Dear fellow Pennsylvanians, Governor Rendell, Commissioner Ruttledge, Secretary Vito, Mr. Gannon, Members of the State Board of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, and others interested in vocational rehabilitation,
It is once again a great honor to be elected and serve for another year as PaRC Chair for the 2010- 2011 term. I'll strive to do all that I can for the Council, with the help of the other Officers, all the Committee Chairs, other Council members, and of course with the tremendous support of the Rehabilitation Council Staff, Linda Williams, Jill Weaver, and Lee Eberly.
I would like to recognize the leadership and hard work of outgoing Vice Chair, Donald Ziegler, who has given PaRC several years of his valuable time, expertise and energy. Hopefully, Don will remain active and continue his involvement. Don's replacement as Vice Chair, Chuck Giambrone has been a tremendous asset to our Legislative Committee over the last year and I'll be depending on Chuck even more now. Melissa DiSanto has stepped up and will temporarily serve as Member at Large. Unfortunately however, the term of Dr. Kate Seelman has ended, and Linda Loar has left the Council due to a change of jobs. They will all be greatly missed, as each has been very active with committee work.
Through the council's work this year, we've learned that persons with disabilities in Pennsylvania need to get and keep jobs. They need more transition and transportation services and their support services such as attendant care in place to be successful.
We've learned as a council that there is strength in collaboration with employers, state and local workforce investment boards, schools, colleges, universities and other state agencies and organizations. We know that we have to work with fewer dollars, so we have to be more creative in order to get more persons with disabilities in PA working.
I've been so pleased to hear from both OVR and Rehabilitation Council Staff that our most recent contingent of membership over the past few years has been more productive than ever, and we can only keep this up by developing leaders from our member ranks.
We are in the process of filling several vacant Council seats, and hopefully we will be close to having a full membership very soon. We have some big shoes to fill. I invite all interested Pennsylvanians with knowledge of disability issues and the time to commit to council work to consider serving on the council. Information on becoming a member and the appointment form can be found on our website at www.parac.org. and in the back of this annual report.
Lastly, please take the time and encourage others who've utilized OVR services to take the council's customer satisfaction survey which can also be accessed on the website at www.parac.org. We already know that OVR is exemplary in many areas. Services can only get better with input from those using the services to tell us where to focus our future goals and effort.
I know I can count on you to step up and make this next year one of the most productive in Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Council history.
Joseph M. Kraher, M.A., CRC, LRC, LPC, ABDA
PA Rehabilitation Council 2009-2010 Chair