Henry is one of many individuals who has received assistance from the DES Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program, which provides a variety of services to individuals with disabilities, with the ultimate goal to enter the workforce and retain employment.
In the summer of 2021, Henry’s psychologist recommended that he participate in the VR program. Due to a back injury and other disabilities, the VR program seemed like an ideal fit, as it would enable Henry to find a less intensive job, and ideally, an opportunity to work from home.
Once a client enters the VR program, they are assigned a VR counselor, and together they determine a desired employment outcome. Based on the client’s goals, they are referred to a DES employment partner who helps them prepare for the workforce. In Henry’s case, his VR counselor, Noura Fares, connected Henry to an employment specialist who provided him with job coaching opportunities, resume and cover letter assistance, mock interviews, ways to dress, Disability 101 and advice on working while receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
“He was really consistent with meeting up with his employment specialist,” said Noura. “Henry was always in contact with him and myself. He was very professional, and was very outgoing, very friendly, very respectful.”
The process at times was difficult for Henry, as many of the resources through VR had to be done virtually due to pandemic restrictions. Being a self-proclaimed “old school guy,” at times he became frustrated with some of the ways things are now done virtually. He recalled how much easier it was back in the day when you could grab the Sunday paper and head down to a business and apply for a job directly, rather than the way it’s done in today’s digital world.
His perseverance paid off, however. After a period of working with his employment specialist and applying for jobs, he found a job that suited his needs. He started working as a technical and customer support specialist for a large company in Arizona.
“I’m glad there’s something (like VR) available. Because if there wasn’t something available to me, I probably would’ve had a harder time even getting something to begin with,” said Henry.
Henry stated he would definitely recommend VR to others and added that he was grateful for the opportunities VR presented him, and the way VR tries to accommodate all of the clients with whom they work.
“If the opportunity is there for someone to get a potential of finding a purpose in life, you bet (I’d recommend VR). That’s the most important thing, because that’s what makes your time in this world a valuable thing.”
For more information on VR, visit des.az.gov/vr.