Tag Archives: VRS

VR sponsors summer transition programs around the state

Students participated in a drunken driving simulation during Deaf Services' College Prep session at Jacksonville State University

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

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Employers weigh in on value of VR services at business roundtable (photo gallery)

Steve Woodson, chief executive officer of the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR), explains the goal of the roundtable

  Representatives from 20 employers from around the state gathered recently for a business roundtable on disability in the workplace. Alabama was one of five states – California, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania being the others – to participate in the event as part of the Council for State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation’s strategic planning initiative, known as Vision 2020. The roundtables

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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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‘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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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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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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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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Burdeshaw makes first field visit as commissioner (photo gallery)

New ADRS Commissioner Jane Elizabeth Burdeshaw made the first of many field office visits July 14, when she toured ADRS-Lakeshore and the CRS CP Neuro Clinic at Children’s South Pediatric Outpatient Center. Commissioner Burdeshaw also made time to visit Homewood CRS staff before attending the quarterly Alabama Business Leadership Network (ABLN) board meeting in the afternoon. Burdeshaw plans similar visits to other ADRS offices over the

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Mississippi State-ADRS study examines efficacy of summer work program

Elizabeth Patton and Samantha Wadsworth discuss the team assignment with the group

VRS-Blind Services is partnering with Mississippi State University for a two-year study on the impact of job skills training on students with visual impairments who are participating in the department’s summer work experience program. The test group includes students age 16-22 who receive one-week job search skills training developed by Mississippi State University’s Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision. The

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VR counselors go back to basics at ‘Boot Camp’

For the third time in five years, VRS got back to basics with a special training course for new counselors. Approximately two-thirds of all vocational rehabilitation counselors have fewer than 10 years of service to the department, said James Myrick, VRS assistant commissioner. “With such a young counseling staff,” Myrick said, “we’ve devised a special 16-hour training course to ensure our counselors are

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Construction continues on Tuscaloosa facility (photo gallery)

The view from the second floor

  Work is progressing on the 56,000-square-foot facility that will house the ADRS offices in Tuscaloosa. The complex, owned by Easter Seals West Alabama, will boast three floors, with Alabama’s Early Intervention System offices and Children’s Rehabilitation Service offices and clinic space occupying the first floor and office space for Vocational Rehabilitation Service and State of Alabama Independent Living (SAIL)/Homebound on

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VR supervisors gather for annual training retreat (photo gallery)

VRS supervisors gathered this week for their annual training retreat at the 4H Center in Columbiana. The three-day training included sessions on quality control, the legal implications of supervision, innovative approaches to management and supervision, and dealing with difficult people. The group also participated in group activities that were designed to foster a sense of cohesion and camaraderie.  

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Teen Transition Career Fair draws crowd (photo gallery, video)

The fair attracted more than 300 students

Students and teachers from schools throughout the Birmingham area gathered March 16 for Teen Transition Career Fair 2016. The half-day event was sponsored by the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Exceptional Education Department and Career Technical Program of Bessemer City Schools. More than 300 students flocked to the Bessemer Civic Center to learn about a number of career options

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GATE Program paves way out of sheltered workshops

A trainee preps potatoes

A program developed by ADRS-Supported Employment and the Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH) is preparing adults with significant disabilities for competitive employment. The GATE (gaining access to employment) Program is for individuals who have previously worked in sheltered workshops. Participants rotate through a series of jobs that provide real-world work experience designed to help them excel in a competitive work environment. GATE currently has five trainees

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Students around state attend Smart Work Ethics training

A student receives a reward for participation

Transition-age students around the state are participating in a new course that focuses on the development of the “soft” skills necessary to help them succeed in the workplace. The eight-part course – known as Smart Work Ethics – focuses on attitude and work ethic development; dress code, hygiene and grooming standards; interpersonal skills; problem solving and critical thinking; organizationals skills; self-management and personal life

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ADRS Med Aspects conference offers training opportunity for staff

Laura Lieb, a nurse practitioner, speaks at the 'Understanding Parkinson Disease' session

The ADRS Medical Aspects of Disability Conference attracted some 250 EI, CRS, VRS, and SAIL staff to the Hyatt Regency in Birmingham. The two-day conference featured 16 distinct concurrent sessions on such topics as diabetes, dementia, traumatic brain injury and vision, dysphagia, professional ethics, seizures and epilepsy, spasticity management, Parkinson’s disease, “hearing privilege,” and stroke.

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New transition training boosts employability, communication skills

A new course for transition-age VR consumers focuses on the development of “soft” skills and other characteristics students need to remember as they seek to make an positive impression on future employers. Smart Work Ethics (SWE) is an eight-part comprehensive training series for workforce employability skills and is designed to deliver information and positively change behavior, attitudes, and work ethics of participating students through

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ADRS, Easter Seals dedicate site for new Tuscaloosa facility

An enthusiastic crowd braved near-freezing temperatures to attend today’s site dedication for the new Easter Seals West Alabama facility in Tuscaloosa. The 56,000-square-foot complex will feature three floors, with Alabama’s Early Intervention System offices and Children’s Rehabilitation Service offices and clinic space occupying the first floor and office space for Vocational Rehabilitation Service and State of Alabama Independent Living (SAIL)/Homebound

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Dana Barber has vision for Blind Services

When Dana Barber took over as the new state coordinator for Blind Services following Debbie Culver’s retirement Oct. 30, she was the first to admit she has big shoes to fill. “Everything Debbie has done — virtually everything she touched — has been a benefit,” said Barber. “And here I am continuing the very initiatives she started. It’s certainly a

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Site prep begins for new Tuscaloosa facility

  Site preparation is underway at the location of the new ADRS facility in Tuscaloosa. The facility, which is owned and being built by Easter Seals West Alabama, will be on James I. Harrison Jr. Parkway East, a short distance from the current location of the Tuscaloosa VRS-SAIL office. The 56,000-square-foot complex will feature three floors, with Early Intervention offices and

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ADRS celebrates 20 years of independence

Connie Brechin Gloria Crider Becky Fields Ann James Ronny McCall Fredonia Mobley Karen Nobles Sue Schulgin Lynn Shelton

Twenty years. Four commissioners. Six sites. The statewide commemoration of the department’s 20th anniversary kicked off Monday, Sept. 14, in Mobile and wrapped up two weeks later in Huntsville. Founding Commissioner Lamona Lucas made a special appearance at events in Mobile and Montgomery. Former Commissioner Winona Nelson spoke to the Montgomery group, and Former Commissioner Steve Shivers joined the celebration in

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Shelby County Career Prep program participants learn teamwork

Shelby County Career Prep participants and staff gather at Camp McDowell

The 2015 session of Shelby County Career Prep continues this week. The nine-day workshop, which began last June 2, prepares high school juniors and seniors with disabilities for the world of work. Last week, the students traveled to Camp McDowell in Winston County to participate in a number of fun activities designed to foster a sense of unity and teach

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Students explore career options at Birmingham-area Transition Career Fair

More than 300 students, parents, and educators attended the fair

Some 300 students with disabilities, parents, and educators attended today’s Teen Transition Career Fair held at Boutwell Auditorium in downtown Birmingham. Students and educators from Bessemer City, Birmingham, Fairfield, Homewood, Hoover, Jefferson County, Midfield, Mountain Brook, Tarrant, and Vestavia Hills school systems participated in the half-day event, which featured more than 75 exhibitors sharing information about educational, community service, and

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North Alabama transition event prepares students for work world

Shannon Robinson, from ADRS Lakeshore, speaks at the session on job readiness

More than 150 high school students from Limestone and Morgan counties recently participated in Transition Mentoring Day on the campus of Calhoun Community College in Tanner. The half-day event – sponsored by VRS and the North Alabama Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities – featured sessions on disability awareness, job interviewing skills, employment readiness, and budgeting/financial management (also known

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