Disability agency serving 3,424 jobseekers transferred from waiting lists since January 1

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Department of Rehabilitation Services has transferred 3,424 job seekers with significant disabilities from waiting lists to active caseloads since January 1.

DRS’ Vocational Rehabilitation and Visual Services staff began providing career planning and employments services to 505 new clients in the most recent group moved from waiting lists on November 7.

In 2017, VR and VS staff helped 2,014 clients successfully prepare for and find employment and served 11,765 Oklahomans with disabilities working towards that goal. The new taxpayers earned an average of $22,212 per year and paid $3,332 in average taxes, while reducing or eliminating dependence on disability benefits and government services.

DRS’ waiting lists have been in place since March 13, 2017, due to prior year revenue reductions.

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Access for All

With the help of a Teaching Tolerance Educator Grant, this teacher created a space where DeafBlind students could be themselves and teach the larger school community about DeafBlindness.

Wendy Harris wanted to start a DeafBlind club at her school. 

An educator for the deaf and blind, Harris noticed that her DeafBlind students at the Metro Deaf School in St. Paul, Minnesota—one of the top schools for the deaf in the United States—were missing out on some key academic and social experiences. The club, she imagined, could fill those gaps and also raise the overall cultural competency of the school.

Read the original article here.

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Oklahoma City Deaf Blind man Creates Gardening service of a small company with the experience of a big company

Oklahoma businessman, Michael Vontress started his own gardening company after working with the Sight Hearing Encouragement Program.  Vontress has Usher’s Syndrome combined with retinitis pigmentosa which has effected his sight and his hearing.

After becoming a client with the Sight Hearing Encouragment Program he began working at others jobs with the help of the organization's job coach, Timothy Oakes.  Vontress was able to acquire a state job through the organization and stayed at the job for some time.  The company he worked for then let Vontress go and he had to consider going back to the typical 9-5 or venture outside the box and gain more independence. He utilized his learning from his job coach and resources from Department Rehabilitation Services (DRS), and realized that he could make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Vontress loves working outdoors and expressed that he has a green thumb and a fondness for nature.  He decided to take a step out of the norm and ventured into the business world.  He established his company, Lawn and Garden by Michael.

"There's nothing better than owning your own business." Vontress stated.  "I can now do what I love and have the confidence in doing it."

Vontress specializes in planting various types of flowers and plant life, care-taking of foiliage and maintain lawn and landscapes of residential and commercial areas.

You can reach Vontress and his services at:

Lawn & Garden by MIchael

(580)-263-9979

vontressmichael@gmail.com