Dear Fellow Pennsylvanians, Governor Corbett, Secretary Hearthway, RSA Deputy Commissioner Anthony, OVR State Board Members and OVR Executive and Administrative Staff,
It is my honor to have been elected to serve as the Chair of the Pennsylvania State Rehabilitation Council for a second term.
The Council has invested more time and resources into the reviewing and development of the policy suggestions for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) during the past year. Although some changes have had to be made due to fiscal issues, it is our expectation to work with OVR to ensure that individuals seeking employment will continue to receive the highest quality rehabilitation programs.
A special gratitude is extended to the Vocational Rehabilitation administration and the staff from Central Office and the local district satellite offices for their support of their local Citizen Advisory Councils' (CAC) members. The Rehabilitation council views the local CAC councils as crucial to knowing the local districts' unique issues regarding employment. To support the CACs, the council has worked to update the CAC handbook, started including CAC information on the Council's website, and are planning two public forums in conjunction with CACs to learn about roadblocks to employment in their areas.
Also, this past year the council and OVR staff have worked on joining their customer satisfaction surveys. Questions have been added to the OVR survey that the council seeks information from customers on to fulfill their mandate. The council will also continue to seek input from their web based customer satisfaction survey at their website www.parac.org.
The successful relationships PaRC members have been building strengthens State and local partnerships within the disability community, and other related collaborative partners including the Statewide Independent Living Council, the Department of Education and the Workforce Investment Boards. These partnerships have been driven by the members and their dedication to forming these relationships. Strengthening these relationships and working together is viewed as critical in these times of shortfalls in funding within the State disability services.
The State Rehabilitation Council has continued its initiative to collaborate with other related resources and disability partners that affect the outcomes of successful placement within the work forces for individuals with disabilities. This effort continues as we reach out to vested partners in the private and public sectors that can help create more employment options for individuals with disabilities.
The Council continues to monitor the Workforce Investment Act and other disability related legislation at the State and Federal legislature affecting the employment and advancement of persons with disabilities. The Council also supports the Independent Living movement in that persons with disabilities need to receive vital services such as attendant care, transportation, housing, etc., so that they can get and sustain jobs.
Through our partnership with Labor and Industry, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Board of Directors and other disability related groups, the Council will continue its effort to build strong relationships with multi-cultural advisory committees to develop unique employment opportunities for the new and diverse ethnic and cultural disability groups.
The PaRC is comprised of members with their own unique talents and expertise in their various fields and personal understandings related to their own disability communities continues to help improve the access to vocational programs in Pennsylvania.
The PaRC will continue to work with the PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation towards the advancement of persons with disabilities seeking and/or maintaining employment and professional development in Pennsylvania.
PA Rehabilitation Council Chair