Rehab director: 4K+ have seen success in program

Published 12:44 am Thursday, October 12, 2017

Four thousand, six hundred and thirty-three – that’s the number of people with disabilities served by Vocational Rehabilitation Service who have been placed at a job and held jobs for a certain length of time.

“That’s a great number,” said Jane Elizabeth Burdeshaw, commissioner of Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services. Burdeshaw spoke at Wednesday’s annual Covington County Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities luncheon.

“Each one represents a person with a unique set of challenges we helped overcome.”

Burdeshaw thanked the employers and educators who worked with those people.

“I want to tell you, ‘thank you,’ without you it’s not possible,” she said. “Without educating the public, it’s not possible.”

Burdeshaw talked briefly about the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

“We hone in on young people,” she said.

Burdeshaw said it’s important for them to get to people earlier in order to equip them with skills and education to be successful.

She said the talent pool is versatile.

“We have individuals who need less complex jobs,” she said. “But we have those who are highly educated with specific skill sets.”

Burdeshaw said this is the second year in a row that the average hourly wage of people they’ve placed in jobs has increased 30 cents.

At the luncheon, the local committee recognized:

  • South Central Alabama Mental Health with the partnership award;
  • Straughn High School Special Education Teacher and Chair Sherri Williams as the educator of the year;
  • Wright Brothers Construction as employer of the year;
  • Andalusia Manor as collaboration award;
  • Jan White as advocate of the year;
  • Mark Agee as student of the year;
  • Stephanie Feagin as large business employee of the year.