NCDHHS Celebrates 100 Years of Vocational Rehabilitation for People with Disabilities in North Carolina

Friday, June 26, 2020

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is celebrating the 100th anniversary of North Carolina’s vocational rehabilitation (VR) program, which supports people with disabilities as they prepare for, secure and advance in competitive employment in communities throughout the state. More than 27,000 North Carolinians with disabilities ages 14 and older are receiving VR services through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) and the Division of Services for the Blind (DSB), and more than 4,000 consumers this year have successfully achieved competitive, integrated employment in North Carolina.

“On this 100th anniversary, it’s important to recognize North Carolina’s vocational rehabilitation professionals who are focused on connecting qualified jobseekers with disabilities to employers in communities across this state – and that includes employment in state government,” said NCDHHS Deputy Secretary for Human Services Tara Myers. “Thanks to Governor Roy Cooper’s commitment to Employment First principles and agency leaders like DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, we’re building a diverse state workforce that represents the people we serve and is inclusive of people with disabilities.”

Even with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, VR consumers continue to find employment in essential industries. DVRS and DSB empower individuals with disabilities, particularly those with significant disabilities, to achieve high-quality employment outcomes. The Divisions partner with community organizations and businesses to develop internship, training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities and offer services to businesses in North Carolina at no cost, including disability awareness and inclusion trainings, candidate prescreening, onboarding and retention services, and worksite accessibility and technology consultations.

“We know that having a good-paying job leads to greater economic self-sufficiency and that there is a large, untapped workforce in our state,” said NCDHHS Senior Director for Employment Services Chris Egan. “VR’s mission is to help North Carolinians with disabilities prepare for and get those good-paying jobs that open up opportunities for increased independence and asset development that benefit not only that individual, but their communities and local businesses as well.”

Governor Cooper has issued a proclamation for June 2020 in honor of the 100th anniversary of North Carolina’s vocational rehabilitation program, and the Department will join a year-long, nationwide celebration using the hashtag #VR100 on social media.