Vocational rehabilitation services move to Pace

Ramon Rios

PACE — The vocational rehabilitation division of the Florida Department of Education has moved.

The move from the Pensacola State College Milton campus to an office in Pace was completed with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new address, 4634 Summerdale Boulevard, on Feb. 20.

Elaine Mccabe works in the communications department of vocational rehabilitation office in Pensacola. She explained that all services would continue as usual without interruption.

“We help anyone with a form of disability, mental or physical, that would prevent them from getting a job,” Mccabe said.

The vocational rehabilitation division also has a Transition Program for students still in high school. The student has to be at least 14 years old and have a documented disability.

“Vocational rehabilitation is a federal-state program that helps people who have physical or mental disabilities prepare for, find, or keep a job. VR is committed to helping people with disabilities find meaningful careers,” according to their brochure.

The federal partnership stems from the funding the vocational rehabilitation division receives from the federal government, 78.7 percent, over $161 million in 2018. The additional 21.3 percent of funding comes from the state.

Tawana Gilbert is the Area One director for VR, which stretches from Escambia to Suwannee counties. She is responsible for eight full-time and four satellite offices.

“The ultimate No. 1 goal here is to find them a job and help maintain that job by providing stability,” Gilbert said.

That stability can come in the form of additional education, medical assistance, and counseling or medical equipment support.

VR services are available to people who want to be employed, have a documented physical or mental disability that interferes with their ability to become employed and they need VR’s help to prepare for, find or keep a job.

“We don’t have job lists,” said Ida Hannah, a VR counselor. “But we do have contract providers to find placements for our clients.”

Hannah said they do so many things to help remove impediments to finding jobs for people with disabilities that if you think you may qualify call the VR at 850-245-3399 or go to www.rehabworks.org.

“We approach each individual on a case-by-case basis,” Hannah said.