Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Governor Celebrates Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors

Press Release

DCF has helped more than 14,535 Kansans with disabilities further their careers

TOPEKA - Recognizing the career potential of people with disabilities and affirming the importance of work in the psychological well-being of these individuals, Governor Jeff Colyer signed a proclamation earlier this month highlighting the work that vocational rehabilitation counselors do to empower Kansans with disabilities. March is Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Appreciation Month.

On March 1, at the State Capitol Building, Topeka, Governor Colyer met with several Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) vocational rehabilitation counselors to thank them for their service and to learn more about the accomplishments of DCF’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) division.

“The work that Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors do is vitally important because they are lifting up some of the most vulnerable Kansans and giving them purpose and hope,” Governor Jeff Colyer said. 

DCF’s Acting Rehabilitation Services Director, Peg Spencer, shared some of the successes of the agency with Governor Colyer, stating that the agency has assisted more than 14,535 Kansans with disabilities to become employed in the past 10 years. These clients are now filling positions in high-demand jobs, such as registered nurses, accountants, teachers and software developers. 

James Tucker, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Overland Park, said that VR services help level the playing field for people with disabilities and assist them to gain employment. 

Angela Roberson, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Topeka, said that she had a client who is deaf and was receiving disability benefits, but that she wanted to work as a warehouse associate.

“We worked hard, and now she is successfully employed working as a warehouse associate, making $14 an hour,” said Roberson. “She was able to get off disability and receive health benefits through her employer. She loves her job, and Vocational Rehabilitation Services even helped her get hearing aids to help her at her job.” 

DCF currently employs 68 counselors who provided services for 10,149 Kansans in the fiscal year 2017. Approximately 75 percent of those who achieved employment through the VR program report their wages as their primary source of income, an indicator of the decrease of reliance on public assistance.

“It is so encouraging to hear about how these counselors are playing an integral part of their clients’ lives,” DCF Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel said. “I appreciate their dedication because they work day in and day out to empower Kansans with disabilities to realize their full potential and help them gain competitive employment.” 

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