo of eye glasses used to improve contrast

Seven seniors with visual impairments are attending Camp SAVI (seniors adjusting to visual impairments) at E.H. Gentry in Talladega this week. The camp, in its seventh year, teaches skills that help the participants remain independent in their homes. The program also features sessions to educate the relatives of the seniors about issues faced by people with visual impairments. The five-day

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Floyd is ADRS’s new software development manager

ADRS Computer Services recently promoted a familiar face to be the department’s new software development manager. Beverly Floyd assumed her post, previously held by Clay Weaver, on March 16. “Right now, I’m really serving dual roles,” Floyd said, “Not only am I taking over for Clay, I’m also still wearing my project management hat. I’m busy, but it’s also exciting. I’ll be working

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BRC teams with library to find gold at end of ‘Beautiful Rainbow’

When the Beautiful Rainbow Catering Company and Garden officially opened its doors inside the Gadsden Public Library on Valentine’s Day, it was a cause of celebration for everyone involved. The library café is the latest component of a larger garden-to-table education curriculum for adolescents and young adults with significant cognitive disabilities in the Gadsden City Schools. In addition to operating the area’s only vegetarian eatery, the program also

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ADRS partners with AIDB to offer Structured Discovery program in Birmingham

The Alabama Freedom Center for the Blind recently opened its doors as the first Structured Discovery program offered in the state of Alabama. Located at the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) Regional Center in downtown Birmingham, the nine-month training program offers people who are blind or have low vision an alternative to traditional independent living skills training. In addition

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Lee County parent joins ADRS board

A Lee County woman has been appointed to the Alabama Board of Rehabilitation Services. Penny Foster, an Auburn resident and Tuscaloosa native, will represent the 3rd Congressional District. Foster is the mother of three daughters, including 13-year-old Maggie, who has Down syndrome. Foster was appointed to the board by Gov. Robert Bentley and confirmed by the Alabama Senate. ADRS Commissioner

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ADRS, AIDB, and AIDT collaborate to offer accessible Ready to Work program at E.H. Gentry

Alabama’s Ready-to-Work (RTW) program provides a career pathway for adults who have limited education and employment experience through 66 sites at 22 institutions. One of those sites – E.H. Gentry in Talladega – is now fully accessible and operational, representing the culmination of a two-year partnership between ADRS, Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT), and the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB). The RTW curriculum is designed by

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‘Mentoring Day’ preps Decatur-area high school students for next step (photo gallery)

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS) and Athens State University teamed up to host Mentoring Day, a transition event to prepare students with disabilities for life after high school. Approximately 130 students from nine area high schools attended yesterday’s event on the Athens State campus. Attendees participated in a career fair, campus tour, and three different learning sessions: Disability

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‘Transition Unlimited’ unifies transition efforts statewide

A collaboration between ADRS and Auburn University to improve transition services to students is currently being implemented in every high school in the state. The Alabama pre-employment transition services (Pre-ETS) initiative – dubbed “Transition Unlimited” – is designed to build capacity and connect services to appropriately implement transition services throughout the state. Its goal is to provide guidance to local education agencies

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ADRS staff re-locating to newly completed facility (photo gallery)

Earlier this week, the Vocational Rehabilitation Service (VRS) and State of Alabama Independent Living (SAIL) offices in Tuscaloosa began moving to their new location at 1400 James I. Harrison Jr. Parkway E. When the move is complete, the 56,000-square-foot, three-story complex – owned and built by Easter Seals West Alabama – will house some 60 ADRS staff. The Tuscaloosa offices

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SAIL, Senior Services partner to provide meals to persons with significant disabilities

State of Alabama Independent Living recently formed a partnership with the Alabama Department of Senior Services to provide access to Meals on Wheels to qualifying individuals currently served by a SAIL Medicaid waiver, said SAIL Program Specialist Kathy Fountain. Senior Services Commissioner Neal Morrison approached Fountain to provide $50,000 in funding for SAIL to access the Meals on Wheels program statewide.

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Business relations consultants gather for quarterly meeting (photo gallery)

Staff from the ADRS Business Relations Program held their quarterly meeting at Cheaha State Park earlier this week. The three-day retreat included sessions on important employment issues as well as updates on the RAVE program, business relations consultant specialty areas, and the U.S. Business Leadership Network.

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VA Employer Summit a success

Nearly 90 representatives from more than 50 companies around the Southeast recently attended the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System (CAVHCS) Employer Breakfast Summit at Trenholm State Community College in Montgomery. With ADRS as a partner, the summit enabled employers to facilitate a discussion on hiring veterans with different organizations to support their efforts upon exiting the United States Armed

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Ceremony awards businesses, exceptional people with disabilities (video, photo gallery)

The Alabama Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities – a program of ADRS – held a ceremony and reception Dec. 6 honoring the success and contributions of individuals with disabilities in the workforce and recognized businesses that provide opportunities for successful employment for people with disabilities. The event was in the Old Archives Chamber of the Alabama State

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Muscle Shoals, Selma celebrate opening of new facilities (photo gallery)

  Last week, new ADRS facilities in Muscle Shoals and Selma opened their doors to the members of the community. At just over 5,000 square feet, the new home for CRS in the Shoals area offers more clinic space for families at one of the fastest-growing locations in the state. The 12,644-square-foot facility in downtown Selma – which houses the

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Smart Work Ethics training underway in Autauga County (photo gallery)

The Smart Work Ethics (SWE) training to develop better soft skills, good work habits and boost the employability of transition-age VR consumers is currently underway for students in Autauga County Schools. The eight-part comprehensive training series began in October and will continue through December for students at the Autauga County Technology Center in Prattville. Prattville’s SWE training is jointly led by

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Anniston’s fall festival frightfully fun for CRS families (photo gallery)

Anniston’s CRS office held their annual fall festival for children with disabilities on Oct. 26. Open to families served by CRS and Early Intervention and children from area schools, approximately 150 children enjoyed the games, food and fun at the event. Activities at the festival included a cake walk, bean bag throw, hoop toss, water balloon toss and face painting.

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SAIL retreat focuses on team building (photo gallery)

The State of Alabama Independent Living (SAIL) program staff retreat kicked off yesterday at the Orange Beach Hilton Garden Inn. The three-day training is focusing on team building and pertinent topics of interest like the Personal Choices program. Staff were also asked to make a full accessibility assessment of a restaurant of their choosing to report to the group on Day 2.

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EI conference draws 500 to Montgomery (photo gallery)

Rachel Harrison interviews her son Wren about his little sister Anna Pruitt (nicknamed 'AP' by the family) as dad Brian listens in

Some 500 parents and early intervention and preschool professionals are gathering in Montgomery this week for the Early Intervention and Preschool Conference. The theme of this year’s conference is “Once Upon a Time … Everyone Has a Story.” The opening session for the two-and-a-half-day conference featured the Harrison family of Tuscaloosa, who shared their personal story about Anna Pruitt, their youngest

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Disability Mentoring Day targets career building, personal goal development (photo gallery)

ADRS held a unique one-day mentoring program for job seekers with disabilities Oct. 21 at Auburn Montgomery. Disability Mentoring Day provides an opportunity for enthusiastic students and job seekers who are ready to jump-start their careers to connect with business leaders in a meaningful way. Participants in the program evaluate personal goals, target career skills for improvement, explore possible career paths,

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Pre-ETS training updates transition counselors

With final regulations for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) released, transition counselors recnetly received the latest information on Pre-Employment Transition Services (PETS) through a series of trainings offered at five different locations throughout the state, said Rehabilitation Specialist III Karen Jenkins. “We visited our offices and informed staff about the the five required activities for PETS: job exploration

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Muscle Shoals office re-locates to new facility (photo gallery)

A shot of the exterior of the building, which features covered accessible parking

The Children’s Rehabilitation Service office and clinic in Muscle Shoals is in the process of moving to its new facility. The 5,000-square-foot building is newly renovated to include a spacious clinic, state-of-the-art audiology suite, and offices for the six-member staff. The office serves almost 400 children with special health care needs in the Muscle Shoals area. Staff will begin conducting

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New Tuscaloosa complex progressing on schedule (video, photo gallery)

A telehandler operator empties debris in a dumpster in front of the building is abuzz with activity

Work continues on schedule on the new office complex for the ADRS offices in Tuscaloosa. The facility, which is owned and being built by Easter Seals West Alabama, is on James I. Harrison Jr. Parkway East, near the current location of the Tuscaloosa office for Vocational Rehabilitation Service (VRS) and State of Alabama Independent Living (SAIL)/Homebound. The 56,000-square-foot complex will

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