RCOC Business After Hours focuses on employment

At the recent Rangeley Lakes Chamber of Commerce (RCOC) Business After Hours Members Event, held at the Outdoor Heritage Museum in Oquossoc on October 12, Donna Varney was the guest speaker to talk about school-to-work services.

In response to the ongoing debate over the need for a larger workforce, RCOC Chief Executive Amanda Christian thought it was a promising idea to consider alternative solutions. The School to Work Services is a program that the Rangeley Lakes Chamber of Commerce is considering for a future internship position, but should also be considered.

From left: Donna Varney of the Maine Dept. of Labor along with RCOC Exec. Dir. Amanda Christian Stephanie Chu-O’Neil

Donna Varney, Rehabilitation Advisor II for the Maine Department of Labor Bureau of Rehabilitation Services Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, spoke about the program, which provides transitional assistance to students with disabilities and their families.

Applicants who have a documented disability that makes it difficult to find or keep a job are encouraged to apply. Students are encouraged to apply 2 years before their expected high school graduation so that a plan for future employment can be drawn up, but this is not compulsory.

Training after the Abitur is also possible if a specific future job requires it or if it is necessary for other reasons.

It is recommended that students and their parents/guardians visit www.maine.gov/rehab/dvr/youth_transition.shtml to get a better idea of ​​the possibilities.

Once the right candidate has been found, employers and employees are also given a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Advisor to help them along the way. A VR may be able to purchase basic equipment, uniforms or tools, as well as assist in paying for any medical or psychological services that may be required.

Employers could finally get the help they need and, as a bonus, even get the funding to pay wages for the employee. This is a thought worth entertaining.

For more information about this program, visit www.maine.gov/rehab/dvr or call 800.741-2991.

Members of the Rangeley Lakes Chamber of Commerce enjoy pizza and the great setting of the Outdoor Heritage Museum while learning about school-to-work services. Stephanie Chu-O’Neil

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