The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation sent two vocational rehabilitation counselor aides (Tomeko Olaitiman and John Cabrera), three vocational rehabilitation counselors (Rose Ichiuo, Jiana Camacho, and Jane Tudela), as well as one case service manager (Bernice Ravell) to Guam on March 26-29 for professional development meetings, as well as for the 20th Annual Guam System for Assistive Technology Conference.
On March 27, the OVR Counseling staff had a meeting at the U.S. District Court House with Philip Marlowe, compliance officer, regarding the Rehabilitation Act Section 503 and the Responsibility of Federal Contractors in Affirmative Action Plans. According to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs under the U.S. Department of Labor:
Section 503 prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against individuals with disabilities, and requires these employers to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain these individuals. The new rule strengthens the affirmative action provisions of the regulations to aid contractors in their efforts to recruit and hire individuals with disabilities, and improve job opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
That same day, the OVR Counseling staff had a meeting with the Guam Division of Vocational Rehabilitation staff at their office to share vocational rehabilitation successes and challenges experienced by both islands.
On March 28, OVR Counseling staff found their way to the Somnak Ballroom of the Westin Resort for the 20th GSAT Assistive Technology Conference. GSAT is a program funded by the Assistive Technology Act of 2004, which focuses on assistive technology devices and AT services. The conference was spearheaded by Carla Torres, AT and special programs coordinator for the Guam Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service. Presentations were made on AT advances in law and advocacy, professionalizing the field of AT, Guam Department of Education AT (then and now), loan programs for self-employment, the evolution of AT from a VR perspective, and GSAT (past, present, and future).
Prior to their return flight to Saipan on March 29, three of the OVR Counseling staff went to Adelup to spend a few moments at a community event, the Family Fun Day Picnic, hosted by the Guam Developmental Disabilities Council. (OVR)