|State vocational rehabilitation administrator Larry Jewkes presents area district director Carol Rogers with an award signifying the fact that the southeastern district had more successful case closures than any other district in the state.|
In a local economy with an unemployment rate hovering around 3 percent for fiscal year 2007, the southeastern vocational rehabilitation office placed more individuals in jobs than any other division in Utah.
"I need to emphasize that our district is so successful because of the counselors we have and the support staff in our district," said director Carol Rogers. "They care about the clients, they want them to succeed and they are willing to go the extra mile for them, that is what makes our office special."
At the recent meeting, the state office of vocational rehabilitation recognized the local agency as number one in the Utah among eight dstricts.
The statewide recognition continued the district's longstanding reputation as a training and vocational placement mecca for local residents.
"What is most impressive to me, is the fact that we have placed so many individuals with so few jobs available," said Rogers
During the 2007 calendar year, the unemployment rate locally has bounced from 2.9 percent to the current 4.5 percent jobless level.
Vocational rehabilitation uses state resources to:
Evaluate an applicant's disability.
Place the person in the appropriate counseling environment to address the disability.
Trains the individual for a new vocation or places the client in the existing job market.
According to state field services director Larry Jewkes, the 10 counselors in eastern Utah closed 332 cases for the 2007 fiscal year.
The number of finalized cases made the per counselor average 33.2 closures.
The eastern Utah region encompasses Carbon, Emery, Moab, Blanding, Roosevelt and Vernal.
For a case to be closed an individual needs to be placed in employment for 90 days following their involvement and counseling at vocational rehabilitation.
Jewkes further reported that the Utah average for closures was 26.97 per counselor, with the state closing a total of 3,156 cases.
"We had two counselors in the Price office that cleared 61 closures," said Rogers. "That is how seriously job placement is taken at our office."
But placement is not all that is available at vocational rehabilitation.
According to Jewkes, the division has a federal mandate to work with individuals with disabilities whose situation interferes with their ability to work.
This is not an entitlement program but an eligibility program based on eligibility criteria in order to receive services.
Each applicant that is found eligible for services is dealt with on their individual disability and circumstances, said Jewkes.
"We provide many different services at our office including education and assistance obtaining that education," said Rogers. "We also can aid individuals with vocational issues with starting their own business as well as on-the-job training and supported job based training. Within the state's criteria we do whatever we can on a person-to-person basis to help the client succeed."
Some examples of services that can be provided by vocational rehabilitation include; tuition for schooling, from a certification to a bachelor's degree, transportation to the training site, medical treatment, licenses, fees, tools, equipment and many other services based on the clients need and the agency's standards.
"Job placement is our ultimate goal," said Rogers. "And we employ a full time job placement specialist, who happens to be Dorothy Carter at our office."
Individuals interested in seeking assistance can call vocational rehabilitation at 637-2820 locally or toll free at 800-491-7734.
"The State of Utah is a leader in the country pertaining to rehabilitation services and assisting individuals with disabilities," said Jewkes. "And the Eastern Utah district is a leader in the State of Utah.