Governor Cooper Commends Rehabilitation Counselors for Their Work with People with Disabilities

rehabilitation facilitator working with patient

March 20, 2019 – Governor Roy Cooper honored rehabilitation counselors for their work with people with disabilities in a proclamation that sets March 22 as Rehabilitation Counselors Appreciation Day in North Carolina, and the NC Department of Health and Human Services is celebrating them too. 

“Rehabilitation counselors make a significant and positive impact in the lives of individuals with a disability,” said Chris Egan, Senior Director of Employment Services at NCDHHS. 

There are 2,400 rehabilitation counselors in the state, helping rehabilitation consumers increase their independence, self-sufficiency, employment and community participation through programs provided by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Division of Services for the Blind. 

Vocational rehabilitation counselors help people with disabilities find employment, keep a job or advance professionally. The counselor evaluates a client’s strengths, skills and experience, then works in partnership with the client to create an employment plan. The plan may include diagnostic and restoration services, education and job training, and other supports and services needed to achieve the individual’s employment goal.  

Independent Living Rehabilitation Counselors help individuals become more independent, providing an alternative to living in a nursing home or other facility. The program works one-on-one with clients to make home and vehicle modifications, help them gain independent living skills, and become more active participants in their family and community lives.

To maximize the impact of their work, Rehabilitation Counselors often collaborate with outside groups, like community employers, the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities and NC Works, in order to build connections and create employment opportunities for their clients. This is perhaps best shown through their participation in the Everybody Works campaign.    

“Since 2017, Everybody Works has focused on raising awareness and expanding collaborations about  the win-win associated with hiring people with disabilities. Counselors play such a vital role in helping people find employment,” said Egan. “Through Everybody Works, counselors educate employers about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities and the resources available to support these potential employees, making them more attractive job candidates.”

Ryan Hill