Texas City is an example of how Workforce Solutions in the Gulf Coast is leading the way in innovation and opportunity. Two years after it was decided that the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), now known as Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS), would become a part of Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), the Texas City career office added eleven VRS members to its family.
Change is inevitable for the Texas City career office. Management all agree that providing VRS resources “in-house” is a way to bring diversity to staff and overall better service to the community. It is understood that growing pains will occur as both entities learn the processes of the other, but these steps are necessary to help the residents of Texas City. Current Texas City staff and the new VRS additions are excited about this opportunity.
Some of the VRS services include vocational counseling and guidance, assistance with a college education or trade certification, vocational adjustment, and on-the-job training. There is also help to obtain rehabilitation devices, including hearing aids, wheelchairs, artificial limbs, and braces. The additional layer of services at Workforce Solutions helps to level the playing field for Texas City residents who are truly looking for work, and employers looking to diversify.
VRS staff explained to me the benefits and learning opportunities that currently exist with this move. Before the integration, logistical issues such as lost appointments and miscommunication often occurred. With both agencies being under one roof, a VRS client isn’t simply transferred from a vocational rehabilitation counselor to an employment counselor, but rather becomes a job seeker with a team of counselors for guidance. This effort brings about growth and opportunity for Texas City, but also a requirement to educate the public of what’s happening. Through the many changes VRS has had since its existence, they have always had a physical sign outside their office for clients to see. Here and now in the gulf coast region, the Workforce Solutions career offices have a new layer of diversity that is visible to the public.
Coincidentally, the Texas City career office staff welcomed its new neighbors in the middle of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). Every October, Workforce Solutions celebrates the value people with disabilities add to their organizations and the Gulf Coast regional economy.
Through the availability of assistive technologies like JAWS screen reader and MAGic screen magnifier, participation in disability awareness events, and now this monumental step in integrating VRS into its career office, the Texas City Workforce Solutions is simultaneously experiencing history and innovation, truly making it a great city of Texas.
Diego Trevino is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions in the Houston – Galveston area. Before joining the regional team, he served as a greeter, employment counselor and staffing specialist. Earlier in his career he traveled to South Korea where he taught students English. He uses past teaching experiences and present workforce knowledge to conduct job skills seminars throughout the 13 county Gulf Coast Region.