Dear fellow Pennsylvanians, Governor Corbett, Commissioner Ruttledge, Secretary Hearthway, Members of the State Board of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, and OVR Executive and Administrative Staff,
I would like to humbly acknowledge to all of you the great honor it has been to serve as Chair of the Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Council for the past two annual terms. Over the course of those two years, and the other three previous years that I served on Council, I have come to know many outstanding individuals giving of themselves tirelessly with their time, energy and expertise in order to improve upon the Pennsylvania system of Vocational Rehabilitation.
It has been a great honor to get to know and work on several committees with numerous Council members, past and present, all with an insurmountable degree of experience in the field of vocational rehabilitation. This experience has come almost equally from provider members, such as myself with 40 plus years of voc. rehab experience and also from members who themselves have been successfully placed customers of Pennsylvania's Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. Together this group has been one of the most formidable advocacy groups for employment services for disabled individuals in the nation!
Lastly, and most especially, I would like to have everyone recognize the day to day hard work of the PARC staff, Linda Williams, Jill Weaver, and Lee Eberly. These three are the glue to holding all the different pieces of the Council in place. As all of the Council members are volunteers with for the most part full time jobs, it is only because of the efforts of these three that the Council can function as one of the best State Rehabilitation Councils in the country. I've always been impressed when speaking to other state rehab councils as to the almost state of the art practices these three staff, Linda, Jill and Lee have incorporated into the workings of the Council, sometimes way before it's initiated in other states.
Best wishes to the new Officers, Charles Giambrone, Larry Kauffman and Emily Scott. These are just a few of the most active members and their leadership will be evident immediately.
There are many challenges ahead in the coming years in all areas of our lives due to current economic problems. However, as a council of individuals, who represent and are the voice for Pennsylvanians with disabilities we must remain vigilant that as a state, we provide the opportunities for persons with disabilities to achieve their educational and employment goals and aspirations.
Joseph M. Kraher, M.A., CRC, LRC, LPC, ABDA
PA Rehabilitation Council 2009-2011 Chair