Episode 007: WWRC Quarterly Directors Report August 27, 2015

The Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center’s name change has been accomplished in accordance with the revised state code that was enacted into law July 1, 2015.  WWRC held a ceremony on campus, July 1, 2015, to recognize this significant change.  Elizabeth Creamer, Office of Secretary of Commerce and Trade and Workforce Advisor, was the keynote speaker for the event.  She described the Center’s legacy of service and acknowledged the exceptional performance and service of WWRC to individuals with disabilities.  Among the highlights was her emphasis on WWRC’s Career Pathways Award, the outstanding performance of WWRC students in completion of the Career Readiness Certification, and the degree to which WWRC has become a leader in offering training that is “business driven.”  She cited the accomplishments of the Hershey Company’s HEROS program (Hershey Extends Real Opportunities to Succeed) as an example of collaboration between workforce development and Virginia business/industry.

WWRC Preliminary Year-End Data (State Fiscal Year 2015)

Average Daily Census
WWRC finished State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2015 with an average daily census of 331, up from 302 in the previous year (SFY2014).  WWRC averaged 188 vocational training clients enrolled per day in SFY2015, and had the highest number of LSTP participants (454 in the full 9-week LSTP program), since program inception (October, 2005)
Top Counselors
Special thanks to State Fiscal Year 2015’s top counselors.   Two DRS Counselors tied in using WWRC the most this year.  Jack Bullario and Nikki Thompson both referred 66 clients to the Center.  Thanks Jack and Nikki!  The top referring counselors from each region was as follows:  Northern, Jack Ballurio and Nikki Thompson; Central, Kate Kaegi; Eastern, Yvette McDaniel; and Southwest, Donna Martin and Nora Tucker.  The top ten referring counselors in SFY 2015 are as follows: Jack Ballurio, Nikki Thompson, Tracy Topolosky, Amy Pell, Loretta Harris, Bret Hart, Tammy Woodard Welch, Eleana Boyer, Jessica Stehle, and Leslie Diaz Ortiz.  These counselors will be recognized at WWRC’s September Graduation for their teamwork and collaboration with WWRC to reach employment outcomes for clients.

CVS, DARS, and WWRC Embark on Partnership
CVS Pharmacy representatives Duane Rohr, Manager of Workforce Initiatives, Charneta Young, former Manager of Workforce Initiatives, and Stacey Butler, Regional Learning Center Manager, are pushing forward with an initiative at Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center.  CVS has made substantial donations of equipment and product to set up a mock store at WWRC.  In September Duane will work with WWRC to fine tune the WWRC curriculum to prepare students to work at CVS.  WWRC will also partner with local stores to provide internships as part of the WWRC experience.  Clients will be accepted in January 2016 for the program. There are over 300 vacancies on any given day at CVS stores located in Virginia. CVS Video Link

Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) Data
WWRC began Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) testing during SFY 2009.  A CRC is an assessment-based credential that gives employers and career seekers a uniform measure of key workplace skills. The CRC was developed due to concern about the gap between the skills required in today’s workplace and those exhibited by job seekers.  The CRC is a portable skills credential, assuring employers that a job applicant has the skills they seek in today’s complex and competitive work environment.  It has become a valuable assessment and training tool for employers throughout Virginia.
In State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2015, 192 consumers obtained a CRC credential at either the Gold (35), Silver (93), or Bronze level (64).  This was the highest number of consumers obtaining a CRC since the inception of testing in 2009.  The previous high was 140 in SFY14.   The pass rate for SFY15 was 91.4%.
Administrative Governance Manual
The Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center is pleased to announce the launch of its newly created Administrative Governance Manual (AGM) which provides, in one centralized location, the Center’s cultural context, governance authority and leadership direction, its policies and procedures, standards and expectations, and links to key internal/external resources critical to Center operations.
Building Trades at “Art in the Park” 
The City of Staunton recently held their annual Art in the Park craft show.  Over 200 artisans applied for space at the show, but only the top 82 artisans were allowed to show their wares.  One of those artisan groups turned out to be the students from the WWRC Building Trades program.  This provided a great opportunity to sharpen customer service skills for WWRC’s consumers.
New Instructors in Business Information Technology (BIT)
Diane Hinch, formerly WWRC ETO instructor, will now head the Business and Information Technology program.  She comes to this program with a wealth of knowledge of the business world in and around the August County area.  We welcome Diane to her new position and wish her the best success.  We also welcome David Holmes, who came to WWRC in June of this year and works part time as a BIT instructor.
Changes to the WWRC Automotive Training program
The Automotive Training program consists of two individual and distinct areas:  Automotive Service Technician (AST) and General Service Technician (GST).  The AST program will still be offered on Campus as it has been in the past.  The GST program has become an External Training Option (ETO), but will still be offered on campus, but through another instructor located on the WWRC grounds.  Kevin Kennedy, who is currently an Equipment Repair Tech with our Physical Plant Services, will take on the extra duties of instructing students in the GST program. Our new External Training Options (ETO) instructor, Beth Perkins, will be handling all of the GST students.
Computer Support Services (CSS)
Matt Hooven is the new Computer Support Services instructor.  He has been working very hard to support WWRC students in obtaining the A+ Certification through direct instruction, book knowledge, and with plenty of hands-on experience.  Students must complete a minimum of 50 computer repairs before they are ready to graduate and take the exam.

Success Stories

 The 2015 Greater August Chamber of Commerce Academic Achievers Banquet was held at Blue Ridge Community College on May 21, 2015.  This banquet is an annual event to honor outstanding academic achievers from 13 area public, private, and vocational and technical schools.  Thirty-nine students were honored at the banquet which was attended by parents, school administrators and local dignitaries.  Four Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation students (WWRC) were recognized:  Mary Katherine Feehan, Morgan Freeman, Megan Prescott and Kaitlyn Taylor.  All received a letter of commendation from Senator Warner and a certificate from the Chamber.  Twenty of these students were awarded a $1000 scholarship.  Mary Katherine Feehan was a recipient.
Forrest Campbell successfully completed Food Service Training in June, and the first week of August he completed the Stand Alone Driver’s Education Program.  On August 6, he called to say that he immediately started job hunting and his first stop was the Northside 29 Diner in Warrenton.  Forrest said that they were so impressed with all of his credentials, ServSafe, Customer Service, and Career Readiness Certificate, that they hired him without even interviewing him.  He started August 7 working 2:00 p.m. to closing at $11.00 per hour.  He doesn’t have a set schedule yet, and he told them that being paid minimum wage would be fine.  Their response was that they didn’t want to lose someone with his training and credentials, and therefore, offered him $11.00/hour.  John Jackson was his Center Counselor, and his DARS Counselor was Lynn Stephenson.
Leslie Vinson started his training at WWRC in August 2014 as a Plumber’s Helper.  He worked on campus with Dan Rocco, Plumbing Technician, for a few weeks and then trained with E & E Plumbing and Heating in Stuarts Draft.  Leslie had some rough moments in the beginning, but successfully worked through his challenges.  He became a reliable worker who picked up new tasks quickly and had good productivity.  As he was nearing the end of his program, he started checking into possible companies he might work for back home.  He returned home for a few days, lined up some interviews and was very fortunate to get on with Smith & Keene Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing; they are a contractor for the Naval Weapons Station in Yorktown, Va.  He went to work for them in June at a rate of $38.00 an hour.  Leslie’s Field Counselor is Ami Williams in the Warsaw Office and Tom Blosser is his WWRC Counselor.
Daniel Mills completed the Personal Care Aide program at WWRC and moved into the Nurse Aide Program which he completed in August 2014.  He participated in the “in-facility” testing here at WWRC and passed both parts of the testing on his first attempt.  Daniel also worked very closely with Sharon Russo for physical conditioning and with Susan Hansborough for specialized equipment for his hearing needs.  He started a new job on June 4 at an adult daycare center.  His position will be full time with benefits at $11.00 per hour.  Daniel is doing great and wanted to thank the staff at WWRC for everything they helped him to achieve.  His WWRC counselor was Wanda Ayers and his field counselor was Shirley Ferguson in the Richmond office.