The Snowshoe Career Center in Marlinton is much more than a place to find assistance when seeking employment. It also offers space to other services, including the Division of Rehabilitation Services.
While the main office for DRS is in Charleston, it has 31 field offices throughout the state. Counselor Ginny Ramos works out of the Lewisburg office, as well as at the Snowshoe Career Center, where she meets with Pocahontas County clients.
Agency spokesperson Tracy Carr explained that Ramos works with students and adults who have disabilities and assists them with pursuing higher education and jobs.
“The disability range is so broad,” Carr said. “It can be everything from a physical disability, a cognitive disability – whether it be a learning disability, insulin dependent diabetes – you are eligible for our services. We don’t have the age restrictions. We don’t start with anybody until they reach the eleventh grade, but you’re not really too old to start working on continuing to work.”
Those interested in assistance need to call Ramos and set up a meeting. The application process is more like an interview instead of just filling out an application.
“We ask a lot of questions and that’s her [Ramos’] opportunity to start getting to know what your goals are, what problems you are having that are preventing you from going to work,” Carr said. “Or if you have a job, are you at risk of losing that job due to some disability factor. She starts learning about all of that and we do discuss the conditions that might make you eligible for services.”
Ramos also works closely with schools to connect with students with disabilities.
Once a person is approved for services, Ramos stays in contact to ensure that the plan is working.
“If it’s a student that we’re sponsoring in college, we’re staying with them,” Carr said. “That student is going to be a client throughout that college career. As long as he or she stays in school, maintains a certain grade point average, stays focused on an employment goal that they’re trying to reach, we’re going to stick with them. We continue to make contact with them throughout the semester and make sure they are doing okay. Then we’re going to work with them until they get out of school and they’re going to find a job. That’s what makes a good case closure is that person actually gets to employment.”
For clients who are looking for a job, the system is slightly different.
“There’s a ninety-day period where we want them to stay in the job without any issues and then after ninety days, we would close their case,” Carr explained. “All services are individualized. We look at the person, their employment goal, their disability, their physical limitations, their mental limita- tions, learning limitations, all those things. We look at their abilities – what skill sets they ultimately have. We take all those factors and then figure out what services they need to help them reach the goal they’ve identified.”
For more information on the services provided by DRS, contact counselor Ginny Ramos at the Lewisburg office at 304-647-7515.
Suzanne Stewart may becontacted at firstname.lastname@example.org