Michigan Laws Regarding Telling Employers About Hiv

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ANNUAL REPORT – Fiscal Year 2007
October 1, 2006 – September 30, 2007


―If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you."

The name Michigan originated from the French adaptation of the Ojibwe term mishigami,
meaning "large water" or "large lake". Bounded by four of the five Great Lakes, plus Lake
Saint Clair, Michigan has the longest freshwater shoreline in the world. With 10,083 inland
lakes and 3,288 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, a person in Michigan is never more than
85 miles (137 km) from open Great Lakes water and is never more than six miles (10 km)
from a natural water source.

The only state to consist entirely of two peninsulas, the Lower Peninsula of Michigan is
sometimes dubbed "the mitten," owing to its shape. When asked where in Michigan one
comes from, a resident of the Lower Peninsula may often point to the corresponding part of
his or her hand. The Upper Peninsula (often referred to as The U.P.) is separated from the
Lower Peninsula by the Straits of Mackinac, a five-mile (8 km) channel that joins Lake
Huron to Lake Michigan. The Upper Peninsula (whose residents are often called
"Yoopers") is economically important for tourism and natural resources. The Peninsulas
are connected by the five-mile long Mackinac Bridge, which is the third longest suspension
bridge between anchorages in the world.

The Upper Peninsula is a breathtakingly beautiful, rugged, heavily forested, sparsely
populated place, where severe winters are commonplace. The Lower Peninsula, home to
most of the people, has great geographic diversity and is dotted by small towns, forests,
inland lakes, urban centers and fertile farmland in all directions.

The shorelines of Michigan are covered by over 115 lighthouses; their mission is to warn
mariners of possible danger, and they do their job well. The lighthouses also stand as
proud beacons to the Michigan success story, and this state's vital relationship with the
wonders of the Great Lakes.

Michigan’s economy underwent a massive change at the turn of the 20th century, with the
birth of the automotive industry becoming the major industry of Michigan. Since the 1970s,
Michigan's industrial base eroded as the auto industry began to abandon the state's
industrial parks in favor of less expensive labor found overseas and in the Southern United
States. Nevertheless, with more than 10 million residents, Michigan remains a large and
influential state, ranking eighth in population among the 50 states.

While Michigan ranks first among the states in production of motor vehicles and parts, it is
also a leader in many other manufacturing and processing lines, including prepared
cereals, machine tools, airplane parts, refrigerators, hardware, and furniture. The state
produces important amounts of iron, copper, iodine, gypsum, bromine, salt, lime, gravel,
and cement. Michigan's farms are leaders in the production of apples, cherries, beans,
pears, grapes, potatoes, and sugar beets. Michigan's forests contribute significantly to the
state's economy, supporting thousands of jobs in the wood-product, tourism, and
recreation industries.

―Disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of
the individuals to live independently, enjoy self-determination, make choices, contribute to
society, pursue meaningful careers, and enjoy full inclusion and integration in the
economic, political, social, cultural, and educational mainstream of American society.‖
- The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.


Opening Remarks                                               2
MRC Overview                                                  4
Our Membership                                                5
MRC Business Meetings                                         7
MRC Budget                                                    8
MRC Strategic Business Plan                                   9
MRC Committee Structure                                       9
MRC Mandated Functions & Outcomes                            11
Public Vocational Rehabilitation in Michigan                 20
MRS Highlights                                               21
MRS Action Plan Goals & Outcomes                             23
Michigan Career & Technical Institute                        27
Services to Youth                                            29
Working with Michigan Employers                              32
MRS Disability Management Program                            32
MRS District Office Summaries                                33
In Closing                                                   45

During 2007, the Michigan Rehabilitation Council (MRC) and Michigan Rehabilitation
Services (MRS) continued a strong partnership based on mutual respect and proactive
dynamic tension. The Council partnered with MRS at all levels of their system redesign
and long term planning process. We continue to emphasize the need for staff training at all
levels of the organization and with a special emphasis on succession planning. The MRC
has made significant recommendations for improvements in the VR system and will
continue to evaluate as the recommendations are implemented.

Michigan Rehabilitation Services again supported the Council’s Scholarship Program of
mentoring MRS customers to participate in the Michigan Rehabilitation Conference. As
this program grows and expands, we have some ―alumnae‖ who returned to mentor the
―new class,‖ and some have been appointed to our Council.

The Michigan Rehabilitation Council increased by 14 members. We are energized by their
commitment and willingness to engage in the Council’s activities and take leadership roles
in our committees and with partnerships including Michigan Rehabilitation Services.
The Council is constantly challenged by the difficult economic climate in our state and the
threats that it brings to Michigan Rehabilitation Services. Because MRC and the MRS
have customer service and customer success as our common goals, the Council believes
that together we will ascertain the best methods to continue delivering quality vocational
rehabilitation services in Michigan.

Cecily J. Cagle – Chairperson

The relationship Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) enjoys with our State
Rehabilitation Council, Michigan Rehabilitation Council (MRC), seems to epitomize the
intent of the Rehabilitation Act amendments, which shifted their role from advisory to
partner. The MRC is a priority partner to MRS and very effective voice of consumers with
disabilities. It has been a great benefit to MRS operations and the customers we serve to
have the MRC voice at the table of our planning and decisions. Because of their consistent
advocacy, joint problem solving, and issue identification, MRS decisions and plans have
become richer and more effective.

We sincerely appreciate the dedication of MRC members and staff to tackle some very
tough Michigan challenges, such as 7.7% unemployment, significant staff turnover and
unfilled vacancies, restrictions on staff travel, training and meetings, efforts to improve
front-end customer service, need for organization redesign to improve program
efficiencies, and advocacy for more state-level support and funding. The MRC has also
played a key leadership role in designing and improving our statewide needs assessment
process. They have also enhanced our strategic planning process by providing a unique
customer perspective. The MRC was a primary impetus of our collaboration to develop
strategies to prevent the need for Order of Section for Services, including clarification of
factors leading to OSS implementation.

MRS applauds the pioneer role MRC has played in establishing a national rehabilitation
council to provide timely and effective advocacy and marketing for the VR program. We
have found such advocacy efforts at the state level to be very effective.

As well as we work together in partnership to promote excellent services and outcomes for
persons with disabilities, MRS is very pleased to see MRC maintain a high degree of
integrity and independence in identifying areas for continuous improvement of the VR
program and consistently offering assistance to address these issues.

The MRS/MRC partnership in Michigan works very well and generates significant benefit to
the VR program and customers of the program. We are very pleased to have such an
effective partnership in Michigan.

Jaye N. Shamsiddeen


Our Legislative History:
In the 1992 amendments to the federal legislation, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section
105 was added which established the State Rehabilitation Advisory Council (SRAC). The
mandate to the SRAC was to serve as the consumer voice to the federally funded state
level public vocational rehabilitation (VR) service agency. Section 105 was strengthened
in the 1998 amendments to the Rehabilitation Act when the word ―advisory‖ was removed
and the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) was expected to now serve as a full partner to
the public VR agency in their state.

Our Authority:
The State Rehabilitation Council in our state, the Michigan Rehabilitation Council (MRC) , is
authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended and enacted through
Governor’s Executive Order. The federal mandates of the MRC include:

Work in partnership with Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS, the public VR agency in
Michigan) regarding essential planning and service delivery intended to result in meeting
the employment potential of Michiganians with disabilities.

Review and analyze program effectiveness, create and analyze consumer satisfaction
materials, render concerns and recommendations to MRS derived from performance
standards, measurements of rehabilitation services, and public input.

Advise the governor and state agencies on the performance of vocational rehabilitation in
Michigan regarding eligibility, program effectiveness and effect on individuals with
disabilities. This includes preparation and distribution of this annual report.

Coordinate the work of the SRC with the activities of other Michigan statewide disability-
related councils. This includes establishing and maintaining a positive working relationship
with the State Independent Living Council (SILC).

Our Purpose:
The Michigan Rehabilitation Council (MRC) gives advise to and works in strategic
partnership with Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS), the public VR agency in our
state. The MRC provides MRS with an external, consumer-oriented perspective when
designing and implementing programs and policy. The Council also provides consumers
of VR services with a formal mechanism to influence the direction of rehabilitation
programs in Michigan at both the systemic and policy levels.

Our Mission:
The mission of the MRC is to improve the vocational rehabilitation services in Michigan.

Our Vision:
The vision of the MRC is that vocational rehabilitation services will be provided in a manner
which is respectful, equitable and effective in achieving meaningful employment outcomes
for people with disabilities.

Our Values:
Our membership believes:
    in the worth and dignity of each individual;
    the right to choice is realized by access to full information;
    work opportunities open doors to individual independence and participation in
      community life;
    that a focus on an individual’s assets and strengths leads to success;
    person-centered goals, services plans and delivery systems lead to individual
    shared roles and responsibilities improve satisfaction with the rehabilitation process
      and outcomes; and
    collaboration and partnerships with federal, state, local, community and private
      entities are critical for system improvement.

Our Principles:
Our membership will uphold:
    outreach to Michigan citizens with disabilities in a manner which hears, learns and
      advocates to further enhance inclusive communities;
    a broad definition of diversity that honors and appreciates disability alongside race,
      ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation and religion as an integral part of the
      human experience;
    a partnership based on a spirit of trust and cooperation with MRS administration and
      staff so that collaborative efforts will benefit from the MRC customer voice;
    an alliance with the public vocational rehabilitation program in structuring and
      conducting their service system in ways that recognize and value disability culture
      and the social, political, historic and economic experience of disability;
    collaboration with state and non-government agencies to promote meaningful and
      sustainable employment for everyone;
    an alliance with the public vocational rehabilitation program in structuring and
      conducting their service system in ways that reflect the social, political, historical
      and economical experiences of disability; and
    collaboration with state and non-government agencies to promote meaningful and
      sustainable employment for everyone.

―Never doubt that a thoughtful group of citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only
thing that has.‖ - Margaret Mead

Daily Business Operations - The MRC physical plant is managed in an office suite which is
autonomous from the state agency. The three staff members (Executive Director, Program
Director and Executive Assistant) strive to assure the success of the MRC membership as
they work toward the achievement of the federal mandates. In the event that Council
members have competing priority commitments to their lives outside of their MRC
responsibilities, the staff can step in and represent the membership.

Voting Members - In an effort to uphold our federal mandates, we continually work to
recruit and recommend for consideration of Governor appointments, Michigan citizens who

reflect the diversity present in our state and have a passion for the ongoing growth and
development of the Michigan public VR service system. The MRC began the fiscal year
with 14 new appointees for a total of 21 voting members which include 57% persons with
disabilities, 33% current or former MRS customers, and 29% minority representation.

Ex-Officio Members - The MRC has 5 ex-officio members to assure compliance with our
membership mandate. Since these individuals are employees of the State of Michigan,
they have joined the MRC membership in the ex-officio status. They include 80% persons
with disabilities and 60% minority representation.

―Many hands make light work.‖ – John Heywood


VOTING MEMBER                                  REPRESENTATION

NORMA BAUER of Lansing                         Michigan Statewide Independent Living

KEITH BENNETT of Plymouth                      Business, Labor & Industry

CAROL BERGQUIST of Wilson                      American Indian 121
                                               Vocational Rehabilitation Projects

CECILY CAGLE of Kalamazoo                      Disability Advocate

ELEANOR CHANG of Ann Arbor                     Disability Advocate

BETH CHILDRESS of Grand Haven                  Disability Advocate

ADOLPH CWIK of East Jordan                     Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

JACQUELINE DAY of Lansing                      Disability Advocate

EDDIE MAE DIXON of Clinton Township            Disability Advocate

SHON HALACKA of Bloomfield Hills               Disability Advocate

DEBRA HILVERS of Belleville                    CAUSE (Citizens Alliance to Uphold
                                               Special Education)

MARWAN KAYYALI of Byron Center                 Business, Labor & Industry

MANUELA KRESS of Lansing                       Client Assistance Program

NANCY MELKE of Westland                        Disability Advocate

SHARON RIVERA of Canton                        Business, Labor & Industry

                                                 Council on Labor & Economic Growth

GEORGE FELIX SIRLS of Detroit                    Disability Advocate

MICHAEL TANNER of Flint                          Business, Labor & Industry

JACQUELINE THOMAS of Marquette                   Business, Labor & Industry

DEBORAH WARFIELD of Kalamazoo                    Disability Advocate

RICHARD WEIR of Ann Arbor                        Disability Advocate

LUKE ZELLY of Flint                              Disability Advocate

EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS                               REPRESENTATION

JAYE N. SHAMSIDDEEN                              MI Department of Labor & Economic
State Director                                   Growth – MI Rehabilitation Services
                                                 (MDLEG, MRS)

DEBORAH BRADLEY                                  MDLEG, MRS
Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

LEAMON JONES                                     MDLEG, MI Commission for
Director of Employment Services                  the Blind (MCB)

SHERYL DIAMOND                                   MI Department of Education, Office
Policy Consultant                                of Special Education & Early Intervention

DEBORAH WIESE                                    MDLEG, MRS
Hearings Manager & Ombudsperson

―It is seldom in life that one knows that a coming event is to be of importance.‖
– Anya Seton

MRC BUSINESS MEETINGS - The full Council meets four times a year in various
locations around our state. Quite often, the afternoon prior to the formal Business Meeting,
an ―In Service Session‖ is conducted for the membership. This informal educational
opportunity was created to assure that our members are well informed with regard to the
critical issues being faced by either customers of MRS or the MRS service system.

Business Meetings are structured to: Listen to and hear from consumers and others; Learn
about programs, activities and needs specific to each region of the state; Engage in
dialogue with the MRS State Director on service system challenges; Build/Support

collaborations with public and private partners involved in rehabilitation and employment in
Michigan; and Conduct the business of the Council in a public setting.

MICHIGAN ECONOMY IMPACTS MEETING SCHEDULE - In the midst of this fiscal year,
the Council operations were challenged by Governor Directives to State of Michigan
Government Business, which restricted in-person meetings and related travel expenses.
Despite the fact that our budget operates outside of state government, the membership
determined that they needed to respect the directives and update their annual Business
Meeting calendar. Instead of the mandated four meetings (typically held in person), the
membership determined that three in-person meetings and one teleconference meeting
would support the Governor’s intentions. Following is a summary of the business meetings
held in fiscal year 2007. Though the membership recognized the importance of upholding
austere budget practices, they determined it was critical to hold meetings so that they were
well informed about the MRS service environment during this economic crisis.

The MRC conducted its first quarter Business Meeting in Saginaw (December 2006). MRS
District, Site Managers and staff presented at the meeting, with public comment received
from MRS partners and customers. The membership was informed that the fiscal year
2006 financial review was completed with no exceptions noted.

The MRC conducted its second quarter Business Meeting in February 2007 in Kalamazoo.
As in December, MRS District, Site Managers and staff attended the meeting and informed
the membership of district activities. Public comment was also received from MRS
partners and customers. During the two days prior to the Business Meeting, the
membership conducted their Annual Retreat, with activities designed to further the ―team‖
focus as well as educational sessions relevant to the State Plan, the MRC Strategic Plan
and Project Excellence.

The third Business Meeting was held in early June 2007 via teleconference. This meeting
provided a venue to move the MRC business forward, while having fruitful discussion
about the impact that the Michigan economic crisis was having on the public VR system.

The final in-person Business Meeting took place in July 2007 in Okemos. The membership
took action on a number of issues including the assignment of a new MRS Executive Team
member from DLEG, the 2008 Business Meeting schedule, and the Annual Election.

In July 1994, the State Rehabilitation Councils were created. It was at this time that MRS
sought and received input from the disability community regarding the best method of
organization and funding for the Michigan SRC. A grant between MRS and a statewide
disability organization was created, so that the Council could independently manage their
operations and staff. The grantee serves as the MRC employer of record and processes
all accounts payable, for an annual fiduciary fee. This arrangement has been in place for
thirteen years and has worked quite effectively for all parties. The grant includes funding
specific to the support of three full-time staff, an office, and the operational resources
needed for active membership.

Each spring the MRC Executive Committee prepares an Annual Budget Plan to support
both operations and staffing. Once the membership has reviewed and approved the
budget, it is presented to MRS for negotiation. The MRC Chair, Vice Chair, and Executive
Director meet with the MRS State Director and Liaison to the MRC to negotiate the
Council’s request.

"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is
success.‖ – Henry Ford

The MRC Strategic Business Plan (FY 2006 – 2009) was updated and affirmed by the full
membership in February 2007. The Plan has been designed to directly correlate with the
SRC federal mandates. It includes three goals and objectives, with designated
responsibilities to each of the 4 MRC Committees.

Goal 1 - Impact positive changes in VR Services
Objective: 1. Participate in, evaluate, record, follow-up and disseminate information to the
Membership and the public on MRS services and programs including: Service delivery
process, staff and customer job retention, quality of employment, customer satisfaction,
State Plan, Michigan Career & Technical Institute (the MRS residential trade school), and
customer orientation.

Goal 2 - Enhance visibility of VR services to Michigan citizens with disabilities
Objectives: 1. Create/select method and instruments to report and interact with customers
regarding employment; 2. Conduct outreach activities with the American Indian
Community; and 3. Plan, pilot and conduct CIL focus groups.

Goal 3 - Establish and maintain effective partnerships to improve VR services
Objectives: 1. Create opportunities for participation of all statewide partners in MRC
meetings, e.g.: MRS, Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs), Consumer Involvement
Councils (CICs), Centers for Independent Living (CILs) Arcs, and explore new forums to
hear counselor and other service provider issues; 2. Identify and assess the status of
current partnerships and who represents the Council in those partnerships. Define
partnerships and their value and objectives, target partnerships, update marketing tools,
and do outreach with disability specific groups; 3. Explore partnerships with non-
rehabilitation, but related organizations that have a positive impact on the MRC Mission,
e.g.: employers; and 4. Develop and implement a program to train Council members to
participate in educational legislative activities.

―If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and
give it all you’ve got.‖ – Lee Iacocca


There are 4 MRC Committees: Executive, Partners & Legislature, Service Delivery
Effectiveness, and State Plan. At our annual meeting held in July 2007, we held our bi-
annual Executive Committee Elections. Our Committee members include:

Executive Committee:
Members: Cecily Cagle – Chair, Carol Bergquist – Vice Chair, Jackie Thomas – Past Chair,
Beth Childress, Eddie Mae Dixon, and Felix Sirls.
Charge: Oversee the activities of the Council in response to its identified function in
accordance with the Rehabilitation Act, mission, business plan, and staffing capacity
through the following objectives: 1. Manage the Council structure, acting on behalf of the
membership between Business Meetings in relation to the MRC business operations; 2.
Review and provide oversight of fiscal operations, including the annual budget building
process; 3. Monitor Committee responsibilities; 4. Conduct annual performance appraisal
for the Executive Director; 5. Ensure achievements of federal mandates; and 6. Monitor
the Memorandum of Understanding between MRC and MVRC.

Partners & Legislature
Members: Nan Melke – Chair, Jacqueline Day, Shon Halacka, Sharon Rivera, Michael
Tanner and Jackie Thomas.
Charge: To develop and maintain relationships to further the MRC mission with the
disability community, businesses and the legislature with the following objectives: 1.
Create and implement an MRC marketing plan; 2. Identify, establish and maintain
mandated and other strategic relationships with customers and advocacy groups which will
further the MRC mission; and 3. Educate and advocate for the MRC and MRS to the state
legislature and Congress.

Service Delivery Effectiveness:
Members: Carol Bergquist – Chair, Keith Bennett, Deb Bradley, Beth Childress, Deb
Hilvers, Marwan Kayyali, Manuela Kress, and Deborah Warfield.
Charge: To increase the number of satisfied VR customers through the following
objectives: 1. Build a strong relationship and work in partnership with Project Excellence
(PE) regarding MRS Customer Satisfaction Data; 2. Obtain information on satisfaction of
services from MRS Counselors, staff and outside agencies by reviewing current internal
and external data; 3. Build relationships with MCTI in order to obtain customer input and
evaluate the residential trade school’s service delivery system; 4. Develop proposals for
viable grant opportunities and engage in partnership activities with the MVRC (the non-
profit arm of the Council); 5. Utilize the ADA checklist (as developed for the MDLEG/MRS
Workforce Bureau Inclusion Workgroup Report) for membership site visits to One-Stops in
order to determine accessibility standards; 6. Review current MRC Order of Selection
Position Paper to determine necessary updates or changes; and 7. Monitor MRS service
delivery as it relates to unserved and underserved populations.

State Plan Committee:
Members: Eddie Mae Dixon – Chair, Eleanor Chang, Adolph Cwik, Sheryl Diamond, Felix
Sirls, Rick Weir, and Deb Wiese.
Charge: To ensure consumer input into the State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation
Services in Michigan through the following objectives: 1. Develop a tracking mechanism
for the service system priorities as recommended in Section 4.2 of the State Plan to ensure
progress updates and accomplishments; 2. Develop a method to obtain information
relating to the needs of persons with disabilities and our partners in the rehabilitation and
disability communities; 3. Complete the annual State Plan process; and 4. Track
implementation and assess effectiveness of RSA monitoring and re-design process.

―The highest reward we get from work is not what we get for it, but what we become by it.‖
 – An unknown source


FUNCTION 1 - Consult with the Workforce Investment Board on Council functions.
OUTCOMES: In fiscal year 2006, a member of the Council of Labor and Economic Growth
(CLEG), the State Workforce Investment Board, was appointed as a voting member to the
MRC. In addition, Jaye Shamsiddeen, Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) State
Director, as a member of CLEG and an Ex-Officio member of the MRC shared relevant
information. At the request of J. Shamsiddeen, the MRC provided input respective to
people with disabilities for the CLEG project, ―Low Wage Worker Toolkit‖, which resulted in
the document being updated.

FUNCTION 2 - To review, analyze, and advise the general vocational rehabilitation
program of its responsibilities under the Rehabilitation Act.
OUTCOMES: This mandate was achieved through active participation in the following
MRS activities: (1) Planning meetings and attendance at a statewide MRS t eleconference
call related to front end services (2) MRS Ambassador Team meetings (3) MRS Senior
Manager Meetings (4) MRS Long Term Planning Meetings (5) Bureau Leadership Council
Meetings (6) Policy Cadre Team - provided input to policy related to threats and acts of
violence and the customer myths brochure (7) Presented at an MRS New Counselor
Training, ―The Training Academy‖ (8) Review of quarterly MRS casework review reports (9)
MRS Marketing group and subgroups related to creating a joint MRC/MRS Annual Report,
collecting customer success stories, legislative action, and forms and publications (10)
MRS Order of Selection workgroup (11) MRS Impartial Hearings Officer work group (12)
MRS Statewide grant review team (13) MRS Orientation Review work group (14) the
Quality Improvement Team and (15) Consultation with the MRS Ombudsperson.

The MRC also facilitated activities in working with the state agency as related to this
mandate: (1) Worked with Project Excellence and MRS in planning meetings, distribution
and collection of college and vocational training survey data (2) Met with members of the
MRS Consumer Cadre regarding implementation of a customer success story project (3)
Worked with Project Excellence and MRS on the customer orientation modalities follow up
(4) Completed the Mystery Shopper Report and received an affirmative response from
MRS (5) Received an update from the Bureau regarding their implementation of
recommendations made by the MRC in the 2004 MCTI Student Focus Group Report and
(6) Facilitated a Central Administration Office Morale session.

―Ordinary people believe only in the possible. Extraordinary people visualize not what is
possible or probable, but rather what is impossible. And by visualizing the impossible, they
begin to see it as possible.‖ – Cherie Carter-Scott

Gaining Public Input - The Council utilized the following opportunities to listen, learn, and
then represent the gained knowledge during our advocacy work with MRS.

Business Meeting Public Comment:

The MRC has continued to explore options for increasing public comment at its quarterly
business meetings. The most successful efforts are seen when the Council and local MRS
District Office staff work together to advertise the meetings and make personal contacts to
customers, legislators and local community partners. As a result, the Council has had the
opportunity to hear public comment from MRS customers and partners about agency
successes as well as challenges. MRC members gain insight to the MRS system as they
learn first hand about local issues and projects, while being provided with the opportunity
for interaction with MRS partners, customers, and staff.

Examples of comments received during fiscal year 2007 Business Meetings:
Kim Stigley of Bay City shared her experience of starting a small business of making
jewelry to sell on the internet and at shows as an MRS customer. She described the
assistance and support she received from her Counselor and other MRS Staff during the
developmental and operational phases of establishing her business as outstanding. Kim
also reported that her experience as an exhibitor at the Michigan Rehabilitation
Conference through the Customers of MRS Leadership Program was a huge benefit to her
as it was educational, enjoyable and to date the best profit making experience she has
had. She also really enjoyed seeing people throughout the conference wearing her jewelry.

Kim Hammerding, Executive Director of Arc – Calhoun County in Battle Creek, reported
that there is a long standing collaboration between the Arc and local MRS office. A current
partnership effort is an employment initiative through the Michigan Developmental
Disabilities Council to identify opportunities for individuals who have significant disabilities
and had been labeled as unemployable.

Joel Cooper, President and CEO of the Disability Resource Center (DRC) in Kalamazoo,
stated that this center for independent living was celebrating its 25 th Anniversary of serving
people with disabilities and their families. Joel shared examples of innovative activities that
DRC and MRS have partnered on including Independent Living and Disability Disclosure
workshops and a driving course. DRC has also been working with MCTI Program
Managers to educate them about CIL services. In addition, he discussed the collaborative
grants between DRC and the local MRS Office for the provision of independent living
assessments and participation at MRS orientations.

Merry Battles of Kalamazoo reported that when she was thirty-one it was discovered she
had a blood clot behind her brain. After her surgery, she was unable to walk or talk. At that
point, she was a young mother with two young children working full-time and needed to
start her life all over again. When she found out about MRS, she was suicidal and had lost
all hope. MRS told her that they could help. Merry returned to Kalamazoo Valley
Community College in 1995. The night before she was to start classes she called her
counselor and told her that she couldn’t do it. Her counselor assured her that she could,
and she did. Merry said that she now has a Master’s Degree and has turned her life
completely around because of the MRS services offered to her. Merry stated that when
she began with MRS she was very angry and her counselor hung in with her through it all.
Merry ended her public comment by thanking God for MRS because of the second chance
it gave her and her children.

Disability Voice (DV) - The DV partnership effort consists of a number of statewide
organizations that either advocate and/or serve consumers with disabilities. The members
are: the MRC, the SILC, the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition (MDRC), Michigan
Commission for the Blind (MCB), the Michigan Commission on Disability Concerns
(MCDC), Michigan Protection and Advocacy Services (MPAS), the Michigan
Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC), MRS, and the Social Security Administration
(SSA). Since each organization strives to include public input into their respective state
plans and/or annual reports, it made economic sense to form a partnership with a mission
of gaining consumer input. This effort resulted in town hall meetings scheduled at various
locations throughout Michigan. A loca l community planning group worked in partnership
with DV to create the town hall meeting agenda. The Council views this activity as a great
resource of citizen input, as well as an empowering experience for the local community
members, as they incorporate the results into strategic action plans.

Adrian Disability Voice Town Hall Meeting - On May 16, 2007 approximately 90 people
attended one of the two Disability Voice Town Hall sessions offered in Adrian (a rural
community in southeast Michigan). A summary report was published which provided
participant input surrounding the following themes: housing, healthcare, transportation,
education, recreation, personal assistance/community supports, employment, and family
supports. Each theme was reported with the following categories: Community Wants and
Needs; Community Assets; Potential Allies/Organizations/Groups; Identified Decision -
Makers; and Strategies. To review the report: www.mrccouncil.org

Employment Focus Group (Saginaw, December 2007) - The Council hosted a focus group
in the greater Saginaw area in partnership with the local MRS Office and the local center
for independent living (Disability Network of Mid-Michigan). While a modality of short
answer questions was utilized, participants were able to write their responses and/or make
verbal comment to each of the questions. The following questions were utilized by the
MRC member who served as the group facilitator:
1 – Are you currently employed?
2 – How did you find your job?
3 – If a friend asked you for help in finding a job, what advice would you give them?
4 – If you could change one thing about the Saginaw area job market, what would it be?
5 – Do you know about Michigan Rehabilitation Services?
6 – If you know about MRS, what do you think their job is?
7 - If you have been a customer of MRS, what was the best part of working with the
8 – If you could change one thing about MRS, what would it be?
9 – If you were in charge of MRS, how would you go about getting consumer input?

There were evenly mixed responses about MRS from a small group of attendees. For
those who were aware of the agency, they understood that MRS helped people with
disabilities find jobs. The group described Saginaw as a community with a poor job
market, but they knew that you had to stay persistent in a job search. The group
concluded that MRS needed to do a better job of letting people know that they exist and
providing training for new and upcoming career paths. The last question stimulated a
lengthy discussion about the successes and challenges of the MRS service system. The

overall theme was related to the need for MRS Counselors to be given more time in their
jobs to do what they are good at: counseling!

MEETING WITH THE MRS STATE DIRECTOR - The newly elected Chair and Vice Chair
re-enacted the quarterly meeting schedule with the MRS State Director and MRC Liaison.
The intention of this meeting is to ensure effective communication between the MRC and
MRS as well as to discuss current and future service issues or trends.

MRS STAFFING - The MRC requested and received data related to the Counselor staffing
census at each MRS field office. The MRC Executive Director met with MRS
Administration to gain understanding of the monthly Counselor staffing report and the
related implications. This document will be provided to the membership (with initial training
at the January 2008 Retreat). This information will be utilized by the MRC Service Delivery
Effectiveness Committee to evaluate the effectiveness of the MRS system.

When the MRC learned that the Bureau had 17 Counselor vacancies (statewide), a letter
advocating for an exception to the hiring freeze that MRS is expected to uphold, which is in
place through Executive Directive , was sent to the Governor.

FUNCTION 3 - In partnership with MRS develop, agree to, and review State goals and
priorities in the State Plan and evaluate the effectiveness of the VR program.

GENERAL OUTCOMES - The goals and priorities identified in Section 4.11(e) of the fiscal
year 2008 Update to the State Plan were jointly developed by the Agency and Council. The
Council's role in this work task was augmented by involvement on the MRS Ambassador,
Long Term Planning and Executive Teams as well as utilizing input from the membership.
During fiscal year 2007, the Mystery Shopper Activity was designed to further identify and
provide input to the agency regarding the consistency of the MRS program.

MYSTERY SHOPPER ACTIVITY - In late Spring 2006, the Council began receiving
reports from customers, partners, and agency staff that there were ―waiting lists‖ for MRS
services in the southeast corner of our state. The Mystery Shopper Activity (MSA) was
designed and implemented in an attempt to determine if customers were waiting excessive
periods of time to attend MRS Orientation sessions in their respective communities. The
Council also anticipated learning about the MRS standard of Customer Service across the
state. Two goals were determined for the MSA: 1) To determine the timeframe a customer
might face when being scheduled for MRS Customer Orientation, and 2) To experience the
customer service received by customers during this initial point of contact at each MRS
field office. A report of findings and recommendations was submitted to MRS, with a
proactive response received from the agency. To review the report: www.mrccouncil.org

FUNCTION 4 - To advise and assist MRS in the preparation of the State Plan, the strategic
plan, reports, needs assessments, and evaluation.

STATE PLAN FISCAL YEAR 2008 - MRS determined the need to update the State Plan
process beginning with the Plan for Fiscal Year 2008. Upon the invitation of the Bureau,
the MRC participated in meetings early in the first quarter to provide input to changes to

the process. The MRC reviewed each section of the State Plan and provided input as
relevant. The MRC also participated on a State Plan training call convened by
Rehabilitation Services Administration. In addition, the Council drafted and approved
Section 4.2 of the fiscal year 2008 Update to the State Plan. The MRC State Plan
Committee is in the process of determining a design for tracking the commitments and
recommendations made in the State Plan by MRS and the MRC. (Section 4.2 is available
at www.mrccouncil.org)

NEEDS ASSESSMENT - The Council continues its involvement with regard to the Needs
Assessment 2008 report. Activities have included researching information related to the
terms ―unserved‖ & ―underserved‖; determining resources available for analysis; and
methods to utilize to gather needed information. The work group is comprised of: MRS
staff, Project Excellence Staff, Michigan Commission for the Blind staff, and MRC

GENERAL ADVICE - The MRC advises and assists MRS in strategic planning through
participation on their Long Term Planning, Executive, Ambassador and Re-Design Teams.
In addition, a member of the Council has been an active participant on one of the Bureau
Re-Design Implementation work groups.

FUNCTION 5 - To conduct a review and analysis of consumer satisfaction.

GENERAL OUTCOMES: The following techniques were utilized by the MRC to achieve
Function 5:
Customer Satisfaction Survey
MRS has entered into a grant agreement with Project Excellence (PE) (created by
Michigan State University, Department of Education, and Office of Rehabilitation and
Disability Studies) to serve as the MRS external program evaluation and consultation
component. PE continues to effectively partner with the Council in the design and
implementation of the Customer Satisfaction Survey. The MRC received the Customer
Satisfaction Survey Report for Fiscal Year 2006 in September 2007 and is working on the
review and feedback to MRS.

Anecdotal Customer Satisfaction Data
The MRC collected anecdotal customer satisfaction information through the following
activities: (1) Employment Focus Group in Saginaw (2) Disability Voice (3) Exhibiting,
attending and facilitating the Customer Leadership Program at the Michigan Rehabilitation
Conference (4) Exhibiting and attending the Transition Conference (5) Public Comment
received at Business Meetings (6) E-mails and phone calls received at the MRC office and
(7) Customer Focus Group designed to gather information for the MRS Long Term
Planning environmental scan process.

The common overarching themes included: customers of MRS want quality employment
opportunities with benefits; customers want Counselors with more time to counsel, rather
than working on administrative tasks; partners recognize the MRS Counseling Staff as the
most dedicated, talented and committed professionals with whom they work with.

MRS LONG TERM PLANNING – Customer Focus Group - The MRC Executive Director
represented the Council on the MRS Long Term Planning (LTP) Group which lasted for
approximately 18 months. The overall charge for this group was to determine the priorities
and subsequent goals for the MRS service delivery system. One of the work tasks was to
conduct an environmental scanning process related to the internal and external functions
of the agency. Focus groups were designed as one of the modalities to gather
environmental data.

In May 2007, the Council took the lead on hosting a Customer Focus Group by inviting
those individuals who had participated in the Michigan Rehabilitation Conference
Leadership Program. The LTP group had designed seven questions to be used in all focus
groups. The focus group process included the opportunity for each member to respond to
the question, which was followed by group discussion and determination of the top 4 – 5
issues. The following summary depicts the priority issues chosen by the focus group

1. The Bureau vision and mission can be accomplished by being the best at _______?
Input and communication from customers; learning about the optimal manner in which
services need to be offered and provided; counselor expertise; and counselors being
flexible as they work with customers for quality employment outcomes.

2. How can MRS manage, maximize, and expand resources to enhance customer
employment outcomes? Community partnerships (true resource collaboration between
agencies that share customers) and educating congress and legislators.

3. Which strategic partnerships would allow MRS to better achieve its vision and mission?
Customers, Veteran’s Administration and Corrections.

4. With limited employment options in Michigan’s depressed and shifting economy, how
can MRS prepare customers to achieve quality employment outcomes? Life long learning
skills; motivated and excited counselors who support customers and engage in continual
training so that they are well educated on current issues and challenges of persons with

5. To what extent should MRS services and resources be dedicated to promoting
independence of people with disabilities? All services and resources should be viewed as
leading to and impacting a customer’s choice for quality of an independent lifestyle.

6. What best practice technologies are available to enhance services to customers?
Counselors should have a mechanism to share their best practices; more on-line options
for job exploration etc. at the MRS website or at the use of a computer at the local office; e-
learn for customers – created in partnership with customers; and laptops and internet
access – partner with corporate America to provide computers, software, training, and
internet access for all customers.

7. How can the Bureau best address the technological disadvantages faced by people with
disabilities? MRS should conduct a technology assessment to determine what the
disadvantages are and then ask for customer input; MRS should provide at least the

expertise of what cutting edge technology is out there; and MRS should have someone
that is educated with the latest information about employer incentives (tax breaks, etc.) for
people with disabilities and educate customers about these opportunities.

Summary of Customer Benefits:
After determining the above priority responses, the Focus Group Members reached
unanimous consensus on what they believed their responses would provide to the average
customer of MRS: confidence, empowerment, independence, success, and an overall
increase in quality of life.

FUNCTION 6 - To prepare and submit an annual report to the Commissioner of the
Rehabilitation Services Administration, the Governor, and the public.

The Annual Report for fiscal year 2007 was submitted to the Rehabilitation Services
Administration in the second quarter.

FUNCTION 7 - To coordinate with other councils, as specified by the Rehabilitation Act.

GENERAL OUTCOME: The following partnerships continued to be strengthened during
fiscal year 2007 through coordination of activities and participation in partner events:

Advisory Council on Mental Illness (ACMI): The MRC is awaiting a response from the
Department of Community Health regarding membership for ACMI. It is expect ed that this
situation will be resolved during fiscal year 2008.

Michigan Commission on Disability Concerns (MCDC): The MRC staff continued
participation on the steering committee for the annual Youth Leadership Forum facilitated
by the MCDC. The MRC has continued to be an active participant in the Invest in Abilities
initiative, dedicated to designing statewide activities for the federally recognized week.

Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC): Staff from the MDDC and members
of Saginaw area RICCS conducted a presentation at the December MRC Business
Meeting. The MDDC and the MRC share a member who has been appointed by the
Governor to both Councils. This member has utilized the opportunity to enhance
communication to each Council as well as initiated future discussion about a joint
statewide employment visioning session for other partners in the disability community.
MRC also attends MDDC Business Meetings as schedules allow.

MI Job Coalition: Attendance at the meetings for this statewide disability community effort
continues to provide a valuable resource on the progress, needs and impact of Michigan
legislation designed to assist persons with disabilities receiving social security benefits
return to work and maintain their health benefits.

Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council (MISILC): Staff members attended each
other’s Business Meetings; reports regarding each Council’s activities were facilitated
through a jointly appointed Council Member; the Executive Directors of each Council have
held a meeting with plans to implement a regular schedule; and MRC members and staff
provided input to the State Plan for Independent Living through a variety of activities.

Michigan Transition Services Association: The MRC attended the annual conference as a
participant and exhibitor, gaining useful updates on transition issues across the state. In
addition, feedback was garnered from participants about their experiences when working
with MRS Counseling staff, which was overwhelmingly positive.

Michigan Works Association (MWA): The MRC sent correspondence to Dell Alston of the
Department of Labor and Economic Growth regarding Council concerns with hiring for the
Disability Navigator positions at the One Stop Service Centers. The MRC has continued to
track this issue through input received at a subsequent Business Meeting from the State
Director as well as through participation on the MWA Disability Sub-Committee. The Sub-
Committee is also tracking progress on the One-Stop Inclusion Report Recommendations.

Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC): The Council Staff continues to attend the
SEAC meetings and relays pertinent information to the membership.

OTHER Statewide Activities - The MRC also continued participation in the following
Statewide activities: (1) Advocate Summit (schedules and facilitates) (2) Connections for
Community Leadership (3) Common Disability Agenda (4) Disability Caucus (5) Howell
Group (6) Michigan Rehabilitation Counselors and Educators Association Board (7)
Michigan Rehabilitation Association Policy Committee (8) Michigan Association of
Multicultural Rehabilitation Concerns (9) Michigan Association of Rehabilitation Support
Staff (10) MI Connections (11) Roberts Rules of Order Group (12) Attendance and
presentation at the Michigan HIV/AIDS Council Meeting and (13) Attendance at a State
Budget Forum.

National Activities - The National Coalition of State Rehabilitation Councils (NCSRC) was
established during this fiscal year. A core group of states organized a Steering Committee
which developed the Mission, Vision, Core Values, and By Laws in an attempt to organize
this partnership effort. The bi-yearly CSAVR Conferences held in San Francisco
(November 2006) and Bethesda (April 2007) provided opportunities to determine SR C
priorities and needs which were shaped into a strategic plan. The membership supports
the continued involvement of their Executive Director in working with the NCSRC Steering
Committee to enhance the development of the national organization. Future efforts will be
focused on implementation of the strategic plan, expansion of time dedicated to SRCs at
the CSAVR Conferences and the sharing of best practices.

FUNCTION 8 - To provide coordination between MRS, the State Independent Living
Council and independent living centers.

GENERAL OUTCOMES: The MRC is an active participant on the Quality Improvement
Team convened by MRS to provide technical assistance and other resources to Centers
for Independent Living (CILs). MRC is also represented on the CIL Tot al Continuous
Quality Improvement Team, which is working to finalize the follow up needed on site
reviews conducted at the CILs over the previous two years. The MRC continues to serve
as an active participant on the annual CIL grant review team.

FUNCTION 9 - To perform other functions, consistent with the Rehabilitation Act, as the
council determines appropriate.
GENERAL OUTCOMES: The MRC determined the following activities to align with the
SRC mandates:
Michigan Rehabilitation Conference - The Council has continued its involvement in many
facets of the Michigan Rehabilitation Conference hosted by the Michigan Rehabilitation
Association (MRA) and MARO Employment and Training Association (the trade
association for community rehabilitation programs). Approximately 800 people attend this
annual conference, which is nearly three days long, with over 100 workshops and keynote
speakers. In November 2006, the Council continued as a theme partner to the
Conference, facilitated the Customers of MRS Leadership Program and hosted an exhibit.
The impetus for the creation of the customer program was to provide an educational
leadership opportunity to those individuals who are working toward a successful
completion of their employment plan with their MRS Counselors. The anticipated outcome
of the Program is threefold: (1) To increase customer participation at the Conference as
attendees and exhibitors (2) To provide customers the opportunity to attend sessions,
market their businesses, gain knowledge about vocational rehabilitation, network and
interact with individuals who share common experiences and (3)To enhance both their
personal and professional leadership skill development. The proposal called for the
Program to be funded by MRS and facilitated by the MRC. The Program was enhanced
this year through the addition of customer peer mentors. To review the report:

MRS SUCCESSES - The collection of MRS Best Practices and Customers of MRS
Success Stories has begun with the establishment of a data base by the Council. During
fiscal year 2008, the MRC will publicize this opportunity to all MRS staff. The practices and
stories will be utilized for sharing with MRS staff and for future advocacy and educational

Carol Bergquist, Project Visions Director
Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Project Visions is a vocational rehabilitation program for Native Americans with disabilities
living on or near the Hannahville Indian Community Reservation in Michigan’s Upper
Peninsula. Project Visions helps Native people become employed or keep a job they may
already have by offering many support and educational services.

Project Visions is federally funded (Section 121 of the Rehabilitation Act) to provide
services that are consistent with the tribal member’s individual strengths, resources,
priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, and informed choice. The staff provides
counseling and encouragement to tribal members preparing for gainful employment on or
off the reservation, which may include self-employment, education/training, telecommuting
and business ownership.

Project Visions services include: Vocational Counseling, Vocational Evaluation/Career
Exploration, Traditional Native American Services, Job Search and Development, Physical
Aids, Tools and Equipment, and Professional Education/Training. Service provision is

coordinated with other agencies and programs, including Michigan Rehabilitation Services,
Michigan Works!, Indian Health Services, and other Tribal programs.

What people like best about Project Visions: ―It gave me a chance to get my degree &
information on getting my degree with on the job training.‖; ―My counselor made sure that
the job was to my liking.‖; ―Learning work skills, creating a resume and learning computer
skills.‖; and ― The services available to meet my needs.‖

Weaving Into Success – A Project Visions Success Story
A few years ago, Mike returned to Hannahville after loosing his teaching job in Milwaukee
as a result of his battle with substance abuse problems. While participating in substance
abuse treatment and working with Project Visions, he ―reconnected‖ to his Potawatomi
cultural teachings. These teachings provided him the strength he needed to stay on his
path to recovery. He decided to remain at Hannahville to maintain sobriety and to bring his
teaching ability and expertise to his tribe.

Mike’s employment goal with Project Visions was to start his own business in making and
selling Black Ash baskets. Through the help of Project Visions and First Step, a local small
business development organization, he developed a professional business plan. From
there, he began building his business by getting a computer, a car, a website, office
furniture, and other things needed to run the business. Project Visions, as well as
Michigan Rehabilitation Services, who opened his case upon our referral, helped to fund
his plan.

Mike looks forward to traditionally harvesting the Black Ash every spring, and loves to
teach anyone who is interested how to make baskets. Though Mike loves being a business
owner, he still enjoys teaching and is very glad to use his skills to teach basketry.

Project Visions Stats for FY2007: 98 Native Americans (who live on or near or
Reservation) were served through an Individualized Plan for Employment; Of 52 people
with educational goals: 16 were enrolled in a 2-year Community College Program, 4 in a
University Bachelor Degree program, and 32 participated in post-secondary vocational
training; and of the 25 people who exited the program, 21 achieved employment success,
for an 84% success rate. Their average weekly wage was $355.


MICHIGAN REHABILITATION SERVICES (MRS) is the federally mandated general public
rehabilitation agency in Michigan which provides an array of services for persons with
disabilities to prepare for, attain and maintain employment, self-sufficiency and an
independent lifestyle. MRS is housed within the Department of Labor and Economic
Growth (DLEG) and is federally funded with a required state match. The MRS full-time civil
service staff nears 550, with approximately 260 certified master’s level Rehabilitation
Counselors, who work with customers in job exploration, job training and placement. MRS
has 36 offices located geographically across the state with counselors located in each
Michigan Works! One Stop Service Centers. MRS also operates the Michigan Career and
Technical Institute (MCTI), a post-secondary residential vocational trade-training program
in Plainwell. MRS’ primary customers are people with disabilities and employers.

MRS is an eligibility based service. To be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services, a
person must: 1) have a physical or mental disability that constitutes or results in a
substantial barrier to employment, and 2) have a need to benefit from vocational
rehabilitation services, and 3) want to work. Customers who meet the federal eligibility
requirements agree on an individualized plan for employment. The services each individual
receives are based on each person’s informed choice consistent with his/her interests,
abilities and needs. Examples of rehabilitation services include: job training and education,
prostheses and other medical services, support services such as interpreters, readers,
transportation, accommodations/assistive technology, job coaches, tools, equipment,
licenses, job-seeking skills training, and job placement assistance. Services also include
assistance with job-in-jeopardy for persons with disabilities and to employers needing
ergonomic information and education in retaining employees.

MRS will be a premiere organization to promote an inclusive workforce system that
provides each person with a disability the opportunity for employment leading to

MRS partners with individuals and employers to achieve quality employment outcomes
and independence for persons with disabilities.

INTERNAL VALUES: Integrity, Excellence, Respect, Inclusion, Teamwork, Positive Work,
and Environment.

PRINCIPLES: Customer-Centered, Equity, Advocacy, Collaboration, Accountability, and
Continuous Improvement.

―Service is the lifeblood of any organization. Everything flows from it and is nourished by it.
Customer service is not a department... it's an attitude.‖ – An unknown source

In FY 2007, the agency provided counseling, physical and mental restoration services, job
placement and other support to more than 47,947 citizens with disabilities in over 100
locations across the state. Of these, 7,680 people were successfully rehabilitated and

SERVICE REQUESTS - Medical and psychological sciences have identified new
disabilities. Autism and associated disabilities are occurring more frequently. Persons in
correctional institutions are frequently diagnosed with emotional, mental and learning
disabilities. Increasingly, persons are diagnosed with learning and other cognitive
disabilities, especially in families with generational unemployment and poverty. People are
living longer; and as the population ages, more people have age-related disabilities.
Veterans are returning from duty with a myriad of physical and emotional disabilities.
Michigan’s unemployment and budgetary problems have resulted in state and local human
service agencies experiencing budgetary shortfalls and reductions while looking for
assistance from new sources.

In 2006, Cornell University reported the percentage of working-age people with disabilities
working full time in Michigan was 18.1 percent.

MRS is increasingly recognized as a resource for persons needing employment training
and placement services. A significant number of state and local agencies have looked to
partner financially and programmatically with MRS in the past few years. More agencies
are referring customers to MRS for services, and are also requesting MRS’ expertise and
knowledge to assist them in their work. Federal rules and regulations prescribe limitations
to MRS’ role and responsibilities, despite increased requests to expand the bureau mission
and activities.

FUNDS - While the MRS customer base has grown, bureau staff and customer service
budgets have not. The MRS federal grant requires match dollars. Match income has not
kept pace with the federal grant dollars and the funds acquired from other sources have
service restrictions attached.

STAFF - Under the 1992 and 1998 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act, states must
establish procedures to ensure an adequate supply of qualified counselors, while also
assessing existing and future personnel and associated training needs. Fifteen years after
passage of the amendments, state agencies remain highly challenged by the inadequate
supply of qualified candidates. Nationally, the yearly graduates from accredited programs
account for only 1/3 of the annual open positions. The current projected unmet national
need is 1,920. Michigan mirrors this national trend.

In 2007, Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) had 506 permanent staff, 38% age 55 or
older. 38.5% of MRS’ professional counselors are 55 or older, and 58% of MRS managers
are 55 and older. The number of MRS staff members who are eligible to retire is
escalating at an alarming rate. At the same time, we are experiencing difficulty finding
qualified staff. In several areas of the state, the entire professional staff is at retirement
age. This has been further exacerbated by the hiring freeze put in place to deal with the
state’s fiscal crisis. MRS has restructured its service delivery practices and has reassigned
specific case management functions traditionally performed by VR counselors to others, to
the degree permitted by federal rules and regulations. MRS is rapidly running out of
options for meeting the needs of customers. National trends show that when caseload
sizes for counselors increase due to inadequate availability of qualified counselors, waiting
lists develop and the VR program is required to implement an Order of Selection.

ORDER OF SELECTION - When a public vocational rehabilitation program can no longer
provide timely services by qualified counselors to all persons statewide who meet federal
eligibility requirements regardless of disability or source of referral, it is required by federal
regulations to declare an Order of Selection.

Order of Selection requires customers be served by severity of disability first, and then in
the order they enter the system. Customers are put on statewide waiting lists for services,
some of whom are never served. MRS has worked hard to avoid an Order of Selection
because many persons with disabilities can be served quickly and at very reasonable cost,
returning to the work force. The administrative cost to maintain customer lists and prioritize
customers is very expensive and the dollars can be put to better use by providing services

to all persons with disabilities including persons who are eligible for services without the
most significant disabilities. MRS and the MRC project many Michigan citizens would not
be served if Michigan was required to implement an Order of Selection. This would further
increase Michigan’s unemployment rate and the demand on other service systems such as
DHS, DOC, DCH, MWA, etc.

The challenge to maintain credentialed staff, obtain required match for federal grants, and
have funds to provide services to the growing number of persons eligible for and seeking
our services requires significant effort. MRS is monitoring its ability to meet these needs
on a quarterly basis, to continue to prevent implementation of Order of Selection.

development and number of Centers for Independent Living (CILs) have been limited by
the availability of state and federal operating funds. Since the 1970s, efforts to develop a
statewide CIL network have focused on grassroots growth. Fifteen Centers for
Independent Living now have approximately 17% of the funding and 30% of the staff
necessary for a state-wide full-functioning service delivery system. 19% of Michigan’s
residents needing independent living supports are in areas currently served, 48% in areas
significantly underserved, and 33% in areas without any access.

The Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC), Michigan Rehabilitation Services
(MRS), Michigan Commission for the Blind (MCB) and the CILs continue to address the
challenges of service delivery across the state. In recent years, a Michigan CIL Prototype
has been developed as a planning and equity template for continuing network

developed since the 1970s, primarily through grassroots efforts. Significant areas of the
state do not have independent living support services. Although new CILs have begun and
are making progress in meeting federal standards for funding, no new or additional state or
federal funds are available. Issues associated with the distribution of funds have been
raised. CIL grants were originally based upon entrepreneurial program development at the
community level and did not demonstrate nor factor any level of statewide equity.

MRS has worked with the SILC and the CILs during the last few years to develop and
implement a five-year plan of funding re-allocations from one fund source (Title 1) to bring
all CILs within a defined equity range. FY 2008 – the second year of the five-year plan,
reflects major progress in moving toward this target, with six CILs within the defined equity
range, compared to two for FY 2007. Efforts for equity across all fund sources have
primarily focused on generation of increased revenues including GF/GP funds.

NOTE: The MRS Action Plan aligns with DLEG Goals.
Goal 1: -MRS will improve the employment outcomes and self-sufficiency for persons with
disabilities in Michigan.
DLEG Goals: Provide excellent customer service and Provide rehabilitation and career
development resources.

1.1 - MRS will meet or exceed at least five of the seven federally mandated program
performance indicators:
                                             Federal Standards
 Performance Measures                                               Performance FY
                                             to Meet or Exceed
                                             The FY 2006
 Number of Employment Outcomes               Michigan                    7,680
                                             benchmark of 7,597
 Percent Employed                                   > 55.8               54.4%
 Employed Competitively                             > 72.6               98.2%
 Significant Disability                             > 62.4               91.1%
 Earnings Ratio                                    > 0.52                0.55
 Self-Support                                      > 53.0                64.7
 Minority Ratio                                     > 0.8                0.85

Strategy: MRS exceeded six of the seven federal mandated performance indicators.
1.2 - MRS’ Michigan Career & Technical Institute (MCTI) will provide comprehensive
vocational services and training to 1,050 persons with disabilities and sustain a job
placement rate of 80%.
Strategy - Through the end of September 2007, MCTI served 1,537 students and had 83%
placement rates.

1.3 - MRS will collaborate with the state independent living centers to achieve employment
outcomes for 1,200 customers by resolving barriers to employment. Independent living (IL)
supports will be utilized by 4,500 individuals.
Strategy - New database software was implemented in all Michigan Centers for
Independent Living (CILs) to provide improved quarterly and annual reporting of IL/CIL
performance. 2007 data indicates more than 6,000 persons utilized independent living
supports from the state’s 15 CILs to address employment barriers. This activity resulted in
more than 4,600 employment-related outcomes during the year.

1.4 - MRS will collaborate with the Michigan Department of Human Services and Michigan
Works! Agencies to effectively administer the Jobs Education and Training (JET)
agreement to serve eligible Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients
with disabilities to achieve employment outcomes consistent with the vocational
rehabilitation program. In FY 2007, over 3,500 TANF deferred recipients will obtain
consultation from MRS regarding employment barriers, and approximately 1,800 will be
referred to MRS for services.
Strategy - The implementation of JET (the written agreement, funding, hiring of staff and
referral from DHS) took longer than anticipated. MRS scheduled 2,112 referral
appointments and 1,495 persons attended the appointment. 565 persons were referred to
MRS by DHS, and a total of 852 JET persons from both DHS and MWA became our

1.5 - The Michigan Prisoner ReEntry Initiative (MPRI) is an interagency initiative with

Michigan Department of Corrections (DOC). MRS and DOC will implement a seamless
transition process from DOC correctional facilities to MRS district offices f or exiting
prisoners with disabilities. This process began in FY 2006 with 15 pilot sites. In FY 2008
this initiative will be expanded statewide.
Strategy: MRS entered into an interagency agreement with MDOC that clarifies and
describes the MRS role in MPRI. 15 communities piloted MPRI; 11 correctional facilities
are participating in the program. Three districts have completed the implementation
process and are fully functional.

During FY 2007, 3,509 ex-felon cases were open and 449 were successfully rehabilitated.
230 persons applied for services through MPRI, 194 of whom continue to work with us.

Goal 2 - MRS will contribute toward the development of a 21 st century workforce, grow
Michigan’s businesses and entrepreneurship by providing quality acquisition, retention,
and small business development services to persons with disabilities.

DLEG Goals: - Grow Michigan’s economy and Provide rehabilitation and career
development resources.

2.1: MRS will provide at least 4,500 acquisition and retention services to at least 2,300
Strategy: MRS provided 4,726 acquisitions and retention services to 2,673 in FY 2007. A
new reporting system initialized during the fiscal year had a positive impact on data

2.2: MRS will assist at least 150 persons with disabilities in evaluating the feasibility of the
development of a small business opportunity. In FY 2007, 75 MRS customers will achieve
a small business rehabilitated closure.
Strategy: MRS assisted 397 persons with disabilities to evaluate the feasibility of the
development of small business opportunities. 91 customers have achieved small business
rehabilitated closures.

2.3: MRS’ Disability Management Program will provide prevention education and
ergonomic training for at least 100 Michigan employers. From these employers, 425
individual employees will be provided training and/or ergonomic assessments.
Strategy: The Disability Management Program provided disability prevention education
and ergonomic training for 101 employers. From these employers, 488 individual
employees were provided training and/or ergonomic assessments.

Goal 3 - MRS will promote equitable distribution of staff, funds and other resources by
using a Resource Allocation Formula (RAM) based upon the most recent census figures.

DLEG Goals: Provide excellent customer service and Provide rehabilitation and career
development resources.

3.1: MRS will ensure that the number of minority customers served and rehabilitated are in
direct proportion or exceed the prevalence of disability among minority populations.

Strategy: MRS served 16,629 minority customers in FY 2007, which was 35% of the total
customers served. Successful rehabilitations reflect that of the 7,680 successful closures,
1,981 (26%) were minorities. MRS initiatives designed to narrow the gap between ―served‖
and ―rehabilitated‖ customers include cultural competency training for all staff, and
identification of resources to assist staff meeting the needs of minority customers.

3.2: MRS will work with the independent living centers, the Statewide Independent Living
Council (SILC), and the Michigan Commission for the Blind (MCB) to continue the
implementation of a prototype for addressing needed CIL funding.
Strategy: Based on recommendations and input from partnership planning meetings
conducted during the last several years, the Michigan CIL Prototype was updated for
inclusion in the State Plan for Independent Living for FYs 2008-2010. The revised
prototype explicitly identifies equity percentages calculated from the prototype projections.
Work is also underway to update the wage and salary information upon which the
calculations are based for use in FY 2008.

3.3: MRS will work with the state independent living centers, and the State Independent
Living Council (SILC) using 2006 baseline data to improve equity with the vocational
rehabilitation funded operation and to increase resources related to the Title VII operations.
Strategy: In collaboration with the Statewide Independent Living Council and the
independent living centers, a five year plan has been developed to reallocate funding
received by CILs to bring all 15 Michigan CILs within a calculated equity range.
Implementation of the plan has resulted in six CILs being within the defined equity range
for FY 2008, compared to two within the defined range for FY 2007.

MRS Data: Fiscal Year 2007 (October 1, 2007-September 30, 2008)

 Total Number of Cases Closed Rehabilitated                7680

 14-21 at application                                      1840            23.96%
 21-26 referred by school                                   189             2.46%

 Total Number of Youths                                    2029            26.42%

 Average Weekly Wage at Closure                            $393.50
 Average Hourly Wage at Closure                            $12.20

 Percentage with Medical Coverage at Closure               2054            26.74%

 Male                                                      4212            54.84%
 Female                                                    3468            45.16%

 Race White                                                5736            74.69%
 Race Black                                                1766            22.99%
 Race Indian                                               65               0.85%
 Multi Racial                                              55               0.72%

 Race Asian                                               48               0.63%
 Race Hawaiian                                            10               0.13%

 Hispanic                                                 108            1.41%

 Disability Types

 Mental Impairments                                       4313           56.16%
 Physical Impairments                                     1934           25.18%
 Sensory/Communicative Impairments:                       1433           18.66%

 Services Provided

 Assessment                                               5427
 Maintenance                                              3045
 Job Placement Assistance                                 3045
 Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling & Guidance          2779

 Other Services                                           2633
 Transportation                                           2317
 Diagnosis and Treatment                                  2104
 On-the-job Supports                                      1626
 Miscellaneous Training                                   1273
 Job Search Assistance                                    910
 Information and Referral                                 758
 Occupational/Vocational Training                         624
 College or University Training                           577
 Rehabilitation Technology                                523
 Job Readiness Training                                   421
 On-the-job Training                                      280
 Basic Academic Remedial or Literacy Training             110
 Technical Assistance                                     105
 Interpreter                                              65
 Disability Related Augmentative Skills Training          34
 Personal Attendant                                       15
 Reader                                                   14

MCTI has provided training for adults with disabilities in Michigan since 1944. The second
largest comprehensive rehabilitation training center in the United States, MCTI offers a
unique blend of caring human support services and state of-the-art training for jobs needed
in business and industry today. The school is administered by MRS and is for eligible
adults who have a physical, mental or emotional disability and are referred by Bureau f ield
staff or the Michigan Commission for the Blind. Tuition and room and board in the
dormitory are free. All students must be at least 18 years of age to attend MCTI.

Depending on aptitude and interest, students may choose to enroll in one of 13 vocational
training programs: Automotive Technology, Business Support Services, Cabinetmaking,
Culinary Arts, Custodial, Drafting, Electronics, Health Careers, Office Automation, Grounds
Maintenance/Landscaping, Machine Technology, Printing, and Retail Marketing . Each
training department replicates the modern industrial environment, standards, and
technology of that field. A career assessment service is available to help students explore
their career options. Remedial training in reading and math designed to help students
prepare for training is also offered.

The campus of MCTI is located on the shores of Pine Lake in rural Barry County, twenty
miles northeast of Kalamazoo. The campus is fully accessible, with all classrooms as well
as the dormitory rooms, cafeteria, library, and leisure services located in one building — an
especially welcome feature during Michigan winters. The dormitories on campus house
approximately 350 students. Dormitory advisors are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a
week to assist students as they learn to live independently and safely. Family housing
options are also available for students, which include 10 two -bedroom units, 10 three-
bedroom units and a day care center.

Over the past ten years, MCTI’s placement rate for its graduates has averaged over 80
percent. The MCTI Placement Office offers comprehensive job-finding services, from
assistance with resume preparation to job leads and transportation to interviews.

For fiscal year 2007, MCTI Outcomes were the following: Enrollment – 540 students,
Retention Rate 92%, 312 Graduates, and 83% of graduates secured successful

Frequently, the students at MCTI are away from their families for the first time. Students
are able to experience recreational and leisure activities inc luding library, swimming and
boating, bowling and similar life skills necessary for living independently. MCTI has three
elevators for accessibility. Fire and security systems are appropriate to persons who are
deaf and have physical mobility limitations. Services at MCTI include: A one-week
vocational ―camp‖ for high school students, serving approximately 150 students each
summer; Career Assessment Services which provides vocational evaluation; Enhanced
basic skills training required for entrance into selected trades; Video conferencing; and
Vocational training via distance learning technology. MCTI connects to Battle Creek
Learning Center, Lansing Learning Center, and Shiawassee Learning Center; Remedial
and adult education; Rehabilitation support services (i.e., substance abuse counseling,
psychological services, medical services, vocational counseling, therapeutic recreation
services, employability skills training); and Job Placement Services.

MCTI received full three-year accreditation in 2005 by the Commission on Accreditation of
Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). MCTI also received full five-year accreditation by the
North Central Association (NCA) in 2005, resulting in full access to all Title IV programs.
These stringent accreditation processes evaluate curriculums, goals, school improvement
plans, and staff credentials.

Customer of MCTI Success Story: ―The Difference A Year Makes.‖

Iesha and her three daughters came to MCTI in October 2006, with a traumatic brain injury
dating back to 1996. After seeing many doctors and therapists and spending time in group
homes, ―Iesha gave up on life, and dropped out of high school,‖ reported her mother
Shirley. Shirley further stated that a doctor told her that Iesha and her children would need
continuous family support for the rest of her life.

With the encouragement and support of her mother, Iesha moved to the Pine Lake Family
Center at MCTI. The family center is adjacent to the Michigan Career and Technical
Institute (MCTI) and has housing and daycare facilities. Though her family continued to be
very supportive, Iesha had to learn about ―real life‖ while attending MCTI . She admitted to
wondering how she was going to do this. There were some significant challenges during
the time Iesha attended MCTI. However, the magnitude of her success dimmed the
memory of those challenges. After participating in the MCTI Reading Clinic and other pre-
vocational programs, Iesha completed the Certified Nursing Assistant training at MCTI in
July 2007. Amazingly, she also attended the adult education program housed at MCTI, and
was able to get her high school diploma from Delton-Kellogg Schools during that same

Iesha had a job waiting for her upon her graduation at the Life Care Center in Plainwell.
She relocated to the area, where she presently lives with her three girls while continuing
her employment.


MRS has a strong commitment to serving school-age youths with disabilities, ages 16 to
26. A young person with any limiting disability may be eligible for assistance to obtain
employment, whether he or she is currently enrolled in a school program or not. MRS
counselors help young people discover their interests and talents, learn about different
jobs, participate in on-the-job training, apply for college, prepare a resume, and find a job.
Just more than 2,000 young people with disabilities were assisted into careers during FY
2007 by MRS.

Youth with disabilities, including minority and at risk youth, need appropriate academic
preparation and transition supports to move successfully from school to work. MRS has
partnered with the Michigan Department of Education and schools to develop over one
hundred funding agreements that allow MRS to provide work experience and job
preparation for at risk high school students.

To be successful, youth with disabilities require a wide range of community supports and
available programs that address employment, independent living, community participation
and transportation. The MRS youth services program is effective because of strong
community relationships with employers, schools, parents, rehabilitation organizations and
workforce boards. The youth services program relies on the rehabilitation counselor as the
employment case manager.

Youth with disabilities need access to Professional Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors
who maintain up to date job skills in order to provide effective vocational counseling and
placement to at risk and minority youth. MRS has engaged in capacity building through the

publication of a Monday Bulletin on Services to Youth, a comprehensive E-Learn system,
and the provision of professional training and in-service opportunities to counseling staff.

Youth with disabilities require access to appropriate accommodations and assistive
technology. An assistive technology loan fund has been created to increase access and
usage of accommodations and assistive technology.

Adjudicated youth need additional supports beyond those required by non-adjudicated
youth. MRS has initiated the adjudicated youth project with the Department of Human
Services to ensure that all incarcerated youth are advised of the availability of rehabilitation


MiConnections is a systems change initiative to improve education, training and
employment outcomes for Michigan youth with disabilities. It is designed to increase
opportunities for young people with disabilities to prepare for employment and careers in
today’s and tomorrow’s jobs. The program was originally funded through a federal grant
awarded to the State of Michigan (DLEG-MRS) from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office
of Disability Employment Policy State participant in national High School/High Tech
network. It was launched and supported by major implementing partners: Michigan
Rehabilitation Services (Project’s ―home base‖), Michigan Commission for the Blind and
Michigan Department of Education/Office of Special Education & Early Intervention
Services. MiConnections is supported by other state-level organizations including
Michigan Rehabilitation Council and Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council

Guide Posts for Success:
The nationally developed, research-based Guideposts for Success are the core of the
MiConnections project. They represent the coordinated set of youth-focused services and
supports that young people must have in order to make informed choices and transition to
adulthood successfully. MiConnections uses the Guideposts as a comprehensive transition
model to ensure that young people with disabilities have the chance to participate in a
range of activities covering: Preparatory Experiences; Work-based Learning Experiences;
Youth Development and Leadership; Connecting Activities; and Family Involvement &
Network of Local Sites: MiConnections has local demonstration ―sites‖ across Michigan,
each of which is founded on a strong interagency partnership. Kent County was the
original pilot site; current sites include: Bay-Arenac-Midland-Saginaw Regional Consortium
(―BAMS‖); Detroit; Hannahville Indian Community-Menominee County; Ingham County;
Muskegon Heights; and Traverse Bay Area (5-county consortium).

Data: The MiConnections database contains data on approximately 300 youth. Ingham
County has the most extensive data due to its longevity as a site. Youth enrolled and
reported by Ingham MiConnections represent all districts in the county, with proportionately
more students in the Lansing School District. As of the end of FY07 (9/30/07), the data
show a 3% dropout rate among the MiConnections youth compared to the most recent

state average Special Education dropout rate of 25% and Ingham County average rate of

MiConnections Success Story
(Excerpted from an article in CARF’s Promising Practices e-newsletter - Volume 2, Issue 5,
July 2007)
Through a partnership with Michigan Rehabilitation Services and the Ingham Intermediate
School District, Peckham, Inc. developed an E-Mentoring component for their
LINKS/MiConnections program. The LINKS program is a countywide prototype program
for Special Education youth who are at risk of dropping out of school. Each student
selected undertakes a vocational assessment, creates an action plan, performs career
research on his or her chosen goal, and participates in job shadowing experiences that
correspond to his or her career interests. E-Mentoring continues the link between school
and career by partnering students with an E-Mentor, someone who is a professional in the
student’s career field of interest.

Through Peckham’s E-Mentoring program, the student and the mentor enter an online
correspondence in which the student posts messages based on different vocationally
related projects, and the mentor responds with advice and resources. E-Mentors and
students communicate via a secure web portal developed by Peckham that ensures
anonymity and security. Peckham’s E-Mentor specialist monitors the website to ensure the
appropriateness of the postings and to provide help and support for students and mentors.

To supplement the personal connections and information between mentors and students,
Peckham also created a research-based curriculum with projects and activities to guide
this communication and encourage skill assessment, goal setting, tolerance for
differences, and the use of community resources. Peckham’s E-Mentors have offered
advice, consolation, and encouragement as the students post messages dealing not only
with vocational interests, but also related personal issues such as family relationships,
dating, and violence in school.

E-Mentoring program students come from rural and urban areas and large and small
schools. Students possess career interests that span the spectrum from technology to
medical to construction. Peckham’s E-Mentors are recruited locally and reflect the variety
of interest areas of the mentees. In addition to receiving ―real world‖ information, student
E-Mentees gain technology skills, build connections with caring adults and become better
prepared to discuss and develop their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and
Individual Plans for Employment (IPEs).

Almost 40 students have participated in the program since its inception. Program results
indicate that students who complete the program stay on track to graduate. Peckham’s E-
Mentor specialist constantly reviews participation, and new activities are added based on
student and E-Mentor feedback. The LINKS program currently has a participation rate of
93%, and several students are exceeding the program participation requirements. Most
importantly, 78% of students who have completed the program are either still in school or
have graduated from high school six months after program completion. This is a significant
accomplishment for students previously identified as at-risk for dropping out of school.

MRS' mission focused Business Services Program will yield significant opportunities to
advance the aspirations and career opportunities for people with disabilities. Through a
better understanding of employer needs and stronger relationships, Business Services can
create opportunities to deliver a wider array of support services to the business community.
Business Services challenge is to translate MRS support into benefits for employers.

MRS Business Services is aligned with DLEG's commitment to accelerate Michigan's
economic development by concentrating on workforce development and forming more
collaborative partnerships with state agencies, educational institutions, public and private
organizations. Partnering with and participating in Regional Skills Alliances, for example,
is an excellent way to position consumers in the mainstream of workforce development
geared towards emerging job opportunities. Such partnerships also offer exposure to
potential employer customers who may be considering hiring new emp loyees or resolving
disability-related work issues.

MRS has considerable capacity to increase positive acquisition and retention outcomes for
individuals with disabilities by cooperatively and more aggressively marketing under
utilized MRS offerings. A few examples include: Ergonomic and prevention services; risk
analysis; assistance with worker compensation and workplace safety needs; work site
ergonomic assessment; occupational therapy consultation; work smart and prevention
training using Disability Management; assistive technology consultation for MTEC;
incentives for employers; increasing MCTI job preparation and training in high demand
fields; using MCTI as a MTEC for assessments; customized training and job profiling; and
expanding MCTI Learning Centers to areas of high unemployment for people with

The Business Services primary challenge for MRS is to create a singular focus and
cooperate as a team to support the vital needs of consumers and employers. Our capacity
to succeed in developing meaningful career choices for people with disabilities, in large
measure, depends on MRS field teams' ability to work collaboratively to identify, develop
and fill Michigan's current and future workforce needs with people with disabilities.


The Disability Management Program is a statewide resource for employers/employees
who need assistance with management of work-related injuries. This third-party billing
service is available to independent and self-insured employers. The purpose is to
maximize productivity and minimize costs associated with disabilities in the workplace. The
licensed professional staff of the Disability Management Program can assist in three major
1) Prevention - Ergonomic assessment of existing work sites; Consultation on workplace
design and equipment that will minimize the risk of work-related injury or illness; and
Education to promote good work habits and a safe environment.
2) Return-to-Work Services - Arranged and provided to facilitate early return to work for
persons who have been absent due to injury or illness. This assistance is available
through: Job analysis to determine whether an accommodation would allow return to work;
Return-to-work assistance with same employer or appropriate alternative; Coordination

and interpretation of medical services; Post-employment consultation; Transferable skills
analysis to identify abilities; and Labor market survey and job placement services.
3) Employees At Risk - Employees who are at risk of losing their job because of illness or
injury are also concern of employers. The following assistance can be provided: Job
analysis to recommend reasonable accommodations to maintain productivity for
employees with limitations; Consultation and resource information on furniture and
adaptive equipment; Review of essential job functions; and Design solutions for specific
disability issues based on work risk analysis.


Ann Arbor District
Serving Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston and Washtenaw Counties
James Bunton, District Manager, (734) 677-1141 Ext. 141
Residents Served in FY 2007
Facts at a Glance
531 residents with disabilities placed in competitive employment; 258 Significantly
disabled; and 247 Most significantly disabled.

Employment and Earnings: 531 Residents with disabilities placed into competitive
employment: Average weekly earnings rose from $150 to $367; Annual individual potential
earnings increase if employment is maintained $11,304; and Annual earnings increase if
employment is maintained $6,002,464.

Partnerships: MRS Business Service Representatives are located across the state to help
business owners and managers find solutions to disability-related issues in the workplace.
Services provided include: employee recruitment, interviewing and hiring assistance,
employee retention, employer/supervisor training, and youth services. 125 Completed
employer services (i.e. Ace Hardware, American Red Cross, & Guardian Fiberglass) and 5
Customers achieved small business self-employment goals.

Customer of Ann Arbor District Success Story: Julian was referred to MRS by the local
Community Mental Health Agency because he was in need of Supported Employment.
Julian is very cognitively impaired, and lives in the St. Louis School in Chelsea, Michigan.
He is 46 years old. Julian can do repetitive tasks which do not require a lot of steps to
complete the task. He works best in a fairly routine and structured environment where he
does not have to do a lot of independent decision making. Julian is a dependable worker,
but he has difficulty presenting himself well to employers and he does not have the
organizational skills to carry out a successful job search. Through MRS, Julian was able to
more clearly seek out the type of work that he would like to do. He chose a provider
agency to do job development and the initial job coaching. Through the agency, Services
To Enhance Potential (STEP), Julian was able to do a job tryout at Chelsea Hospital.
Julian does cleaning in the kitchen and dining room as well as taking care of some of the
vending machines and working in the dish room. Julian is very shy with co-workers and
supervisors and consequently does not ask very many questions about job tasks.

With the support of a job coach funded by MRS, Julian was able to master the tasks of the
job and to get comfortable with the routines. The funding for the job coaching has been

transferred from MRS to the local CMH agency. This is in accordance with the partnership
agreement for Supported Employment. Julian is continuing to do a good job, and he is a
valuable employee for Chelsea Hospital. The hospital has since undertaken several job
tryouts with other MRS customers to fill similar positions at the hospital. Julian has been
working at the hospital since October 11, 2006 and is a permanent employee, making
$9.85 an hour.

Detroit East/Detroit West
Western Wayne
Serving Wayne and Monroe Counties
Dorothy Quinn, Detroit East District Manager (313) 496-8777
Donald S. Hill, Detroit West District Manager (313) 270-3700
William McKenzie, Western Wayne District Manager (734) 524-2410

Facts at a Glance
Residents Served in FY 2007
1,722 Residents with disabilities placed in competitive employment; 673 Significantly
disabled; and 1,000 Most significantly disabled.

Employment and Earnings: 1,722 Residents with disabilities placed into competitive
employment; Average weekly earnings rose from $126 to $387; Annual individual potential
earnings increase if employment is maintained $13,473; and Annual earnings increase if
employment is maintained $23,379,356

Partnerships: MRS Business Service Representatives are located across the state to help
business owners and managers find solutions to disability-related issues in the workplace.
Services provided include: employee recruitment, interviewing and hiring assistance,
employee retention, employer/supervisor training, and youth services. 117 Completed
employer services (i.e. Enterprise Consulting, Sparkle Janitorial Service, and Auto Zone)
and 28 Customers achieved small business self-employment goals

Customer of Detroit East/West Success Story: In a world of addiction, violence and
imprisonment, my life was going downhill. I tried many treatment centers, which I made it
through the course, but was not ready to change my lifestyle. I had no support system, as
well as being in and out of the court system. I survived being a victim of death. I was tired
of the lifestyle so I sought treatment one more time. This time I picked my own place,
which was for ladies only: Naomi’s Nest. I felt it was the best solution for me and for once
in my life, I felt at home again.

I learned about different kinds of programs that would help me. I was referred to JVS
(Jewish Vocational Service). Their focus is helping people that have been in and out of
prison, assisting them to get back in today’s working world.

I was assigned to the Janitorial training program, through MRS (Michigan Rehabilitation
Services). As I grew in this program, things began to change. MRS provided assistance
for me to receive clothing so that I would be dressed appropriately for job interviews. They
also helped in getting furniture for my apartment, as I was getting back to becoming self -
sufficient. During the course of becoming job ready, MRS assisted with my dental needs,

so that I would look my best and not have that as a barrier to employment. My self -esteem
is better now than ever, and I have become a productive citizen in today’s society.

By being an ex-offender, it was hard to get employment, but MRS made a way for me.
Within two weeks, I was employed through the training program JVS. Thanks to MRS, I
got my life back and I am a year into my employment. –Deborah

Disability Management Program
Serving All Michigan Counties
Barry Reinink, Manager, (248) 848-7020, Ext. 307

Facts at a Glance
Residents Served in FY 2007
563 Residents with disabilities placed in competitive employment; 159 Significantly
disabled; and 10 Most significantly disabled.

Employment and Earnings: 563 Residents with disabilities placed into competitive
employment; Average weekly earnings rose from $919 to $931; Annual individual potential
earnings increase if employment is maintained $618; and Annual earnings increase if
employment is maintained $348,140.

Partnerships: MRS Business Service Representatives are located across the state to help
business owners and managers find solutions to disability-related issues in the workplace.
Services provided include: employee recruitment, interviewing and hiring assistance,
employee retention, employer/supervisor training, and youth services. 36 customers
completed employer services (i.e. Accident Fund, Cintas Corporation, and Lenawee

Customer of Disability Management Program Success Story: The first word that comes to
mind regarding MRS customer, Latherio, is not "disability", but "ability". Latherio was born
with arthrogryposis, a muscular disorder that causes multiple joint contractions; although
considered rare, it strikes 1 in 3,000 children at birth. At a very young age, he was already
determined that he would not let his disability control his life. He lives a very fulfilling and
active life, which includes his wife and young child, a full schedule of attending college with
the goal of earning his Bachelor's Degree in Community Recreation/Coaching, and sharing
his gifts and time by volunteering and advocacy.

The following are some examples of how Latherio gives himself to youth and community: in
2005, he was a recipient of Donald E. Morrison Productive Citizen Award-Isabella County
Disability Advisory Board, chaplain at Central Michigan Community Hospital; youth ministry
recreation facilitator; past member K of C Post 7850, Lafitte, LA (2000 Knight of the Year);
coach for youth soccer program; management-collegiate men's basketball team; Director
of 2006 Mt. Pleasant Parks & Recreation Youth Basketball Camp; and over the past four
years he coached several different sports throughout the Isabella County School District.
He also provides tutoring for school age students in the school setting.

Latherio applied for MRS assistance in January of 2003. Although he receives Social
Security benefits, he has a strong desire and determination to reach the goals he has set

for himself toward maximum independence. MRS has assisted with monies toward his
college education, a personal computer to assist with his education, assistance with
mobility and travel, including modification to his van, and specialized Driver's Education
training. Latherio was greatly assisted by van modifications to meet class, work-study, and
volunteering obligations.

MRS considers his case not only a ―success in progress,‖ but we fully anticipate this young
man’s case will be closed as successful, in the truest meaning of the word!

Eastern Michigan District
Serving Genesee, Huron, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac and Tuscola Counties
Suzanne Howell, District Manager, 810-760-2103 Ext. 402

Facts at a Glance
Residents Served in FY 2007
531 residents with disabilities placed in competitive employment; 289 Significantly
disabled; and 189 Most significantly disabled.

Employment and Earnings: 531 Residents with disabilities placed into competitive
employment; Average weekly earnings rose from $132 to $338; Annual individual potential
earnings increase if employment is maintained $10,719; and Annual earnings increase if
employment is maintained $5,691,764.

Partnerships: MRS Business Service Representatives are located across the state to help
business owners and managers find solutions to disability-related issues in the workplace.
Services provided include: employee recruitment, interviewing and hiring assistance,
employee retention, employer/supervisor training, and youth services. 379 Completed
employer services (i.e. ABC Warehouse, ACO Hardware, & Department of Homeland
Security) and 3 Customers achieved small business self-employment goals

Customer of Eastern Michigan District Success Story: Jon's therapist from Professional
Counseling Center referred him to MRS. Jon's diagnoses included a psychotic disorder
NOS, depression, anxiety and a history of substance abuse. He had a master's degree in
psychology, but lacked the required credentials in Michigan to practice and his work in that
field was all out of state. He had not worked in over 2 years but was volunteering at the
hospital. Jon had no income when he applied for services.

During his MRS case, we provided significant assistance with JSS, resume work, cover
letters, and particularly interviewing skills. Jon gradually became more proficient and less
anxious when interviewing. We coached him in how to present himself in the most
favorable light to prospective employers. I referred Jon to an opening with an inventory
business (RGIS) as a way of establishing some current work history. He persevered with
this job for at least 6 months while we searched for a position in the human service field.

At the time of his intake, we discussed CMH openings for peer support specialists and he
was eventually able to secure one of these positions. Jon began work as a peer support
specialist with the ACT program, supporting individuals with severe and persistent mental
illness by monitoring their medications and providing other needed services in the home as

part of an ACT team. His professional input into the team is valued by his coworkers and is
own history of SA is common among the CMH consumers he works with and was actually
required for the position. His 90 days of follow up were very positive and his case was
closed successfully.

Grand Rapids District
Serving Ionia and Kent Counties
David Parker, District Manager (616) 242-6491

Facts at a Glance
Residents Served in FY 2007
557 residents with disabilities placed in competitive employment; 252 Significantly
disabled; and 243 Most significantly disabled.

Employment and Earnings: 557 Residents with disabilities placed into competitive
employment; Average weekly earnings rose from $101 to $342; Annual individual potential
earnings increase if employment is maintained $12,544; and Annual earnings increase if
employment is maintained $6,986,980

Partnerships: MRS Business Service Representatives are located across the state to help
business owners and managers find solutions to disability-related issues in the workplace.
Services provided include: employee recruitment, interviewing and hiring assistance,
employee retention, employer/supervisor training, and youth services. 628 Completed
employer services (i.e. Best Buy, CVS Pharmacy, and Kentucky Fried Chicken) and
5 Customers achieved small business self-employment goals

Customer of Grand Rapids District Success Story: The client is a building contractor who
acquired a spinal cord injury several years ago. He continues to run his own business, but
the injury (paraplegia) created some significant barriers to doing the job well as he wants
to. Specifically, he could not get to job sites because he now drives a car instead of a four
wheel drive pickup truck, and he could not get inside the unfinished buildings to check on
progress and quality of the work since he uses a wheelchair for mobility.

We knew Mr. W. from the time that we assisted him in completing driver rehab, and he
showed up last spring to see the vehicles that we had on display during an exposition. We
discussed his problems and suggested that he consider a modified pickup truck. We also
referred him to Ruth Kuipers at Michigan Rehabilitation Services to see if she would be
willing to fund equipment to help him maintain and grow his business. He now has a fully
modified pickup truck that was custom crafted locally which included some design
assistance from our staff. Ruth also got him over to work with Matt in Rehab Technology.
Matt figured out a system using a camera and laptops that Mr. Walsh now uses to take
virtual tours of the interiors of job sites. Along the way, Ruth did some creative funding in
order to pay for these innovations for Mr. W.

This case shows the unique skills and services that are available to the community from
Mary Free Bed Rehab Hospital and Michigan Rehabilitation Services , even for folks who
have been out of acute rehab for several years. The nice aspect is the collaboration
between the departments and the state agency to come up with creative solutions and find
ways to pay for them.

Lansing District
Serving Clinton, Eaton, Ingham and Shiawassee Counties
Rosanne Renauer, District Manager, 517-373-4056

Facts at a Glance
Residents Served in FY 2007
712 Residents with disabilities placed in competitive employment; 148 Significantly
disabled; and 303 Most significantly disabled.

Employment and Earnings: 712 Residents with disabilities placed into competitive
employment; Average weekly earnings rose from $432 to $559; Annual individual potential
earnings increase if employment is maintained $6,632; and Annual earnings increase if
employment is maintained $4,722,328.

Partnerships: MRS Business Service Representatives are located across the state to help
business owners and managers find solutions to disability-related issues in the workplace.
Services provided include: employee recruitment, interviewing and hiring assistance,
employee retention, employer/supervisor training, and youth services. 384 Completed
employer services (i.e. Felpausch, Home Depot, and Volunteers of America) and 9
Customers achieved small business self-employment goals

Customer of Lansing District Success Story: Eric, a 25 year-old living in Woodland, MI
came to the MRS Lansing District Office in 2000 as a high school junior who already knew
his vocational plans and aspirations. He wanted to work in the technological field. Being a
teenager with Cerebral Palsy, Eric was living at home with his parents, and depended on them for
transportation, financial assistance, and daily living needs. His main objective was to become
independent, and he planned to do this by finding a job that could support him.

Eric's MRS counselor, Fran VenDenBerg, referred him to Michigan Career and
Technological Institute (MCTI), where he began his certification in Computer Office
Automation. He initially had problems with math while at MCTI, upon which his counselor
referred him to a learning specialist who was able to help Eric overcome these difficulties.
Eventually, Eric graduated with honors from MCTI, and with National A+ Certification in
computer repair. Job developers assisted Eric with creating his resume, evaluating and
increasing his typing speeds, and acquiring the skills necessary to be employable.

Today, Eric is working at Peckam Vocational Industries at the Call Center in a full-time
capacity with benefits. In the 5 months that he has been working, Eric has purchased a car
and hand controls to suit his needs. He has also moved and is now living independently. Eric
states, "Without MRS, I wouldn't have my independence...my counselor was my guardian
angel and helped me find the right direction in life".

Macomb District
Serving Macomb County
Jennie Tunnell, District Manager (586) 412-1510, Ext. 512

Facts at a Glance
Residents Served in FY 2007

479 Residents with disabilities placed in competitive employment; 219 Signif icantly
disabled; and 230 Most significantly disabled.

Employment and Earnings: 479 Residents with disabilities placed into competitive
employment; Average weekly earnings rose from $188 to $393; Annual individual potential
earnings increase if employment is maintained $10,687; and Annual earnings increase if
employment is maintained $5,118,932.

Partnerships: MRS Business Service Representatives are located across the state to help
business owners and managers find solutions to disability-related issues in the workplace.
Services provided include: employee recruitment, interviewing and hiring assistance,
employee retention, employer/supervisor training, and youth services. 270 Completed
employer services (i.e. Bi-County Hospital, Bortz Health Care of Warren, & Subway)
and 8 Customers achieved small business self-employment goals.

Customer of Macomb District Success Story: Josie completed orientation on Monday October
24, 2005. I met with her October 27, 2005 to complete the intake. She came to us with a diagnosis
of Dysthymia with marked anxiety. Josie was 60 years old and just in the process of getting a
divorce after 30 years of marriage. The marriage was abusive and she had very low self-esteem.
She had many concerns about how she would support herself financially. She also had no work
experience, a high school education, and no idea what her job goal was. We began working
together and through vocational counseling and guidance and informed choice she decided to
attend the empowerment training in November of 2005 and began working with a Vendor in a
program called Personal and Work Skills Assessment. This is a one-week program that is
intensive (several hours a day). It is held in a group setting and designed to help customers
recognize their strengths and weaknesses and to clarify job goals. Josie completed the weeklong
program very successfully. She did not miss any time and clearly felt that she was capable of

She began a job seeking class and was able to produce some very professional looking resumes
that utilized her experience volunteering in the past. Josie's divorce was finalized and her home
situation stabilized. Shortly after that time Josie was hired to be a receptionist at Fraser Optical.
She was employed full time and received benefits after 90 days. Her start salary was $9.00; the
employer was very satisfied with Josie's work and was interested in training her to work more with
the glasses. Josie reported that she was very satisfied with the help she received.

Marquette District
Serving Alger, Baraga, Chippewa, Delta, Dickinson, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw,
Luce, Mackinac, Marquette, Menominee, Ontonagon, and Schoolcraft Counties
Carol Barbacovi-Muscoe, District Manager (906) 226-6578 Ext. 231

Facts at a Glance
Residents Served in FY 2007
286 Residents with disabilities placed in competitive employment; 84 Significantly
disabled; and 196 Most significantly disabled.

Employment and Earnings: 286 Residents with disabilities placed into competitive
employment; Average weekly earnings rose from $78 to $316; Annual individual potential

earnings increase if employment is maintained $12,359; and Annual earnings increase if
employment is maintained $3,534,596.

Partnerships: MRS Business Service Representatives are located across the state to help
business owners and managers find solutions to disability-related issues in the workplace.
Services provided include: employee recruitment, interviewing and hiring assistance,
employee retention, employer/supervisor training, and youth services. 245 Completed
employer services (i.e. Big Boy, Iron County Medical Care Facility, and Target) and 6
Customers achieved small business self-employment goals.

Customer of Marquette District Success Story: Larry injured himself at work after 17 years
of employment as a general operations manager with the American/Canadian Lock Tours
in Sault Ste. Marie. This husband and father of three was suddenly unable to per form the
heavy physical labor required for his job.

His Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) counselor helped him explore other career
options, resulting in his journey towards a degree as a secondary teacher. It was a
challenge to enroll in college as a mature student with classmates nearly half his age , but
he had a powerful goal. Federal financial assistance and MRS provided Larry with the
means to complete several years at Lake Superior State University. He attended class
while working part-time to help support his family.

Larry was referred to Michigan Works!, and his counselor Cindy Suppa determined that the
completion of his teaching degree would be the best avenue to financial independence for
him and his family, She provided him with assistance through the Workforce Investment
Act (WIA). He successfully earned his Bachelor’s Degree and complet ed his student
teaching. With his new credentials in hand, he was fortunate to receive an offer for full-time
employment as a social studies teacher at nearby Pickford Public Schools. Larry remarked
that he has been "enjoying every minute of being back to work." One of his students
commented to him, "You really like being here with us, don't you?" It made his day.
Michigan Works! congratulates Larry for his perseverance in overcoming his obstacles and
entering a rewarding new career that provides for his family.

Mid-Michigan District
Serving Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland and Saginaw Counties
Lou Adams, District Manager, (989) 779-4431

Facts at a Glance
Residents Served in FY 2007
464 Residents with disabilities placed in competitive employment; 113 Significantly
disabled; and 317 Most significantly disabled.

Employment and Earnings: 464 Residents with disabilities placed into competitive
employment; Average weekly earnings rose from $183 to $362; Annual individual potential
earnings increase if employment is maintained $9,262; and Annual earnings increase if
employment is maintained $4,297,436.

Partnerships: MRS Business Service Representatives are located across the stat e to help
business owners and managers find solutions to disability-related issues in the workplace.
Services provided include: employee recruitment, interviewing and hiring assistance,
employee retention, employer/supervisor training, and youth services. 382 Completed
employer services (i.e. AFLAC, Dow Chemical Company, and Ponderosa) and 15
Customers achieved small business self-employment goals

Customer of Mid-Michigan District Success Story: Amanda was a high school dropout with
a learning disability who started with the first ―Learn to Earn Program‖ sponsored by the
Saginaw ISD for dropouts. Amanda was referred to Pat Bray, a loaned staff from the ISD
assigned to the local MRS office. Amada told Mr. Bray that in high school she was
unmotivated and was hanging around the wrong crowd. Her teachers told Pat that Amanda
was now motivated to work recommended her for MRS services.

Amanda said that she would take any job (she was applying at car washes) but in the
course of vocational assessment and counseling, reported that she had taken a typing
class in high school and liked it. Because of her personable and positive attitude, MRS and
Amanda decided on a vocational goal of secretary or a receptionist. To ensure she had the
necessary work skills an On-The-Job-Evaluation (OJE) was arranged through Selective
Case Management of Saginaw. Amanda's motivation and her work ethic impressed the
employer so much that they hired her on part-time basis after her OJE ended. She
continued to work part-time until she graduated from Learn to Earn with a high school
diploma. Upon graduation, her employer offered her full-time employment with benefits as
an assistant office manager.

Northern Michigan District
Serving Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Grand
Traverse, Iosco, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee, Montmorency, Ogemaw,
Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon and Wexford Counties
Elaine Carter, District Manager, (231) 932-2424

Facts at a Glance
Residents Served in FY 2007
480 Residents with disabilities placed in competitive employment; 246 Significantly
disabled; and 180 Most significantly disabled.

Employment and Earnings: 480 Residents with disabilities placed into competitive
employment; Average weekly earn ings rose from $154 to $339; Annual individual potential
earnings increase if employment is maintained $9,608; and Annual earnings increase if
employment is maintained $4,612,036.

Partnerships: MRS Business Service Representatives are located across the state to help
business owners and managers find solutions to disability-related issues in the workplace.
Services provided include: employee recruitment, interviewing and hiring assistance,
employee retention, employer/supervisor training, and youth services. 1,451 Completed
employer services (i.e. Glen’s Market, Lowe’s, and Wal Mart) and 22 Customers achieved
small business self-employment goals

Customer of Northern Michigan District Success Story: I have a lot to thank you for;
helping me get a modified van so I could find and get employment. It was very hard getting
a job when I had no way of getting there. It was a real challenge to find out that the bus
system wasn't going to work for me. That was one of the hurdles I had to overcome.

This is where my wife comes in. I have to thank her as much as I've thanked you - for
running me everywhere & picking me up. The position at the Cheboygan Walmart Vision
Department you helped me get, has made all the difference in my life. I have be en
accepted back into the workforce with open arms.

A special thank you goes to Tona Avery, my supervisor, who has been very patient with
me. Mike Ross, Walmart store manager, is always there with a smile and a hello to make
me feel at home. And to Gail Nye, my friend and associate, who would show me the same
things twenty times, if that's what it took for me to understand! It can't always be easy
working with people that need so much to get back into the workforce. Thank God there
are programs out there and people like yourselves to help others. -Rick V.

Oakland District
Serving Oakland County
Andrea Tolle, District Manager, (248) 968-0305

Facts at a Glance
Residents Served in FY 2007: 611 Residents with disabilities placed in competitive
employment; 229 Significantly disabled; and 341Most significantly disabled

Employment and Earnings: 611 Residents with disabilities placed into competitive
employment; Average weekly earnings rose from $272 to $451; Annual individual potential
earnings increase if employment is maintained $9,284; and Annual earnings increase if
employment is maintained $5,672,732.

Partnerships: MRS Business Service Representatives are located across the state to help
business owners and managers find solutions to disability-related issues in the workplace.
Services provided include: employee recruitment, interviewing and hiring assistance,
employee retention, employer/supervisor training, and youth services. 199 Completed
employer services (i.e. General Motors, Kohl’s and McDonald ’s) and 12 Customers
achieved small business self-employment goals

Customer of Oakland District Success Story: I have not been shy about telling the world
that my steps through the maze of sight loss were made ever so much easier by the
services you (MRS) provided. You jump -started my ability to continue my work as a
business consultant. You later encouraged me to seek an early disability determination
when MS began to challenge my health profile.
I can laugh now, but at the time, I had to learn a new set of coping skills to deal with MS, as
those I learned from Elaine Roman of Sinai Hospital for vision loss did not seem to apply.
Imagine that!
Learning to balance both has allowed me to continue my advocacy role that began while
seated before you. My thanks continue to this very day. Sylvia Menafe, your then
supervisor told me she felt I would become the poster child for MRS services. At the time, I

may have dismissed that as being too lofty. Now, however, I think she may have been onto
something I didn't understand at the time.
Vision loss is a process. Rehabilitation is critical to making one's way through many
obstacles with the least number of pitfalls. Again, my deep thanks. -Sheila A., a
grateful former client

Southwest Michigan District
Serving Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, Saint Joseph, and Van Buren
Margie Hadsell, District Manager, (269) 337-3711

Facts at a Glance
Residents Served in FY 2007
665 Residents with disabilities placed in competitive employment; 165 Significantly
disabled; and 471Most significantly disabled.

Employment and Earnings: 665 Residents with disabilities placed into competitive
employment; Average weekly earnings rose from $178 to $383; Annual individual potential
earnings increase if employment is maintained $10,618; and Annual earnings increase if
employment is maintained $7,060,768.

Partnerships: MRS Business Service Representatives are located across the state to help
business owners and managers find solutions to disability-related issues in the workplace.
Services provided include: employee recruitment, interviewing and hiring assistance,
employee retention, employer/supervisor training, and youth services. 134 Completed
employer services (i.e. American Red Cross, Applebees, and Meijers) and 5 Customers
achieved small business self-employment goals.

Customer of Southwest Michigan District Success Story: At the age of 31 years old my life
changed drastically in a matter of hours. I was a vibrant, self-sufficient mother of two who had been on
my job for over 13 years when in November of 19891 became ill. I was diagnosed with an AVM on my
brain and I went through an eight hour emergency brain surgery. When I woke up I was told I couldn't
walk and I talked as if I was a 5 year old.

As you can see all of that has changed. When I came to Michigan Rehab, it was because of a friend
who came to my house one night when I was thinking that life was no longer worth living. Although I
could walk and talk again, there was so much static and confusion inside of my head I didn't know what
to do.

I met Jill Shires sometime later, and today I know that she saved my life and helped me to slowly turn
my life back around. A brain injury doesn't always show on the outside it is internal. I was a complete
mess when I met Jill. She dealt with my crude disposition and my severe mood swings. She knew I
was smart and she also understood that it took me awhile to catch on to things. Jill knows that while in
school I would have to read chapters over and over again just to "get it" but she just kept helping me on
this journey to redefine who I was. I believe that God had a hand in all of this because Jill kept being
there for me.

I would be honored to become a mental health provider for MRS. I look forward to having a
relationship that places me in a position to help someone redefine who they are. -Merry B.

West Central District
Serving Allegan, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana,
Osceola, and Ottawa Counties
Char Holloway, District Manager, (231) 773-9151

Facts at a Glance
Residents Served in FY 2007
556 Residents with disabilities placed in competitive employment; 234 Significantly
disabled; and 297 Most significantly disabled.

Employment and Earnings: 556 Residents with disabilities placed into competitive
employment; Average weekly earnings rose from $174 to $375; Annual individual potential
earnings increase if employment is maintained $10,460; and Annual earnings increase if
employment is maintained $5,815,888.

Partnerships: MRS Business Service Representatives are located across the state to help
business owners and managers find solutions to disability-related issues in the workplace.
Services provided include: employee recruitment, interviewing and hiring assistance,
employee retention, employer/supervisor training, and youth services. 408 Completed
employer services (i.e. Best Western, McDonalds, and Rite Aid) and12 Customers
achieved small business self-employment goals.

Customer of West Central District Success Story: Brucina was a customer of Todd Miner, a
counselor in the West Central District Muskegon office. She has paraplegia, a result of a result of
an auto accident in 1997, just four days after her wedding. She came to MRS in May of 2004 and
participated in the Ticket to Work Workshop that same month. A plan was written for a position as
a clerical or administrative support staff person, as she had experience in this area. She was
referred for job search assistance and spent months trying to find the right job for her. She tried for
a number of opportunities and then applied for a job through HGA, to be a Ticket to Work
Specialist on site at the Muskegon MRS office.

She had an amazing interview, impressing the interviewers with her motivation, interest and
interpersonal skills. She was hired and began working part time in July 2005. She has done an
excellent job, providing Ticket to Work Workshops, follow up services, one on one SSA problem
resolution services, and serving as a role model for other SSA recipients throughout the West
central District's ten counties. She moved to full time and completed ETS training in order to
expand her services into job development activities for SSA customers. She has proven to be an
inspiration to us all.

In February of 2007 she participated in a national summit in Atlanta Georgia, to study the Ticket to
Work program. She was chosen to represent Michigan out of 300 applicants. She was one of 50
delegates who spoke to politicians, SSA and other agency representatives. She was the only
Ticket To Work Specialist at the summit, and one of only a few delegates who had previously
received SSA benefits. As a result of this experience, Brucina continues to serve on a national
committee that will continue the advocacy, which began at the summit. All of this was followed up
with a very prominent front-page story in The Muskegon Chronicle in March, which outlines her
history and accomplishments to date – a very inspiring story.

―Umuntu Ngumuntu Negabantu‖
A Zulu saying which translates as, ―A person is a person because of other people‖.

As I complete my eleventh year anniversary as the Executive Director to the Michigan
Rehabilitation Council, I reflect on the privilege I have working for a membership who not
only serves the Governor with pride, but is tireless in its efforts to provide the voice to
Michigan citizens with disabilities in the continual development of the MRS system. The
talents, knowledge, insights, experience, humor, tenacity, and integrity are just a few of the
adjectives that come to mind as I reflect on our current 25 members. Whether of voting or
ex-officio status, each member brings values and commitment to our membership in such
a manner that they are sure to be a successful conduit to our efforts.

The MRC continues to be successful as it follows the direction established in its three year
strategic plan. As each member-driven committee works to achieve the goals and
objectives of their respective work plans, the membership has maintained its proactive
partnership with the MRS State Director and her staff. This philosophical base has served
Michigan citizens with disabilities well, in that a relationship based on trust and respect has
produced a significant outcome: the MRC is consistently included as a member of new or
existing MRS work groups. Within this dynamic, there is a critical balancing point for the
Council. The MRC Members and/or staff persons who join the work groups must be
consciously aware that the best interests of customers coming through the doors of MRS
offices must always be championed. As MRS has observed an increase in inclusion of
MRC within their system, they have come to expect and listen to our customer voice.

This is an exciting time for the MRC. Not only do we have a core group of ―seasoned and
experienced‖ members, our ―newer‖ appointees have demonstrated their commitment
through active involvement with opportunities designed to enhance the learning curve of
membership roles and responsibilities. Within the next few years, I see increased
possibilities for the Council. The need for VR services will not be diminishing, as we know
there are approximately 20 million people with disabilities in our country with national
funding allocations to serve slightly over 1 million. We must strategically align our
advocacy efforts for and within the MRS system so that services are maximized to be
provided in the most effective, equitable, empowering, and efficient manner. I believe that
from the base of our mandated functions, the Michigan Rehabilitation Council will seize the
opportunity to provide ongoing stimulation to the public VR service system in our great
state by utilizing the strength of our customer voice.

I would like to end these remarks with the following inspiration:

―The difference between what we are doing and what we are capable of doing would solve
most of the world's problems.‖ - Mahatma Gandhi

With great hope,

Marlene S. Malloy, Executive Director

Inside the back cover: ?


- Need additional copies of this report?
- Need an alternate format of this report?
- Would you like to receive additional information about the MRC?
- Would you like to become an MRC member?
- Would you like to offer input to the MRC?

In Writing:
Michigan Rehabilitation Council
3490 Belle Chase Way, #110
Lansing, MI 48911
By Phone:
VOICE:       517/887-9370
TOLL FREE: 877/335-9370
FAX:         517/887-9370
TTY:         517/887-5820

Through Electronic Communication:
E-mail: council@mrccouncil.org
Website: www.mrccouncil.org


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