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Paula Smith of Salt River's Vocational Rehabilitation Program presents Portfolio Development at the CANAR conference held in Nevada. Submitted Photo by Melanie Murray

Vocational Rehabilitation Staff Present at CANAR Conference

Staff members from the Salt River Vocational Rehabilitation Program (SRVR) attended the 2017 annual CANAR conference, December 4-7 in Las Vegas.

CANAR, which stands for Consortia of Administrators for Native American Rehabilitation, is a nonprofit group with a mission to serve as an avenue for collaboration and cooperation between administrators of rehabilitation projects serving Native American communities.

For those who are not familiar with Salt River Vocational Rehabilitation, it is a tribal vocational rehabilitation program serving eligible people with disabilities who are looking to find employment but need some support services in order to be successful.

The annual conference took place at the Green Valley Resort and provided opportunities for vocational rehabilitation staff from different tribes to network with each other and learn about effective service delivery.

The conference is a professional development opportunity for the vocational rehabilitation program and very specific to its needs. Paula Smith, a vocational rehabilitation counselor in the SRPMIC Human Resources Department, presented at a conference workshop and also led a talking circle.

“In our meeting, we shared the importance of the youth receiving transition services. SRVR is life after high school for students on an Individualized Education Program (IEP). We work with juniors and seniors, helping them to become familiar with and have an understanding of what vocational rehabilitation [offers in the way of] supports and services,” Smith said.

The presentation Smith provided was on Portfolio Development. A student has useful tools that they may use as they enter into adulthood in every facet. Whether it be completing a job application, enrolling in school, completing important paperwork or visiting Community departments, the portfolio helps the student meet their needs as they move forward.

The portfolio addressed Transition Domains: Education, Employment, Independent Living, Adult Services and Community Participation.

Smith’s presentation was meant to be a tool for other tribes developing vocation rehab programs for young adults. “Hopefully others can take pieces and implement them into their [own] programs,” Smith said. “I was thankful to be able to present, and I feel like it was a success.”

The goal for SRVR staff is that when young adults with disabilities graduate from high school, they to come to the program so they can receive the proper help toward becoming employed. The law requires that students with disabilities be exposed to information on how to prepare a resume, conduct a job interview, obtain a job, and request the support and services that are out there for them.

If you live in the SRPMIC and have a documented disability or know someone who does and are looking for support services to help you join the workforce, contact the SRPMIC Vocational Rehabilitation Program at (480) 360-2650.