The West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services work with individuals with disabilities to be able to get into vocational schools, college and find a career.
“Good things happen when you get people working,” Branch Supervisor Wayne Hardman told the Weston Rotary Club, at their Wednesday meeting.
Hardman said that once people get working, it doesn’t just help them, but it helps their employer, their family and the economy.
“It gives someone purpose,” he said. “When we take on a client we are investing in that person.”
Hardman said that the WV Division of Rehabilitation has several community partners including Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital (SJMH).
SJMH Chief Operations Officer Kevin Stalnaker said that they have had people from the program become full time employees of the hospital.
Jamie Paulhamus who is a counselor for the Division of Rehab out of the Weston office said that clients first go through a pre-employment application to make sure the client qualifies for the services and to determine if they are viable to enter the work force.
Then, the counselors work with clients on job exploration and set realistic goals to meet.
They also offer other services such as tutoring and some financial aid for those wishing to further their education past a high school diploma or equivalency.
“I really enjoy when I can help a client one on one and give them personal attention,” said Paulhamus.
Paulhamus recalled an instance when a client needed help with learning some computer skills and programs to qualify for a job. She then helped the client learn those skills through various tutorials and the client ended up being hired for that job.
Paulhamus said that sometimes the clients just don’t have the confidence to talk about themselves at an interview, so the counselors give them mock interviews and even speak to employers on their clients behalf.
“We want our clients to have the best chance possible,” she said.