The Road to Success
The Rehabilitation Services
Visiting our Legislators
April our administration visited with members of the
Iowa Congressional Delegation in Washington,
D.C. During the visit
members of congress were presented information relative to their congressional
district on the outcomes Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation accomplished during the
2004 fiscal year. Representative Latham
appeared amazed at the challenges that one particular individual in his
district faced and seemed to appreciate receiving the report. IVRS Administration shared concerns
regarding the WIA Plus legislation as well as some concerns regarding the infrastructure
costs in the current WIA legislation.
The responses received from the Iowa
delegation regarding the IVRS reports, concerns, and questions seemed
positive. With that said we will want to
continue to educate our congressional delegation, clients, and partners of the
impact of this legislation.
Good News Stories Shared with Iowa’s US
Each US Representative and Senator
received a packet containing information on the outcomes achieved by the Iowa
Vocational Rehabilitation Services for FY 04.
In addition to the data stories were shared to give each person an idea
of the type of issues our clients face and how our staff work to find
solutions. Below are a few of the
stories shared with them. Please notice that the story appears under
the name of the representative serving the district in which the client
lives. We believe these stories truly
made a difference. Thank you for your
work in gathering the information for us.
Wagner says she is a self-proclaimed
success story from Ames,
Iowa, and acknowledges that the
Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS) helped her get where she is
today. She is currently a licensed
Occupational Therapist earning $31 per hour with full benefits. But her journey to get there is an amazing
story of determination and government doing what it does best.
first came to IVRS in the midst of experiencing severe clinical depression
complicated with anorexia. She requested
tuition assistance from IVRS so she could study to get her Emergency Medical
Technician certificate, which would help her support herself as she progressed
through undergraduate studies. She
completed her undergraduate degree, with the assistance of IVRS, and then
decided she wanted to pursue a degree in Occupational Therapy. IVRS provided tutoring and tuition assistance
as she proceeded to take some correspondence coursework. Also during this time she joined the Iowa
Army National Guard, but broke both of her feet during training. What seemed to be a misfortune actually was
an opportunity as she then began her graduate studies after having been accepted
to the only “weekend” OT program available in the Midwest. On weekends she drove to St. Paul, Minnesota,
to attend college. IVRS assisted her
with tuition, transportation, maintenance, childcare, counseling, and
medication assistance. She experienced a
set back when she was diagnosed with two herniated discs in her back that
required surgery. She graduated in
December of 2003 and IVRS assisted her with the licensing exam fees, resume
writing and job seeking skills training.
She accepted her first job after her one and only interview! Brandy reports that “Vocational
Rehabilitation has been INSTRUMENTAL during my academic career. I sincerely believe that I would not have
accomplished so much without the assistance I have received from VR. I also received valuable support and
motivation as well as praise for my efforts to maintain my 3.5 GPA throughout
my education.” Brandy believes she has a
better chance at a good future because IVRS was there with $42,105 in
of Iowa City, reapplied for services for assistance in getting a
new wheelchair because his Muscular Dystrophy had deteriorated and posed
significant problems for him in seating and positioning. Mr. Schnoebelen was
a social security beneficiary due to his disability when he received services
from IVRS previously but this time he was requesting services as an employed
first time Mr. Schnoebelen received services through
IVRS he was provided tuition and accommodation assistance to attend the University of Iowa.
Through IVRS assistance he graduated with a degree in computer
science. After graduation a job search
for Mr. Schnoebelen was challenging, given his
physical limitations, so IVRS partnered with him and he was ultimately hired by
Motorola in the Chicago, Illinois, area where he worked for a number
of years. As a result of this job he was
removed from all public assistance benefits.
Mr. Schnoebelen lived in Chicago
for a number of years, but then returned to Iowa City with his wife and daughter where he
continues to work for Motorola from his home.
the sole bread winner in his family, he knew the costs of a new electric
wheelchair and requested assistance from his insurance company. While he was in the appeal process with the
insurance company he knew he may not be able to wait out the decision so he
approached IVRS for help. As a result of
the advocacy of Mr. Schnoebelen, his Rehabilitation
Counselor, and the coordination with the insurance company, a wheelchair was
purchased with contributions from all involved.
Because Mr. Schnoebelen was required to travel
to Chicago at
times his current transportation was no longer functioning safely and IVRS also
agreed to assist in converting his newer van so that it accommodated his
needs. The services through IVRS allowed
him to remain employed at a level where he can support his family (earning
$1,365/week or more with overtime). The case service cost to provide these
accommodations was $9,233.21 and it allowed him to remain independent of public
“Jaci” S. Martens of Sheldon was involved in a serious automobile accident, in
which her sister was killed. As a
result of the accident she sustained a serious head injury resulting in disabilities
of chronic brain syndrome and affective disorders. Jaci’s
disability required her to receive extensive counseling and guidance so that
she could better develop skills in handling work place demands so that she
would be successful on her next job.
Together Jaci and her Rehabilitation
Counselor, Abby Rael Evans, identified her job goal
to be in the custodial/housekeeping area.
Her counselor gave her job leads and she applied for a job as a
custodian at the Sheldon
High School for which she
received an interview and job offer. Her
counselor suggested that the Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Service arrange for
her to have a job coach so that Jaci would have the
necessary training support on the job.
Ms. Rael Evans authorized for Village Northwest
to provide job coaching services to teach her the job specific skills, how to
interact and work with her co workers, and to problem solve. Her Rehabilitation Counselor, Ms. Rael Evans, monitored Jaci’s
progress and determined that she would require further mental health counseling
to adjust to the full time job. On
December 16, 2004, it was determined that Jaci was
performing well on the job, participating in mental health counseling, and the
low tech job accommodation (clip board with job routine) has allowed Jaci to remember and perform her tasks as expected. At a total case service cost of $850, Jaci works full time and earns $8.50 per hour with full
benefits. She is not on any public
assistance as a result of services.
Oskaloosa has a serious mental illness that affects every aspect of her
life. She has trouble with making
decisions, demonstrating proper judgment, controlling her emotions, and
tolerating stress of a structured work environment. Her decreased memory capacity, speed of
learning and attention span had significant implications for training and
employment. Vicki’s long term goal had
always been to help people through a job in the medical field, and to focus on
others that have been mentally challenged.
While this was a long term goal, Vicki doubted she would be successful
in achieving it. Vicki’s IVRS Counselor, Andrea Tuttle, counseled her to
develop a level of confidence and assisted her in exploring employment
goals. After identifying a goal and
completing training as a Certified Nurse Assistant, Vicki developed some
confidence. Ms. Tuttle met with Vicki
prior to each test to review notes in a study session, helped her overcome test
anxiety and identify and use strategies to develop learning speed. After completing her training Vicki and her
Rehabilitation Counselor met weekly to complete job applications, practice
interviewing, and develop follow up skills.
Vicki successfully obtained a job as a CNA, but struggled with
multi-tasking functions and lack of supervision. With Ms. Tuttle’s support the employer agreed
to restructure Vicki’s job to one of an auxiliary aide, moved her to the day
shift, and provided more supervision and mentoring. IVRS paid $556.25 for Vicki to realize this
Abby Crawford graduated from Independence High School
in 2003 and was dependent upon Supplemental Security Income (SSI) through the
Social Security Administration. The Iowa
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services determined that Abby would
benefit from an evaluation through the Goodwill Vocational Services
program. As a result of the evaluation,
Abby was recommended to participate in supported community employment. Abby’s Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor,
Mary Ellen Earles, arranged for Abby to participate in an on-the-job training
opportunity at the Millennium
for 60 hours per week, earning $5.15 per hour.
The Millennium staff trained Abby and worked with Mary Ellen in
understanding how to handle some work-related issues. Abby has become a very responsible and
worthwhile employee and performs support staff assistance and housekeeping
tasks for the physical therapy clinic.
In March, 2005, Abby will be working
full-time earning $6.50 per hour at which time she will no longer receive
SSI. Vocational Rehabilitation spent a total of $783.83 so that she
could be employed and self sufficient.
Not only do the stories
represented above remind us of the extremely important work that we do, but it also
gives us some inspiration as we recall the difficulties they faced and the
courage with which they responded to those difficulties. As we consider each individual and the cost
associated with serving them we should be proud not only of the outcomes but
the fact that as an organization we strive to do what is right in a cost
effective manner. Our organization is
successful because we serve the individual with the disability and we serve the
business community by striving to place qualified applicants who will serve
them well. Our commitment to changing
lives and improving society is clearly evident in these stories.
Thank you for your work!!!