Vocational Rehabilitation

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Vocational Rehabilitation Services

The purpose of NCBVI’s vocational rehabilitation program is to assist blind and low vision Nebraskans to enter the workforce, retain employment, and advance in their chosen career fields. Each consumer is assigned a vocational rehabilitation counselor who guides them through the process. Counselors assist consumers in exploring career options, identifying an employment goal, obtaining the education and training they need to reach that goal, and then searching for a job in their chosen career field. This may include providing financial assistance for college or trade school, purchasing computer technology, or providing assistance with developing a resume.

Employment retention services, such as mobility and technology training, are also provided for people who are currently in the workforce and need these services in order to remain employed.

Services provided by rehabilitation counselors include, but are not limited to:

  • Job exploration counseling
  • Development of an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) which outlines the education, training, tools, and other services a consumer will need in order to reach their employment goal
  • Financial assistance with higher education, vocational and technical school, and other job training programs
  • Authorization for training in cane travel, Braille, home management, independent living skills, and adaptive technology
  • Referral to other related services, such as housing and childcare assistance, mental health counseling, and Social Security
  • Job placement assistance
  • Jobsite assessment and accommodations
  • Job retention services
  • Other individualized services, tools, and training needed in order to obtain or maintain employment

Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS)

NCBVI provides Pre-Employment Transition Services to blind and low vision youth and young adults between the ages of 14 and 21. NCBVI coordinates with K-12 schools to ensure that students make a smooth transition from high school to adult life.

NCBVI provides the following pre-employment transition services:

  • Job exploration counseling
  • Work-based learning experiences, which may include in-school or after school opportunities, experiences outside of the traditional school setting, and/or internships
  • Counseling on opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive transition or postsecondary educational programs
  • Workplace readiness training to develop social skills and independent living
  • Instruction in self-advocacy 

NCBVI coordinates the following programs where pre-employment transition services are provided in a group format:

Work and Gain Experience in the Summer (WAGES)
WAGES is a six-week work-based learning program held annually in Lincoln for blind and visually impaired youth between the ages of 16-21. The youth live on the University of Nebraska campus, which allows them to gain experience in living in a college dorm, meet other blind youth from across the state of Nebraska, and learn from successful blind counselors.  The primary purpose of the WAGES program is to provide meaningful work experiences to blind and visually impaired youth. The youth work full-time jobs (30-40 hours a week) at a variety of locations, such as restaurants, childcare centers, libraries, hotels, museums, and government agencies.  During the evenings and weekends, students receive training in blindness skills such as adaptive technology, cooking, and taking public transportation to and from work. Students also participate in a wide variety of recreational and enrichment activities.

Winnerfest:
Teenagers who are visually impaired from across the state participate in a semi-annual retreat. Activities focus on personal achievement, goal setting, communication and other life skills.

NFB Career Mentoring Program:
In collaboration with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), NCBVI runs an annual mentoring program which connects blind and visually impaired youth to successful blind adult mentors in various occupations. Students and mentors participate in activities and workshops throughout the year that allow students to prepare for higher education and employment. Mentors also introduce students to a wide range of work-based learning experiences, such as automobile repair, facility management, food service, and bicycle repair and maintenance. Each July, several mentees in the program choose to attend the National Convention of the National Federation of the Blind, where they have the opportunity to meet other blind youth from across the country, network with blind adults in every career field, and learn about the latest adaptive technology and legislation that impacts the blind community.

 

There is no cost for services.  NCBVI is state and federally funded.  

 

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