Vocational Rehabilitation

Vocational Rehabilitation

Vocational Rehabilitation programs help people with a disability to keep their job or find work in their area. For example, if you have a Spinal Cord Injury, your needs as an employee will change based upon your level of injury and the nature of your job. Vocational Rehabilitation programs can help you to identify different goals for your career, to help you to adjust in returning to work, or help to educate your employer on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

How do I know if I qualify?

To receive Vocational Rehabilitation services, you will need to have a physical, psychiatric, or learning disability which severely limits your ability to obtain and keep a job. You should also have a desire to work. To begin the process, you will need to contact your state’s office for Vocational Rehabilitation. They will make an appointment with you to review your history, and they may get information about you regarding your disability from your physician, hospital/medical records, and your own self-report. They will need to identify the barriers you face in your employment as a result of your disability.

Each state has their own office that handles Vocational Rehabilitation:

New Hampshire - http://education.nh.gov/career/vocational/

Massachusetts - http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/mrc/

Rhode Island - http://www.ors.ri.gov/VR.html

Vermont - http://vocrehab.vermont.gov/

Connecticut - http://www.ct.gov/dss/cwp/view.asp?a=2353&q=305224

Maine - http://www.maine.gov/rehab/dvr/

What can I expect from a Vocational Rehab program?

You and your counselor will come up with a plan for employment. You will talk about your personal goals, your career interests, your work history, and your current level of education. This plan will include a realistic timeline for your return to work, and assistance for you to make an informed choice about your career. Often, Vocational Rehabilitation programs offer other services, like resume preparation, job seeking training, and interview skills training, among others. You should contact your local state office (as indicated above) to get more information on what your state offers to you.

What happens when I find a Job?

Often, Vocational Rehabilitation programs will continue to offer support for a period of time after you find employment. For Massachusetts, they will offer support, advocacy and follow-up services for at least 90 days after employment. Sometimes, this can be extended up to 3 years based on your level of need.