The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Logo
Andrea Guest, Director, Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
    Our Winter Newsletter highlights the accomplishments of our staff, business partners, and successful clients. While we focus on a few inspiring client stories we know that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of more individuals who have received services from Counselors and Providers that led to successful, long-term employment.  
    At DVR, we support Community Integrated Employment (CIE) at or above minimum wage. This is the requirement of our federal partner as well as one of our core principles. We understand that the regulations requiring those in sheltered facilities to be counseled and given the chance to try CIE may give some concern. It has challenged our DVR program to increase our knowledge and capacity around Supported and Customized Employment models. We are committed to creating a system that provides opportunities for those who want to work in the community and recruit new vendor agency partners to meet the growing need.  Both the Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) as well as the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) are partnering with us to achieve the goal of employment.
    While we have many of the pieces in place we still have a way to go to provide access to everyone. Limited funds and staff resources are always a challenge. I had the opportunity to participate in the Delaware Disabilities Council’s Disability History Project, and reflect on how far we have come over the past couple of decades to meet the goal of CIE for all of those with barriers to employment. Together we can continue to move the needle and create a system of opportunity for students and adults who want live and work in their communities. I hope you will join me. 

                                                        Sincerely, Andrea

Annual Luncheon Celebrates
Workplace Inclusion
The Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) held their Annual Workplace Inclusion Recognition Awards Luncheon on Monday, December 11th at the Dover Downs Hotel in Dover, Delaware. 

The event celebrates workplace inclusion by honoring the value and contribution of employees with disabilities and the employers who hire them. Workplace inclusion
is about fostering a culture of diversity that includes hiring people with disabilities. 
Employers who create a culture of inclusion gain value by increasing creativity and knowledge including building a united strength to solve today’s complicated business challenges to attain success. 

Employers and employees from each county are selected to receive awards. A statewide service provider award is presented as well.  Pictures from the event are below.
     New Castle County
   Employer of the Year

Metro Diner
L-R: Jeff Schifrin, Metro Diner; Andrea Guest, DVR Director; Maya Rattan, DVR Business Relations Specialist; Dae Chang, Metro Diner, and Dr. Patrice Gilliam-Johnson, Secretary of Labor.
Kent County
Employer of the Year

L-R: Andrea Guest, DVR Director, Dana Seaberg, DVR Business Relations Specialist, Lisa Dutton, Christina Rossi, Mary Jo Verdery, and Dr. Patrice
Gilliam-Johnson, Secretary of Labor. 
   Sussex County
Employer of the Year

Royal Farms
L-R: Andrea Guest, DVR Director; Denise Crockett, DVR Business Relations Specialist; Dawn Keyek, Royal Farms; Dr. Patrice Gilliam-Johnson, Secretary of Labor.
    Service Provider
   of the Year

Community Integrated Services
Josh Miller, Community Integrated Services, Stan Mifflin, DVR Georgetown District Administrator, Andrea Guest, DVR Director, and Dr. Patrice Gilliam-Johnson, Secretary of Labor.
L-R: Josh Miller, Community Integrated Services; Stan Mifflin, DVR Georgetown District Administrator; Andrea Guest, DVR Director, and Dr. Patrice Gilliam-Johnson, Secretary of Labor.
   New Castle County
  Employee of the Year 

Justin Lehman
L-R: Andrea Guest, DVR Director; Patricia Browan, U.S. Security Associates; Justin Lehman; Amber Bart, U.S. Security Associates; Denise Burke, DVR Business Relations Specialist; Becky Clark, DVR Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor; Tom Beckson, U.S. Security Associates; and Dr. Patrice Gilliam-Johnson, Secretary of Labor.
   New Castle County
  Employee of the Year

Robin Schwitters
L-R: Reita Waterman, Delaware Family Court; Constance Turner, Delaware Family Court; Andrea Guest, DVR Director; Robin Schwitters; Connie
Clay-Bickel, DVR Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor; Dr. Patrice Gilliam-Johnson, Secretary
of Labor; and Catherine Aul, Delaware Family Court.
     Kent County
Employee of the Year

Sam Kanefsky
L-R: Janie Libby, Dover Downs; Pete Bradley, Dover Downs; Dr. Patrice Gilliam-Johnson, Secretary of Labor ; Chef Ron Roll, Dover Downs; Sam Kanefsky; Carl Kanefsky; Andrea Guest, DVR Director; and Cathy Kanefsky.
      Sussex County
Employee of the Year

Brandon Almony
Brandon Almony was not able to attend the event. Janet Rivera Cabrera accepted the award on his behalf.

Above: Janet Rivera Cabrera, DVR Administrative Specialist
Dover Downs Buffet Line Attendant
Sam Kanefsky discussing how he has benefited from employment at Dover Downs in DVR's new video.

Click here to watch the YouTube video.
Sam received the
2018 Annual
Workplace Inclusion
Recognition Employee
Award for
Kent County.

New DVR Video
Shows Benefits of Workplace Inclusion

It's exciting to share news that DVR is creating a video series highlighting our programs and successes.  

The first video premiered at the Annual Recognition Luncheon in December and captures the benefits of workplace inclusion by profiling DVR's business partnership with Dover Downs Hotel. 

Watch it to view a discussion about hiring people with disabilities between Janie Libby, VP of Human Resources and Andrea Guest, DVR Director as well as an interview with Sam Kanefsky, an employee with a disability. 

Future video topics include transition services and the Project SEARCH program. 
"Ability to Learn through Diversity"
What Does Workplace
Inclusion Mean to You?
DVR invited guests from the Annual Recognition Luncheon to share what workplace inclusion means to them. 

Take a look and let us know what Workplace Inclusion means to you   

"People Being with People" and "Teamwork & Unity"
"Opportunity and Diversity" and "Respectful Collaboration," and "Inspiration Companionship Teamwork Success"
Brothers Adam and Sam Kanefsky participate in the What Workplace Inclusion Means to Me activity.
"Working good and hard
and I learn a lot"
Jackie Poquette participating in the What Workplace Inclusion Means to Me activity.
"Respect For and
Appreciation of Differences."
"A Place for Everyone" and "Service Excellence"

"Being a Part of the Action"
Record Attendance at Conference that Prepares Students with Disabilities for
Future Employment Success
Above: Popularity targets attendance at the 2017 Transition Conference 1,100 participants including students, parents, teachers, Vocational Rehabilitation staff, and community organization representatives attended the 2017 Delaware Transition Conference.  
Above: Keynote presenters Chris Coulston, Ellen Coulston, and Kevin Fortunato on the stage discussing how the families helped each other through the transition and self-determination processes. Keynote presenter Cheryl Fortunato is standing in front of the stage. 
Delaware Transition Conference
Transition services help students with disabilities prepare for postsecondary choices leading to employment which include education, skill development,
and supported employment.
This year's Delaware Transition Conference was the most popular yet! Held on December 5 at the Dover Downs Hotel, more than 1,100 participants attended this annual event.

This unique event is increasingly popular for a variety of reasons including that
the entire all-day event focuses only on transition services.

The conference brings together a diverse set of tools and resources as well as key people and organizations for the sole purpose to provide students, parents, and other transition stakeholders, the needed insight, information, and direction to make positive and informed 
post-secondary choices for students.

This year's keynote speakers were a collaborative team (see picture at left) made up of two transition students and their moms. The students discussed their transition journey and their mothers discussed how learning about transition shifted their roles to informed parents and life coaches. 

Media coverage included an article and radio spot by Delaware Public Media as well as an extensive article by The News Journal/Delaware Online. 
DVR Director Participates in Video Series
Capturing Stories and Wisdom
of Disability Advocates.
Andrea Guest, DVR Director, shared her personal story as part of the DDDS "Claws and Wings" video series. 
Click Here to watch the YouTube video.
Andrea Guest, DVR Director, shared her personal history as part of the Delaware Developmental Disabilities Council video series, "Claws and Wings: An Oral History Exploration of Disability in Delaware, 1917-2017."  

The series captures the stories and wisdom of twenty-two unique and extraordinary Delawarean disability advocates and is part of the Delaware Disability History Project.

Click here to view Andrea's video. A link to the project "Introduction & In Memory" video is here.
Wilmington DVR Staff Hosts 
Holiday Collection Drives
Some of the Wilmington DVR Staff and Caroline Jones, President and Founder, Kind to Kids, with donations collected from the holiday collection drive.
Donations collected for the Brackenville Nursing Home from the Wilmington DVR Staff as part of holiday collection drive.
Drives Benefit Foster Children and Seniors
"Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others." 
                         - Brian Tracy
The Wilmington DVR Staff held collection drives this past holiday season, benefiting two organizations dedicated to helping others.

The staff collected toys, arts & crafts supplies, and baby items for Kind to Kids Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to serving abused, neglected, and impoverished children living in
foster care. 

The staff also collected clothes, blankets, and personal care items for Brackenville Nursing Home in Hockessin, Delaware. 

Brenda Rodriguez, District Administrator for the Wilmington office, says that the idea for the drives came from staff awareness of the need in the community. “We decided to adopt Kind for Kids and the Brackenville Nursing Home…and in
a very short time, the Wilmington DVR office collected three boxes of toys for the children in foster care as well as blankets, socks, and toiletries for the nursing home.” Ms. Rodriguez says
both organizations were happy and appreciative for the donations, and her staff is already looking forward to helping other organizations next holiday season.

About Us
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Linking Ability and Business
We provide individualized services to employers and people with disabilities, developing career pathways that link qualified employees to jobs, resulting
in greater independence and a more inclusive workplace.