Category Archives: VRS

VRS summer programs teach students skills for college, work life (photo gallery)

Students participate in a team-building activity at the Shelby County career prep session

Dozens of transition students from throughout the state have gained exposure to work and college life through a number of programs sponsored and presented by Vocational Rehabilitation Service this summer. The programs, held at various locations around Alabama, are designed to prepare students to transition to work and/or post-secondary education.    

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2017 YLF delegates target leadership, success (photo gallery + video)

YLF group picture with Timothy Alexander

  The 31 graduates of the 19th annual Alabama Governor’s Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) left Troy University better equipped to take charge of their own lives following the five-day event that focused on self-esteem, self-advocacy, career exploration, independent living, and assistive technology. “YLF provides an opportunity to empower young people with disabilities to fully realize their potential to lead,” said Karen Jenkins,

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Board holds quarterly meeting at ADRS Lakeshore (photo gallery + video)

Board members Eddie Williams and Jimmie Varnado speak with members of the Adaptive Driving Program team following the board meeting

The Alabama Board of Rehabilitation Services held its recent quarterly meeting at the ADRS Lakeshore office. Paige Hebson, field supervisor at ADRS Lakeshore, spoke to the group about the services provided through her office. Also addressing the group was Beth Curry, who works at the nearby Lakeshore Foundation. Following the meeting, the board as well as members of the ADRS

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JeffCo high schoolers begin Career Journey with stop at UAB (photo gallery)

Elizabeth Turnbull, an instructor in the UAB School of Business, speaks at her session

More than 120 high school students from 30 Jefferson County schools are participating this week in “Money Express” at the Collat School of Business on the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “Money Express” was developed by Stephanie Yates, an associate professor in the UAB School of Business and director of the Institute of Financial Literacy. Over four days,

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Project SEARCH programs statewide hold commencement ceremonies (photo gallery)

Project SEARCH graduates from the UAB site stand on stage

Project SEARCH, the Alabama program launched in 2012 to provide students with significant disabilities professional work experience, held 10 graduations at different program sites statewide throughout the month of May. In total, 85 students across 10 Project SEARCH locations graduated this year. Of those 85, 62 had already accepted job offers by graduation day. The program is a total immersion, business-led, school-to-work plan for

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Deaf Services celebrates 30th anniversary of annual training

Juniors and seniors from the Alabama School of the Deaf introduce themselves to staff and guests of the retreat

VRS-Deaf Services recently marked the 30th anniversary of their annual training retreat at Alabama’s 4-H Center in Columbiana. Commissioner Jane Elizabeth Burdeshaw joined the group for day two of the three-day training, where she provided an update to staff on departmental activities and led a mock interview session for 33 juniors and seniors from the Alabama School for the Deaf.

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ADRS, Easter Seals open new Tuscaloosa facility (photo gallery + video)

Easter Seals West Alabama (ESWA) and the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS) recently hosted a ribbon-cutting celebration for their new state-of-the-art facility. The new building – located at 1400 James I. Harrison Jr. Parkway Drive East – features 56,000 square feet of office space and houses all four major ADRS programs – Alabama’s Early Intervention System, Children’s Rehabilitation Service,

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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