The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Andrea Guest, Director, Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
As we approach the fall season, the conference and meeting invitations pour into my inbox. It’s the time of year when we celebrate those who have achieved their goals and inspire those who are starting on their career pathways. It’s also the time of year when many of our providers as well as DVR hold annual events.

In December, we will join the State Rehabilitation Council to host the Annual Workplace Inclusion Awards Luncheon, which celebrates businesses who have created diverse work environments and employees with disabilities who have successfully achieved their employment goals. It’s an inspiring event and brings us back to the core of our mission and purpose. 

We are also busy planning a fantastic Transition Conference, also in December. Our partners in this project include the Department of Education (DOE), Division of Developmental Disability Services (DDDS), and the Division for the Visually Impaired (DVI). We expect more than 700 students, teachers, parents, and professionals to attend. Session topics include employer expectations, leading your IEP, financial literacy as well as career pathways, just to name a few. Look for a few surprises! Be sure to register early and before the registration date ends.

Although unemployment remains low in Delaware, people with disabilities are still unemployed at higher rates than the general population. We have identified skills gaps that must be addressed in order for all students to have access to the same career pathways and apprenticeship programs. This fall, the DVR will participate in a pilot study along with the DOE’s Career and Tech Ed Program to identify the barriers that students with disabilities face in entering certain career paths. Ultimately, the goal is to provide resources and accommodations to close the skills gap for students with IEPs and 504 Plans. 

Please read the story about Bloomsberry Flowers that highlights the successful partnership with this local business, the VR participant and their Counselor. The DVR is mission driven and dual customer focused, meaning that we serve individuals with disabilities and businesses as well. This story is a great example of the how we provided individualized services to both populations to benefit everyone involved. 

I look forward to seeing you at one of the upcoming events that put the spotlight on successful employment of people with disabilities!

DVR and Florist Partner: New Hire Blooms
Valeria preparing flowers that will be used in the freshly made arrangements.
Carlos asking Valeria to create a new floral arrangement.
Carlos asking Valeria to create a new floral arrangement.
Valeria completing the floral arrangement that Carlos asked her to create. 
Some people often have work on their mind when they aren’t at work. Mike Papili, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Counselor, appears to be a person like that. Last year, while driving around on a day off, Mike saw Bloomsberry Flowers in Wilmington and remembered that one of his consumers, a high school student with
a passion for flowers, is about to graduate. He immediately thought that
he had to make a connection.

Mike personally called the floral shop owner, Mr. Ubaldo Carlos Valles, at Bloomsberry Flowers in Wilmington. He asked Mr. Valles if they could meet to discuss some business about hiring someone that’s passionate about flowers. They met in person and had
a great discussion. Mike described Mr. Valles as “very open and willing to listen.” The discussion included an overview about DVR services and the types of
help that can be given to him and how
DVR services may save his business money. 
At DVR, connecting qualified job seekers
to jobs is a key part of our mission
and fulfilling this action requires us to
build and maintain relationships with
businesses of all sizes, in all industries across the state. This dual customer focused approach means we serve
both job seekers and businesses.

The timing of their initial meeting was perfect; Mr. Valles was looking for new employees. Mr. Valles, who goes by Carlos, hired Valeria Ogando, with
great enthusiasm. He said he hired Valeria because he saw she had common sense and wanted to give her a chance. “I wanted to pay it forward; this is how
the world works,” said Carlos. By hiring Valeria, he also created an inclusive workplace for his business, demonstrating his value for diversity. 

Valeria, who is Deaf, has been working at the floral shop since February and loves it. “The creativity and combination of flowers is the best part of working in a flower shop," said Valeria. Bloomsberry Flowers is a delightful, full-service florist; Valeria creates beautiful floral designs for all occasions including weddings. She
has had some formal training and
also receives on-the-job training at Bloomsberry under Carlos’ direction. She wants to make floral arranging her life long career.  Read More
New DVR Video Captures Heart of
Success of the Project SEARCH program

It's exciting to share another video in DVR’s video series. 
This video takes a look at our partnership with the Project SEARCH program at the Christiana Care Health System. 
Have you ever wanted to know more about the Project SEARCH program? Or wondered why the program is so successful?  Watch this brief video to learn first-hand how this successful Transition program transforms its interns into valuable job ready candidates. Hear program participants discuss their experience and success as well as instructors talk about how the program and partnership works. It’s life-changing! 
Project SEARCH is a nationally recognized high school transition program designed to help young people with disabilities build transferable work skills and find gainful employment.
Our first video highlighting the benefits of workplace inclusion and our partnership with Dover Downs can be viewed here .  

Christiana Care Health System Employee Briana Congo shares her story and success as
a Project SEARCH intern in DVR's
new video.

Watch the video here .
"Attire for Hire" Closet Open for Donations
At DVR, we are professionals who care for people on many levels. Helping people with disabilities find employment is our main focus.  We also understand the many facets and costs associated with attaining and maintaining employment.   

With this care in mind combined with innovation, the Wilmington DVR office has turned an old mailroom into a clothing closet. The new closet, Attire for Hire,  is designed to give DVR consumers support and confidence for interviews and working in professional jobs. This initiative may also help DVR minimize costs as well as recycle usable clothing. Congrats and well done!   

Attire for Hire is ready for donations of gently used and new professional business attire, for both women and men, including shirts, blouses, pants, ties, belts, suits, and skirts.  In addition, accessories such as scarves and shoes as well as hangers are wanted. Please, no shorts or sundresses. Please donate only clean, stain-free and damage-free items.  READ MORE
2018 Delaware Transition Conference
2018 National Disability Employment
Awareness Month
Now is the Time to Plan How Your Organization Can Get Involved!
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). For more than 70 years, each October has been set aside to bring awareness to and celebrate the importance and value of employment for people with disabilities. Organized by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), this national event celebrates all disabilities and all of America’s workers with disabilities. 

Now is the time to plan how your organization can join in to celebrate, show support, and build awareness of this important observance.

The ODEP online depot is an awesome place to start for information and ideas. The webpage contains an array of resources such as the NDEAM’s history, planning ideas, the 2018 news release, and access to sample NDEAM reference materials for use in your articles, press releases, and social media. 

Project SEARCH Update
2018 DelDOT Project SEARCH Graduates with Governor Carney and DelDOT employees.
2018 DelDOT Project SEARCH graduates with Governor Carney and DelDOT employees. 

Secretary of Labor Cerron Cade addressing the crowd at the 2018 DelDOT Project SEARCH graduation ceremony.
Secretary of Labor Cade addressing the crowd at the graduation event.

Project SEARCH logo

DelDOT Project SEARCH Celebrates
its First Graduating Class

Graduation events always bring excitement. But this graduation event was extra special because it was the Delaware Department of Transportation’s (DelDOT) Project SEARCH celebrating its first graduating class as well as the completion of the first year of the DelDOT Project SEARCH partnership.

Even so, the graduates had all of the honors at the event. During the year, each intern had completed the work-based program alongside DelDOT employees; learning skills and knowledge that will help them transition from high school to the workplace.  

Congratulations, Interns!

Project SEARCH at DelDOT is one of four Project SEARCH programs in Delaware along with Project SEARCH at Christiana Care, Project SEARCH at Bayhealth, and Project SEARCH at Nanticoke.  Project SEARCH is a nationally recognized high school transition program designed to help young people with disabilities build transferable work skills and find gainful employment.
About Us
The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Linking Ability & 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.  

The Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Administrative Office:
4425 N. Market Street
Wilmington, DE 19802