Category Archives: VRS

Summer transition programs pave the way for future success

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and its partners have had a busy summer conducting transition programs throughout the state to help students prepare for life after high school. These programs have provided hands-on lessons designed to develop and improve employment and independent living skills for teens and young adults with disabilities. The agenda differed from place to place, with

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ADRS celebrates the 29th anniversary of the ADA

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and Montgomery Area Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities invited other state agencies and friends to celebrate the 29th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act Thursday, July 25. The group gathered in the fourth-floor conference room of the ADRS 560 S. Lawrence St. building to celebrate this important

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Fussell fuels Faulkner students’ desire to achieve their goals

For years, Faulkner University Director for the Center of Disability Services Nichole Fussell faced an uphill academic battle. Now, she is able to promote the services that helped her earn college degrees and open doors for others facing similar challenges. Unlike some students with learning disabilities, Fussell was able to push through high school and enter college before she realized

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Readers relay news articles to blind and low-vision listeners

Keeping up with the latest news and events in the River Region can sometimes be a challenge for blind or low-vision residents. Fortunately, a partnership between the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and Troy University’s WTSU public radio ensures that listeners can stay informed of what is happening in the Montgomery area. The Radio Readers, a group of volunteers who

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Lanzi provides words of wisdom to 2019 YLF delegates

The 21st Youth Leadership Forum recently concluded another successful session. Sponsored by the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, the five-day event seeks to equip high school students with disabilities with valuable leadership skills through sessions on self-esteem, career exploration, technology, independent living, and etiquette. Other sponsors of this year’s camp included the Alabama Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with

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Project SEARCH concludes 2019 sessions with graduation ceremonies

Project SEARCH recently conducted graduation ceremonies throughout the state. Interns in Alabaster, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Albertville, Birmingham, Anniston, Montgomery, Mobile, Fort Payne, Baldwin County, and Decatur were honored throughout the month of May for completing the business-led transition program for students with significant disabilities. Project SEARCH provides high school students an opportunity to explore careers and develop transferable job skills, while

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ADRS hosts meeting introducing Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side program

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and Alabama’s Early Intervention System hosted the Alabama Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side kick-off meeting Friday, May 17. Throughout the day, those in attendance learned about Hands & Voices and how to provide non-biased support for the families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. For more information on the

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Nothing can slow the success of Stephens

Don’t let her size and sometimes quiet nature fool you. Dothan resident and Rehobeth High School senior Whitney Stephens is a fighter. Stephens has never let any obstacles hold her back, including 27 surgeries and 50 overall procedures. Through it all, she pushed forward and remained an honor student. In December of 2018, Stephens was recognized as the Alabama Department

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Construction begins on new Muscle Shoals VRS office

Dignitaries pose with hard hats and shovels following the groundbreaking.

A ground-breaking ceremony was held May 8 for a new office space for Muscle Shoals VRS. The 20,000-square-foot facility is being built by Easter Seals Northwest Alabama. VRS will occupy approximately half of the new building, which will feature a multi-purpose room, dedicated testing space, and updated technology. Construction is expected to be complete in spring 2020.  

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Opportunities abound at Huntsville career fair

Job seekers were eager to showcase their skills at the annual Ability Career Fair on Friday, May 3, at Redstone Federal Credit Union in Huntsville. The fair, which was sponsored by the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, Huntsville Area Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, and Phoenix Industries connected employers and individuals

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Focus groups help ADRS Lakeshore plan for the future

Staff from the ADRS Lakeshore office recently spent a week traveling the state to conduct a series of focus groups. The groups, made up of Vocational Rehabilitation Service staff, provided input that will be used in a restructuring effort to address the growing demand for the office’s programs. Program Evaluation and Development Specialist Samantha Wadsworth said Lakeshore has grown beyond

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Blind and Deaf Services conference draws big numbers to the beach

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services held its Blind and Deaf Services staff training conference at Gulf State Park in mid-April with plenty of enthusiasm and excitement. This was the first time a combined training of this format had been conducted, which led to the theme “Hand in Hand, We Can Make a Difference.”

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ADRS Lakeshore staff provide training to Vestavia Hills first responders

Brandon Adamson, a certified driving instructor with ADRS Lakeshore, goes over the adaptive devices available to drivers with disabilities

A successful 2018 training session for the Vestavia Hills Police Department through the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services continued Thursday, March 28, and Friday, March 29, with a new topic concerning suicide prevention and mental health. Last year, ADRS Rehabilitation Specialist Samantha Wadsworth worked with officers and first responders at the VHPD to help them identify and understand typical behaviors

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STEM-finity Wars launches 2019 campaign in Mobile

Students from the Mobile area gathered at Bishop State Community College in late March to participate in STEM-finity Wars. The Marvel Universe-themed event, which was sponsored by the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, is an interactive transition program that provides valuable information, resources, and experiences to eighth- through 12th-grade students who are

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New training offers VR staff insight into military culture

\Sawyer discusses guard life

More than 30 Vocational Rehabilitation Service direct-service staff recently attended a training on military culture and best practices for serving Alabama National Guard members through the ADRS RAVE (retaining a valued employee) Program. The new training, which focused on the Army and National Guard, was developed by Business Relations Specialist Anna Taylor and Staff Training and Development staffer Nancy Adams.

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Mobile VR participates in Mardi Gras Festivities

The ADRS Mobile Vocational Rehabilitation Services office had a chance to combine revelry and raising awareness for their programs Thursday, Feb. 28, by participating in The Mobile Arc Association of Reveling Cavaliers Mardi Gras Parade. Several staffers manned the float, while others provided support and spread the word about their mission by visiting spectators. Everyone left with a smile on

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Heroes Hub helps vets sharpen employment skills

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services partnered with Southern Union State Community College and others to host a Veterans Employment Workshop in Opelika earlier this month. The purpose of the program was to prepare veterans to receive an offer of hire at the upcoming Veterans Hiring Fair in the spring. The program focused on the current and future landscapes of

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ADRS, EASE, and Athens State host Transition Mentoring Day

Admissions Advisor Bethany Campbell is excited to give a history of the school and tour of its facilities.

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, Erica Allen Supported Employment (EASE), and Athens State University recently partnered to host Transition Mentoring Day for high school students with disabilities on the campus of Athens State. Some 200 juniors and seniors from Athens High School, Limestone County Schools, Brewer and Priceville high schools, and Decatur City Schools rotated in 50-minute sessions to

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Awards ceremony celebrates Governor’s Committee success stories

The Alabama Governor’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities and Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services conducted a statewide awards ceremony Wednesday, Dec. 6, at the Alabama State Capitol. Governor Kay Ivey was on hand to congratulate the award recipients.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey was on hand to congratulate the honorees at the recent statewide awards ceremony at the Alabama State Capitol. T he annual event is sponsored by the Alabama Governor’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities and the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services. Ivey said state leaders are always looking for ways to provide more opportunities

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ADRS job seeker now helping others realize their work goals

Renika Baggage discusses job opportunities available at the Anniston Army Depot with an attendee during this year's Governor’s Job Fair for People with Disabilities in Huntsville.

There are many success stories highlighting the impact that the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and its programs can have on an individual. Renika Baggage, however, provides a look at how the recipient of these services can share his or her experiences to change the lives of others. Baggage attended the annual Governor’s Job Fair for People with Disabilities in

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Ceremony celebrates opening of rehab engineering workshop

Exterior shot of the new rehab engineering workshop

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house were held recently to celebrate the completion of a state-of-the-art rehab engineering workshop in Anniston. The 864-square-foot building, which sits behind the ADRS facility on Coleman Road in Anniston, includes a 24′ x 24′ workshop with work benches and a wash-out sink as well as a storage loft. The outside also features water access

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BEP partner Misty Dawn honored for performance during storm surge

From left, Business Enterprise Program Business Specialist Darryl McCaul; Sodexo District Manager, Lexis/Nexis General Manager James H. Winkler; ADRS Business Enterprise Program Director Lori Brady; and Misty Dawn Enterprises owner David Talley pose for a photo after the awards ceremony. Misty Dawn earned the national “Spirit of Sodexo Award” and the Center for Domestic Preparedness 2018 “Government Services Segment Unit of the Year Award.”

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services’ Business Enterprise Program (BEP) has a long history of successful business operations and superior customer service.  Licensed blind vendors have been operating small businesses across the state since 1946 and achieving independence through self-employment. For almost 15 years, ADRS has partnered with Sodexo USA to provide dining hall services to the FEMA Center for

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Deaf Services strategic planning sessions shape plans for future

Members of the audience listen as Adams listen to Adams explain the next part of the process

  A series of ADRS Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services strategic planning sessions has provided leadership with useful feedback for determining the direction of the program. Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Coordinator Bedarius Bell said the meetings take place throughout the state every three years to allow leaders to receive input as they prepare their plans to move

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Two new transition programs now available through ADRS Lakeshore

This program will engage, educate, and equip high school and community college students with the skills they need for future employment.

The ADRS Lakeshore office is offering two new transition programs this fall. The E3 and SET programs are intended as supplements to the college prep and job readiness workshops offered each summer. E3 – which stands for engage, educate, and equip – launches Friday, Sept. 28, and provides high school and community college students with the skills necessary for employment, said

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ADRS helps Roberts give back with community garden

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Brittney Urquhart and Bill Roberts share a laugh during one of their recent meetings.

It is no surprise when Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services staffers make a difference in the life of a consumer. However, through their efforts, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Brittney Urquhart and Rehab Engineer Tim Driskell have literally helped plant the seeds for success in the lives of many in Sylacauga. The process began when consumer Bill Roberts, a former firefighter, fire

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