Job opportunities for those with disabilities

In collaboration with the State Rehabilitation Council and the Workforce Investment Agency under the CNMI Department of Labor, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation successfully found jobs and provided rehabilitation services for 48 clients at the closing of the year.

Labor Secretary and former State Rehabilitation Council member Edith Deleon Guerrero said that workforce development includes individuals with disabilities, youth, the aging, minorities, and all able-bodied workers.

“We continue to place great effort in working closely with the training providers to develop training programs that are responsive to the needs of the business community. Doing so builds the necessary workforce talent and skills of the CNMI’s human capital, which aligns with the increased CNMI economic development activities. Gov. Ralph DLG Torres has made definitive strides to address the CW cap issue while current developments show that jobs are being created for everyone,” Deleon Guerrero said.

The Northern Mariana Islands State Rehabilitation Council and Office of Vocational Rehabilitation presented their FY 2016 Annual Report this week, noting a 118-percent increase in case closure from the previous year’s case closure information.

Torres said that the council and OVR support and prepare employers and employees with disabilities for competitive integrated employment.

“In the past year, the integration of key partners in workforce development has improved. Work training is a significant priority and providing opportunities for employment to the people of the Commonwealth relies on these partnerships. I extend my appreciation to WIA, OVR, and SRC for their tireless efforts in supporting full inclusion of workers with disabilities and their right to live independently,” Torres said.

According to OVR, the previous year’s caseload represented 10.4-percent increase, with over 300 individuals seeking assistance.

Deleon Guerrero noted that data sharing to better provide work experience and training for clients has increased.

“Communication between OVR and WIA has progressed in terms of training placement and fulfilling certification requirements. From pre-employment to transitioning, our partners have been steadfast in employment support and work readiness,” Deleon Guerrero said.

OVR director Arlene Yamagata, MS, CRC said that a total of 12 employers/businesses partnered with OVR to provide work-experience training and/or on-the-job training, representing a 9.1-percent increase, including 13 employers/businesses who hired OVR consumers, representing a 225-percent increase from previous years.

Expressing her heartfelt appreciation to the Rehabilitation Services Administration, Torres, and the State Rehabilitation Council under the leadership of former chair Pamela Sablan and current chair Elizabeth Ada for their continued support, Yamagata said the path to achieving successful employment outcomes is complex.

“… Each stakeholder’s spirit and tenacity to moving past obstacles is what culminates in success, which is the case with the 48 cases that were closed last fiscal year. When the going gets tough, these individuals do not give up because they believe in their clients and in the pursuit of each client’s dream. Together, we can do so much for our clients, their families, and our communities,” Yamagata said. (PR)

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