Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation To contact the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, please visit: https://www.dli.pa.gov/Individuals/Disability-Services/ovr/Pages/OVR-Office-

To contact the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, please visit: dli.pa.gov/ovr.

Operating as usual

📢We're hiring! We’re seeking someone with extensive experience in the development and supervision of employment services...
08/19/2021

📢We're hiring!

We’re seeking someone with extensive experience in the development and supervision of employment services; providing services to individuals with disabilities; supervising business units and managing business relationships to serve as our Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation Services Director.

Learn more and apply ➡️ https://bit.ly/2W1bR8f.

Photo description: a megaphone and speech bubble with the text "Join Our Team"

📢We're hiring!

We’re seeking someone with extensive experience in the development and supervision of employment services; providing services to individuals with disabilities; supervising business units and managing business relationships to serve as our Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation Services Director.

Learn more and apply ➡️ https://bit.ly/2W1bR8f.

Photo description: a megaphone and speech bubble with the text "Join Our Team"

Supplier Service Center
07/22/2021
Supplier Service Center

Supplier Service Center

The Supplier Service Center assists with registration, bidding, and account management.  This site provides assistance to companies that want to sell materials or services to state agencies. If you wish to provide construction services to the Commonwealth, please visit Design & Construction. 

Effective today, we are reopening the Order of Selection (OOS) for Pennsylvanians who are Most Significantly Disabled (M...
07/01/2021
Order of Selection (OOS)

Effective today, we are reopening the Order of Selection (OOS) for Pennsylvanians who are Most Significantly Disabled (MSD). Due to this reopening, the waiting list will be discontinued for MSD applicants.

Learn more in the link below!

https://www.dli.pa.gov/Individuals/Disability-Services/OOS/Pages/default.aspx

The PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) will reopen the Order of Selection (OOS) for PA'ians who are Most Significantly Disabled (MSD), effective July 1, 2021. Due to this reopening, the waiting list will be discontinued for MSD applicants.

Meet Ruth Nieliwocki, a student at Rochester Institute of Technology, pursuing her bachelor's degree in criminal justice...
06/15/2021

Meet Ruth Nieliwocki, a student at Rochester Institute of Technology, pursuing her bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Through OVR, Ruth had the opportunity to participate in one of our former summer Commonwealth Internship Programs, where she worked for three months in a paid internship at the Pennsylvania Department of Education. She was also a participant in and then several years later a resident assistant (RA) at our Summer Academy for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, a program that helps prepare students experiencing hearing loss for success in college and employment.

Ruth credits the Academy with helping her succeed in college, and the tools it gave her were one of the reasons she wanted to return as an RA. Ruth shared, “As a student at the deaf and hard of hearing academy camp, I learned countless resources and it was life changing. It was a rich experience, working with the students who are in the same shoes, and I had the opportunity to guide them for three weeks. I showed them resources, advice and ideas for them to use for a better life”.

What’s her advice for other students with hearing loss pursuing post-secondary education? “I would advise students with hearing loss considering enrolling in college to always advocate for themselves,” said Ruth. “That’s the key to break the barriers. Always ask for an interpreter, CART, FM, seating area, volume, note-takers. Whatever suits you and helps you to thrive in college.”

Photo Description: Ruth (right) walks with another student at a former Summer Academy.

Meet Ruth Nieliwocki, a student at Rochester Institute of Technology, pursuing her bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Through OVR, Ruth had the opportunity to participate in one of our former summer Commonwealth Internship Programs, where she worked for three months in a paid internship at the Pennsylvania Department of Education. She was also a participant in and then several years later a resident assistant (RA) at our Summer Academy for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, a program that helps prepare students experiencing hearing loss for success in college and employment.

Ruth credits the Academy with helping her succeed in college, and the tools it gave her were one of the reasons she wanted to return as an RA. Ruth shared, “As a student at the deaf and hard of hearing academy camp, I learned countless resources and it was life changing. It was a rich experience, working with the students who are in the same shoes, and I had the opportunity to guide them for three weeks. I showed them resources, advice and ideas for them to use for a better life”.

What’s her advice for other students with hearing loss pursuing post-secondary education? “I would advise students with hearing loss considering enrolling in college to always advocate for themselves,” said Ruth. “That’s the key to break the barriers. Always ask for an interpreter, CART, FM, seating area, volume, note-takers. Whatever suits you and helps you to thrive in college.”

Photo Description: Ruth (right) walks with another student at a former Summer Academy.

We are excited to be participating in Faith Above My Ability’s first ever nationwide networking connection event! Mark y...
06/09/2021

We are excited to be participating in Faith Above My Ability’s first ever nationwide networking connection event! Mark your calendars for tomorrow evening, 6 – 8 p.m. We hope you can join us!

Image Description: the flyer for the event. Pictures in the flyer include: logos for Faith Above My Ability, City Youth Matrix and OVR and Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins’ photo. Text on flyer: The Power of Together. Brought to you by Faith Above My Ability. Featuring James Ian, Disabled Artist & Presentations by Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins, City Matrix and the PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. 06.10.21. 6 – 8 p.m. Visit https://bit.ly/3vbgMyB to register. www.FaithAboveMyAbility.org

Faith Above my Ability presents it's FIRST EVER nationwide networking connection event- The Power of Together! Faith Above my Ability is a 501 C.3 which educates, advocates, and creates change surrounding issues of access and equality for people with disabilities so that they can live their most empowered lives.
The Power of Together is a virtual event to promote awareness surrounding issues of disability and equity to ignite change, connect people, and learn from other life changing organizations.
Whether you are disabled or not. join us for an interactive evening of fellowship, community, and change making! We have community speakers and a special musical performance by James Ian! You won't want to miss this night of wave making change...let's roll! #faithabovemyability #thepoweroftogether #unity #disabledvoices #timeforchange #thetimeisnow #educate #advocate #disability #createchange 💪🏽♿️

➡️Register here: https://linktr.ee/Faithabovemyability

#DidYouKnow that the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has a new We Can Work page on employment & supportive ser...
05/11/2021
www.dhs.pa.gov

#DidYouKnow that the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has a new We Can Work page on employment & supportive services for people with disabilities?

Click on the link below to explore topics such as preparing for a job, working without losing benefits and finding a job.

05/05/2021

This National Interpreter Appreciation Day, we’d like to share our heartfelt gratitude to all interpreters who are tirelessly working to ensure that the 1.2 million residents of PA who are deaf, hard of hearing or DeafBlind have access to vital information, especially during COVID. We recognize the incredible teams in front of and behind the camera, ensuring vital information is accessible at all times. We recognize interpreters on the front lines at hospitals, clinics and other medical settings. We recognize interpreters working virtually and through new, challenging environments. INTERPRETERS, we recognize you all!

We know you have an incredibly difficult task that has become even more challenging during the pandemic, but your skills and compassion for people who are deaf, DeafBlind or hard of hearing do not go unnoticed! Without you, the world would be a very “silent” place for so many people.

Thank you! 🤟🏻

Photo Description: a collage of images of interpreters with the text "National Interpreter Appreciation Day" written over it.

04/07/2021
#ShotOfHope

Please see below post for important information regarding a #COVID19 clinic for individuals who are #deaf or hard of hearing ⬇.

We are excited to share that the OVR and PA Bureau of Special Education (BSE) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is final...
03/25/2021
BSE-OVR MOU

We are excited to share that the OVR and PA Bureau of Special Education (BSE) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is finalized!

Please access the link below for more info, including a BSE-OVR Partnership Letter and MOU flyer for upcoming webinars on the MOU and corresponding toolkit.

We are excited to share with you the first edition of our newsletter!Click on the link below to access the partnerships,...
03/24/2021
www.dli.pa.gov

We are excited to share with you the first edition of our newsletter!

Click on the link below to access the partnerships, programs, success stories and data we highlighted this quarter.

We hope you enjoy!

OVR COVID-19 Taskforce Team and Subgroup Members Alex ShayAlly WullbrandtAmy MooreAnne StrolloBecky GardnerBeth Ann Fann...
03/10/2021

OVR COVID-19 Taskforce Team and Subgroup Members


Alex Shay
Ally Wullbrandt
Amy Moore
Anne Strollo
Becky Gardner
Beth Ann Fanning
Bhagwan Aggarwal
Bridget Frascella
Brooke Cho
Carole Homolash
Charlene Conrad
Cherylann Falsone
Chris Cowan
Chris Palmer
Chris Zakraysek
Christina Hoerner
Colleen Skedel
Colleen Woodring
Connie Moonen
Darla Openbrier
Doug Rand
Dawn Sokol
Ellen Sprenkle
Hattie McCarter
Howard Albrecht
Ileene Mattis
Jack Hewitt
Jason Gies
Jeff Seabury
Jessica Crum-Lasko
Jim Marker
Joe Smolko
John Miller
Justin Laffey
Karen Walsh-Emma
Kathy Fogel
Kelly Dumm
Kelly Leech
Ken Miller
Kim Garnon
Kim Seigh
Kimberly Gerlach
Kimberly Robinson
Lee Ann Stewart
Lori Murphy
Marci Katona
Mike Jacobson
Nat Raney
Nicole Nedinsky
Patty Sheaffer
Pete Huey
Ralph Roach
Randy Smith
Rick Walters
Rob Hodapp
Russ Goddard
Ruth Lotz
Sara Corrado
Sara Gales
Sarah Vogel
Shari Brightful
Stacie Andrews
Sue Storm
Susan Swartz
Tammy Burke
Tim Kozak
Tracie Maille
Yvelisse Gonzalez

OVR COVID-19 Taskforce Team and Subgroup Members


Alex Shay
Ally Wullbrandt
Amy Moore
Anne Strollo
Becky Gardner
Beth Ann Fanning
Bhagwan Aggarwal
Bridget Frascella
Brooke Cho
Carole Homolash
Charlene Conrad
Cherylann Falsone
Chris Cowan
Chris Palmer
Chris Zakraysek
Christina Hoerner
Colleen Skedel
Colleen Woodring
Connie Moonen
Darla Openbrier
Doug Rand
Dawn Sokol
Ellen Sprenkle
Hattie McCarter
Howard Albrecht
Ileene Mattis
Jack Hewitt
Jason Gies
Jeff Seabury
Jessica Crum-Lasko
Jim Marker
Joe Smolko
John Miller
Justin Laffey
Karen Walsh-Emma
Kathy Fogel
Kelly Dumm
Kelly Leech
Ken Miller
Kim Garnon
Kim Seigh
Kimberly Gerlach
Kimberly Robinson
Lee Ann Stewart
Lori Murphy
Marci Katona
Mike Jacobson
Nat Raney
Nicole Nedinsky
Patty Sheaffer
Pete Huey
Ralph Roach
Randy Smith
Rick Walters
Rob Hodapp
Russ Goddard
Ruth Lotz
Sara Corrado
Sara Gales
Sarah Vogel
Shari Brightful
Stacie Andrews
Sue Storm
Susan Swartz
Tammy Burke
Tim Kozak
Tracie Maille
Yvelisse Gonzalez

ODHH is hosting a virtual Support Service Provider (SSP) training! An SSP is someone who is trained to support individua...
03/04/2021
www.dli.pa.gov

ODHH is hosting a virtual Support Service Provider (SSP) training! An SSP is someone who is trained to support individuals who are Deafblind in leading a more self-determined life. If you have an interest in working with people who are Deafblind, please consider this opportunity!

Learn more ⬇.

We are so excited that our Wilkes-Barre BVRS office will be partnering with Kane Is Able and Johnson College to offer a ...
02/23/2021
Johnson College to Offer Pre-Employment Transition Program - Johnson College of Technology

We are so excited that our Wilkes-Barre BVRS office will be partnering with Kane Is Able and Johnson College to offer a pre-employment transition services program in August that will train students in warehouse and distribution operations.

Students participating will earn college credit, an OSHA certification, a forklift certification and, upon successful completion of the program, will be eligible to be potentially hired by KANE Logistics!

#EmpoweringSuccess

Learn more ⬇.

This Pre-Employment Transition Program prepares students to become entry-level warehouse associates, with an understanding of the supply chain.

Image Description--Hands holding a sign that reads: Wash Your Hands
01/19/2021

Image Description--Hands holding a sign that reads: Wash Your Hands

In addition to wearing a mask + social distancing, it's important to continue to practice healthy habits:
• wash hands often
• avoid touching face
• clean + disinfect frequently used surfaces
• stay home if feeling sick

We are now accepting applications for the 2021 Virtual Summer Academy for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing! The ...
01/13/2021
Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

We are now accepting applications for the 2021 Virtual Summer Academy for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing!

The program, which will run from July 12 - 22, 2021, will offer sessions in self-advocacy skills in the college environment and workplace; work-related skills; communication access options; audiological information; and social emotional skills.

Apply today via the link below!

This program is made possible by the partnership of OVR; the Pennsylvania Office for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing; and the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education’s Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network and Educational Resources for Children with Hearing Loss.

Money mapping (budgeting) is the foundation for independent living – money impacts where we live, what we eat, how we tr...
01/11/2021
Webinars | Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation

Money mapping (budgeting) is the foundation for independent living – money impacts where we live, what we eat, how we travel, our hobbies, our health and more! Join the 1/20 #MoneyTalks webinar to learn how to create your money map and why it’s important!

Register today ⬇️.

Photo Description: Executive Director Shannon Austin's portraitShannon brings 19+ years of combined experience in human ...
12/22/2020

Photo Description: Executive Director Shannon Austin's portrait

Shannon brings 19+ years of combined experience in human resource management, workforce development and vocational rehabilitation to her role as OVR Executive Director. Throughout her professional career, she has worked tirelessly to develop and nurture strong collaborations between government agencies, private businesses and community partners to bring about true inclusion in the workplace.

Shannon’s career at OVR began in 2007 at the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (BVRS) in Pittsburgh. During her tenure at BVRS, Shannon worked as a vocational rehabilitation counselor, vocational rehabilitation supervisor, business service & outreach division supervisor and assistant district administrator.

In 2017, Shannon accepted the position of district administrator with OVR’s Bureau of Blindness & Visual Services, which serves individuals with significant visual impairments across nine counties within southwestern Pennsylvania.

Shannon holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Organizational Leadership and Behavioral & Social Sciences and earned her Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling from West Virginia University. Currently, she is pursuing her PhD in Instructional Management and Leadership at Robert Morris University.

Shannon has been happily married for 30 years and has five children. In her free time, she loves to cook, read and travel

Photo description: Ralph Roach's portraitRalph Roach is currently OVR’s Acting Bureau of Central Operations (BCO) Direct...
12/22/2020

Photo description: Ralph Roach's portrait

Ralph Roach is currently OVR’s Acting Bureau of Central Operations (BCO) Director, in addition to serving as BCO Manager. Ralph has worked with OVR since 2008 when he started as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor in the Reading Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (BVRS) office. He previously served as Chief of the Policy, Planning and Evaluation Division and as an Eastern Employment Outreach Specialist until 2013 when he began leading OVR’s Business Services and Outreach Division as the Division Chief.

Ralph has 30 years of community-based human services experience, and he has expertise in student assistance work; as a Behavioral Specialist and Outpatient Therapist; and in CRP employer outreach and job coaching. Ralph is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and PA Licensed Professional Counselor who earned a Master of Science in Psychology from Shippensburg University (1985) and a bachelor of arts from Messiah College (1982).

He is a current member of the National Rehabilitation Association; past 2018 President of the Pa Rehabilitation Association (PRA) and Mid-Atlantic Region (MAR) of NRA President-Elect; and a past member of the National Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM), the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM).

Ralph is also a husband, father of two and a passionate fisherman and outdoorsman.

Photo description: Jeremiah Underhill's portraitMeet our Deputy Director! Mr. Underhill earned a bachelor’s degree from ...
12/22/2020

Photo description: Jeremiah Underhill's portrait

Meet our Deputy Director! Mr. Underhill earned a bachelor’s degree from Penn State and a Juris Doctorate from Widener Law Commonwealth. Prior to earning his legal education, he was a blue-collar factory worker and home builder. During his professional career, he has worked as a consultant, auditor, solo attorney and legal director.

He has made hundreds of court appearances and litigated more than 50 trials. He previously worked for a Global 2000 technology company, negotiating millions of dollars’ worth of Aerospace, Defense and Marine contracts annually. During his years as a solo attorney he served as a Township Solicitor, Pennsylvania Orphans’ Court Counsel, a Children & Youth Parent’s Attorney and Guardian Ad Litem for children in the foster care system. He also ran the Widener Veterans Law clinic from 2007-2010. His interest in public service work dates to before law school, but his experiences at the law clinic greatly enhanced his passion for community service.

He founded the Dauphin County Bar Association’s Disabled Veterans Lawyer Referral Service in 2013 and served as the director of the program until becoming the Legal Director at Disability Rights of West Virginia (DRWV) in 2016. As the Legal Director at DRWV his duties included the supervision of 17 employees, management of the DRWV federal protection and advocacy programs, and management of the law department. His work at DRWV ensured that West Virginians with disabilities had a voice when their human and legal rights were challenged.

He served on the Board of the Disability Rights Bar Association and WV Children’s Justice Task Force; Chaired the National Disability Rights Network's (NDRN) Legal Strategy Work Group and NDRN TASC Advisory Group; and Co-Chaired the WV Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS) and the WV Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights.

On July 13, 2020, Mr. Underhill transitioned to his new role as the Deputy Director for the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. Mr. Underhill currently lives in Hershey, PA, with his wife and two sons. He enjoys family time, camping, fishing and other outdoor activities.

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Tuesday 8:30am - 4:30pm
Wednesday 8:30am - 4:30pm
Thursday 8:30am - 4:30pm
Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm

Telephone

(717) 787-5244

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