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Published by AR Career Ed, 2017-12-13 13:10:24

State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) Annual Report 2017


State Rehabilitation


2017 Annual Report

In partnership with the Arkansas

Rehabilitation Services Division,

Department of Career Education

Table of Contents

A Message from the State Rehabilitation Council Chair ...................................2

Greetings from Commissioner McClain ................................................................3

State Rehabilitation Council Membership ...........................................................4

Responsibilities of the Arkansas State Rehabilitation Council .................... 5-7

Goals ...........................................................................................................................8

Arkansas Rehabilitation 26 Closures Fast Facts ............................................9-13

VR Affiliated Programs ................................................................................... 14-22

• Arkansas Career Training Institute (ACTI) .......................................................................... 14-15

• Business Engagement ....................................................................................................................16

• Access and Accommodations ......................................................................................................17

• Project SEARCH .............................................................................................................................18
• Transition Services ....................................................................................................................19-22

2017 Stories of Success ...................................................................................23-27

ARS Field Services District Map ..........................................................................28

A Message from the Chair



Asa Hutchinson Department of Career Education Charisse Childers, Ph.D.
Governor Arkansas Rehabilitation Services Director
Alan McClain, Commissioner

November 1, 2017


Along with Chairman Chris Paslay, it is my pleasure to provide the 2017 Annual Report of the
State of Arkansas Rehabilitation Council. The input of the SRC is much more than a federal
requirement; it is essential for the assurance that the work of ARS remains strategically focused
on successful vocational outcomes for individuals served by this agency. This input allows us to
consider perspectives of all stakeholders when prioritizing for the most effective and efficient
use of available resources.

In the report, you will see the many strategies being implemented to ensure ARS is addressing all
related aspects of our agency Strategic Plan, as well as the State of Arkansas Workforce
Innovation and Opportunity (WIOA) Combined State Plan. While much work has gone into
learning and implementing the changes required under WIOA, our strategic direction aligns with
those changes and ultimately results in increased opportunities for employment outcomes with
competitive wages in community-based, integrated settings.

To achieve the required results requires engagement. Engagement is required on the part of the
ARS team with our clients, our educational providers, and engagement with business and
industry. However, engagement beyond ARS is also needed. As stakeholders talk to each other,
success stories are being shared, and the word is getting out that a workforce of diverse abilities
can be a key part of increasing productivity and stability for employers. We are excited that this
thinking has manifested in the Arkansas Business Leadership Network. The Arkansas BLN is
committed to taking these next critical steps in facilitating business to business communication
of this message. We look forward seeing the growth of the BLN, and as always, please reach out
to my office or the membership of the SRC anytime we can be of service.


Alan McClain

525 W. Capitol Avenue | Little Rock, AR 72201 | 501-296-1600 | TDD 501-296-1669 | Fax 501-296-1141 | An Equal Opportunity Employer

State Rehabilitation Council Membership

Christopher Paslay Brian Itzkowitz
Chair Little Rock
Frances Johnson
David Maples Bryant
Bauxite Tom Masseau
Little Rock
Jacqueline Bettis
Fayetteville Martin McDonell
Wesley Eddington
Jonesboro Craig Reinhardt
Little Rock
Addie Edwards
Camden Alex Scott
Robert Fagan
Little Rock Martha Strother
North Little Rock
Albert Glen Glover
El Dorado Keith Vire
Malvin Green
Little Rock Alan McClain
ARS Commissioner
Lisa Haley (Ex-Officio)
Little Rock

The Arkansas State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) is a citizens’ advisory council, appointed by
the Governor, to provide guidance to the state’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program. Its
members help shape policy, engage in strategic planning, and provide guidance to promote
increased employment for individuals with disabilities. Members report annually to the
Governor and the U.S. Department of Education on the status of the VR program. The SRC
spearheads customer satisfaction surveys, participates in the preparation and review of the
comprehensive needs assessment, and co-hosts public hearings and forums. The council
includes individuals with disabilities, community rehabilitation program employees, vocational
rehabilitation counselors, advocates, and representatives of the business community.


Responsibilities of the Arkansas State

Rehabilitation Council

• Reviews, analyzes, and advises Arkansas Rehabilitation Services regarding the performance of
its responsibilities under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act as it relates to program eligibility (including
order of selection) and the extent, scope, and effectiveness of services provided;

• In partnership with the Arkansas Rehabilitation Services helps develop the Arkansas State Plan
for the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program;

• Submits an annual report to the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) commissioner and
Governor that highlights vocational rehabilitation services goals and achievements and make the
report available to the public;

• Helps coordinate working relationships between Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, the State
Independent Living Council (SILC) and centers for independent living;

• Coordinates activities with other councils to avoid duplication of effort and help increase the
number of individuals served;

• Performs other functions consistent with the Title I of the Rehabilitation Act as the Arkansas State
Rehabilitation Council determines to be appropriate; and

• To the extent feasible, reviews and analyzes Arkansas Rehabilitation Services’ vocational
rehabilitation program effectiveness including an assessment of consumer satisfaction with
rehabilitation services provided. An example of the current form used to gauge consumer
satisfaction, and the median results for FY 2017 follow.

Meeting Dates

FY 2017 Meeting Dates Proposed FY 2018 Meeting Dates
December 15, 2016 December 7, 2017
March 23, 2017 March 15, 2018
June 15, 2017 June 21, 2018
September 21, 2017 September 20, 2018


Consumer Satisfaction Survey Sample



FY 2017 Survey Results



As required by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA),
Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS) successfully submitted its portion of
Arkansas’s Unified State Plan during FY2016.

Within that State Plan are specific goals for ARS that were developed in
partnership with the State Rehabilitation Council to address both WIOA
requirements and ARS’s ability to better serve its customers.

Our goals are as follows:

► Establish baselines and meet negotiated rates for the state with respect to
the performance measures under Section 116 of WIOA;

► Increase the percentage of clients that utilized supported employment
services and attained competitive and integrated employment;

► Improve public relations, information, outreach, and referrals;

► Increase collaboration with businesses that lead to increased employment

► Expand and improve the Transition Services program;

► Develop and improve Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs),
including the Arkansas Career Training Institute (ACTI);

► Improve training, resources, and continuing education;

► Improve ARS’s ability to act as a resource when assisting individuals with
disabilities and employers in addressing accommodation needs; and

► Increase the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery.


FY 2017 26 Closures Fast Facts

Successful Closures by District

District I District IV District VII District X
580 329 243 312

District II District V District VIII
282 112 138

District III District VI District IX
67 189 378

FY 2017 26 Closures Fast Facts

Race and Ethnicity

Age Range of Successful Closures


FY 2017 26 Closures Fast Facts

Primary Disability

Successful Closures by Gender


FY 2017 26 Closures Fast Facts

Standard OccupaConal ClassificaCon(SOC) Groups of Successful Closures

SOC Group Number
Management 127 4.8%

Business & Financial 73 2.8%
Computer & Mathema>cal 41 1.6%
Architecture & Engineering 34 1.3%
Life, Physical & Social Science 24 0.9%
Community & Social Service 73 2.8%
Legal 5 0.2%
Educa>on, Training & Library 151 5.7%
Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports & Media 46 1.7%
Healthcare Prac>>oners & Technical Support 196 7.4%
Healthcare Support 182 6.9%
Protec>ve Service 47 1.8%
Food Prepara>on Serving & Related 224 8.5%
Building & Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance 127 4.8%
Personal Care Service 202 7.7%
Office & Administra>ve Support 312 11.9%
Sales & Related 248 9.4%
Farming, Fishing & Forestry 12 0.5%
Construc>on & Extrac>on 44 1.7%
Installa>on, Maintenance & Repair 86 3.3%
Produc>on 212 8.2%
Transporta>on & Material Moving 159 6.0%
Military 3 0.1%
TOTAL 2628 100%

Weekly Earnings at ApplicaCon Weekly Earnings at Closure

Average: $158.00 Average: $439.00

177% increase in weekly earnings a[er receiving VR services


FY 2017 26 Closures Fast Facts


VR Affiliated Programs

The Arkansas Career Training Institute (ACTI) is a comprehensive rehabilitation center, one of
eight in the United States and the only one west of the Mississippi River. A center of excellence, ACTI
is a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week residential facility with the capacity to accommodate up to 320 residential
students. The center receives referrals from field counselors in all 75 counties in Arkansas.

Average Daily Census (On Campus): 247

Total Number of VR clients served on
the ACTI Campus: 781

Total Number of VR
clients served
by ACTI off campus: 6,948

Number of students
with disabilities served
by ACTI off campus: 28

Total Served: 7,757

Council of Occupational Education (COE) Accredited Programming: 283 Students receiving training

ACTI Clients Served 10/01/2016 to 09/30/2017

Training Area Enrolled Enrolled New students Number of Number of Total
10/1/2016 9/30/2017 (10/1/16 -9/30/17) successful incompleters Clients
completers Served
Auto Collision Repair 12 10 8 7 3 20
Auto Service Tech 17 14 12 12 3 29
Business/Marketing Tech & 17 14 9 10 2 26
Sales/Marketing Tech
Certified Nursing Assistant 15 3 12 12 10 27
Construction Tech 24 23 12 7 5 36
Cosmo/Cosmo Instructor 28 14 9 12 11 37

Culinary Arts 38 21 9 17 9 47
Graphic Communications & 16 0 0 16 0 16
Screen Printing
Medical Administrative Assistant 6 2 1 3 2 7

Pharmacy Tech 2 2 1 1 0 3
Welding 29 11 6 18 6 35
Total 204 114 79 115 51 283


Arkansas Career Training Institute (ACTI)

Pre-Employment Transition Services: 182 students with disabilities served
Job exploration and OSHA 10 on high school campuses: 28
Transition Employment Program: 154 began and 115 completed

Co-Curricular Student Organizations (SkillsUSA, HOSA, and JAG):
99 student members of the organizations
Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA): 21 members
Jobs of Arkansas Graduates: 37 members
SkillsUSA: 41 members
State SkillsUSA Medalists: 13

Work Experience Programs: 314 clients received these services
Internships: 221
Paid Work Experiences: 41
Paid Work Experience as Mentors during TEP: 30
Pre-Apprenticeship Training (National Apprenticeship Training Foundations): 22

Talent Development Short-Term Programming: 394 credentials attained by students at ACTI
Material Handling 42
Certified Logistic Tech 1
Certified Production Tech 1
Forklift Training 27
Call Center 4
SerSafe 255
CRC 64
Total 394

Rehabilitation Initial Diagnosis and Assessments for Clients: 6,948 evaluations performed
Standard Assessments: 2,767
Physician Evaluations: 4,181

On Campus Vocational Rehabilitation Evaluations:
10 day assessments: 76

Driver’s Education: 136 clients received this service
Driver’s Permit: 42
Driver’s License: 49
Enrolled and Not Tested: 45


Business Engagement

The state Vocational Rehabilitation Business Engagement division
has a dual focus:
1. Address workplace disability-related needs of Arkansas businesses.
2. Assist Vocational Rehabilitation Service consumers in their pursuit
of employment.
ARS Business Engagement Representatives (BERs) offer more than
15 products and services to employers.
These services include employer outreach, employee retention, hiring,
staff training, referral for accessibility and accommodations provisions, and
education regarding affirmative action in Arkansas for disability inclusion.


• Business partnerships totaled 775 with 550 no-cost services provided. The most popular of these
services included outreach and recruitment. Business Engagement Representatives (BERs) assisted 470
Arkansans in obtaining competitive and integrated employment.

• Our business customers signed 37 Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with our agency resulting in 75
ARS consumers being hired.

• Hosted the Arkansas Business Employment Summit which included 70 businesses from across the state
attending a half-day education and information seminar on emerging practices along with recognizing
model employers.

• Obtained affiliation as a Business Leadership Network (BLN), which is a business led educational
organization with a mission to advance disability inclusion within the workplace.

• Implementation of JDVRTA project: Collaboration between VR field and Business Engagement staff to
enhance development of more successful career pathways based on Labor Market Information.

Reviews from Our Business Partners

“By partnering with Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, Tyson Foods is employing skilled workers and gaining
the support we need to be an inclusive employer.” -Rashad Delph, Talent Acquisitions, Tyson Food

“Of benefit to us is this: VR knows our business and the jobs we have and can match people to them. They
understand our business needs.” -Kevin Lindsey, Regional HR Manager, Kroger

“Jefferson Regional Medical Center values our affiliation with Arkansas Rehabilitation Services and
enthusiastically support its mission and consumers.” -Susanne Chambliss, HR Manager
Jefferson Regional Medical Center

“We aim to make sure that everyone has a chance to use their skills and have a chance at success,
regardless of circumstances. We consider the Division of Rehabilitation Services to be a Great Partner at
Harps.” -Frank Ray, VP Human Resources, Harps Food Stores


Access and Accommodations

Access and Accommodations (A&A) consists of assistive technology (AT) and work-related
programs that provide direct support to vocational rehabilitation clients and counselors or act as a

Assistive Technology at Work

The Assistive Technology at Work ([email protected]) provides direct support to vocational rehabilitation
clients by providing AT assessments and consultation services. During the last federal fiscal year,
[email protected] staff provided these services to 296 individuals. These individuals required services in
the areas of students requiring accommodations for school, clients actively seeking employment,
and those seeking workplace accommodations to remain at work through the Stay-at-Work/Return-
to-Work (SAW/RTW) program. A&A and VR staff also regularly utilize services of our Community
Services Programs (CSP). These programs can often benefit and support clients and their families
when VR is unable to provide services or direct financial assistance. The Increasing Capabilities
Access Network (ICAN) allows clients to try out a piece of assistive technology to determine its
suitability before purchase. Its re-utilization and redistribution program can also be used as a no-
cost solution for some equipment, often durable medical equipment. The Telecommunications
Access Program (TAP) can be utilized if a client has telecommunication needs at home, but this may
translate/transport to school or work activities in some instances. The Alternative Finance Program
(AFP) can and has been used as another funding source for assistive technology which is not
purchased by ARS.

Stay at Work/Return to Work

The Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work (SAW/RTW) program is designed to assist the employee and
employer either keep an existing employee on the job or successfully return an employee as quickly
and effectively as possible. During the last fiscal year, SAW/RTW staff assisted 115 individuals
in these efforts. Thirty-two of these individuals were located within state government, and the
rest came from private sector business. Most of these referrals concerned job retention and the
provision of workplace accommodations. SAW/RTW staff members have also worked closely with
the Public Employee Claims Division (PECD) in the creation and implementation of a SAW/RTW
curriculum for front-line supervisors within state government. The goal of this training is to educate
those in management roles within state government on the creation and implementation of a SAW/
RTW program with the end goal of state agencies retaining employees with disabilities at a larger
percentage, and increasing the probability of hiring individuals with disabilities in the future. This
training has been sanctioned and is being promoted by the state’s Office of Personnel Management


Project SEARCH ®

Project SEARCH is a nine-month internship program for youth and young adults with intellectual and
developmental disabilities. Interns in the program complete three 10-week rotations at different jobs within the
host business partner site. An effort is made to totally immerse interns into the business with training provided
by department supervisors and permanent employees with the support of a job coach.

Project SEARCH Sites

Project SEARCH Arkansas sites are developed under
a partnership between ACCESS Group, Inc., and Arkansas
Rehabilitation Services (ARS).

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) –
Little Rock (an adult model developed in 2013): Competitive
integrated employment outcomes have been 100% the past
three years; strong business support exists as 21 businesses
serve on the Business Advisory Council. Highest wages earned
is $15.62 per hour with benefits. Fifty percent of graduates
working full-time with benefits, including retirement.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) – Little Rock (an adult model developed in 2015): Competitive
integrated employment 100% in 2016.

CHI St. Vincent – Hot Springs (a high school model developed Fall 2016)

Ouachita County Medical Center (OCMC) – Camden (an adult model developed Fall 2017)

St. Bernards Regional Medical Center (SMRC) – Jonesboro (an adult model developed Fall 2017)

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) – Pine Bluff (an adult model development initiated for Fall

Mercy Hospital Fort Smith (an adult model development initiated for Fall 2018)

Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center – Russellville (an adult model developed Fall 2017)

Washington Regional Medical Center – Fayetteville (a high school model developed Fall 2011)

In the fall of 2019, two sites will be added. These sites have yet to be determined.


Transition Services

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) mandates state VR agencies spend 15% of it
federal dollars on Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS). In order to accomplish this, ARS is/will be
partnering with the state’s 298 local school districts and other community partners to develop and implement
a program that effectively incorporates the five core areas of Pre-ETS (work readiness, work-based learning,
counseling on post-secondary education, career exploration, and self-advocacy) as outlined by WIOA.

Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS) added 17 new community partners between October 1, 2016, and
September 30, 2017. These partners are Abilities Unlimited Hot Springs, ACCESS, ASN, Boone County ILS,
ILS-Conway, Career Links, CDTI-Mid South, Central Arkansas Disability Services, Easter Seals, Friendship
Community Care, Lonoke Exceptional Schools, MARVA, Myers-Davis, Pathfinder, Polk County Development
Services, Superior Success and TEEM Academy. These services are provided on high school campuses and/
or at the vendor’s location during the school day.

Six vendors had summer programs concentrating on job readiness and work experience for Pre-ETS
students. These vendors were ASN, Boone County ILS, ILS Conway, Easter Seals, Lonoke Exceptional
Schools, and Superior Success.

A contract was completed to provide Pre-ETS services on the campus of the Arkansas School for the Deaf
in March of 2017. The contract includes off-campus work-based learning experiences and focuses on self-
advocacy and independence in the workplace setting.

Creating Opportunities for Youth

Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS), a division of the Arkansas Department of Career Education
launched Creating Opportunities for Youth in July 2017. ARS partnered with Goodwill Industries of Arkansas,
Rite of Passage, and DHS’ Division of Youth Services to provide career-based training to juveniles with
documented disabilities at the Alexander Youth Facility. The goal is to facilitate work behaviors, habits, and
skills that will promote competitive integrated employment for students once they exit the secondary school
The students that will be served in this program at the facility are between the ages of 16 and 21.
Research has shown that youth with disabilities are at a higher rate for involvement in the juvenile justice
system. Also, youth with learning disabilities and those with emotional or behavioral disorders are punished at
higher rates than their peers who do not have a documented disability.
ARS, Goodwill Industries of Arkansas, and the Division of Youth Services have signed a Memorandum
of Understanding to promote long-term employment of individuals with disabilities by concentrating on skills
they need to be successful, including workplace readiness training and work-based learning experiences.
Training and learning experiences will include teaching independent living skills, conflict resolution, interview
preparation, and financial literacy. Upon exiting the facility, each student enrolled will be transferred to an
Arkansas Rehabilitation Services counselor to continue the path of career planning, which includes training
and services that lead to long-term employment.
These services are made possible by new federal regulations that were published on August 19, 2016, by
the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WOIA). The federal regulations allow vocational rehabilitation
agencies to build and support programs for students while they are still in high school, which encourage
training and planning that lead to meaningful careers.


Transition Services

Youth Leadership Forum

More than forty delegates learned about money management,
job interview tips, and other independent living skills while
participating in the annual Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) for
students with disabilities, which took place during the week of July
9-14 on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas.
YLF, a five-day leadership program sponsored by ARS, is
geared toward helping rising 11 and 12 grade students with
disabilities to make informed decisions as it relates to their futures.
The delegates get the opportunity to interact with the presenters and
other delegates, which represent all corners of the state.
The delegates took the much-anticipated trip to the capital city to tour the Arkansas State Capitol Building
and to learn how state government functions.
Following the tour at the Capitol, the delegates attended the Mentor’s Luncheon at the Crowne Plaza Hotel,
where they were encouraged by Natalie Parks, Ph.D., the keynote speaker. A licensed psychologist, Parks
helps companies by empowering staff members to realize their full potential.
This program is available at no cost to the participants. Students undergo a competitive process to be
selected. Students from all 75 counties are eligible to apply.

Inclusion Film Camp

Movie director and producer Joey Travolta, who is the older brother of
Academy Award-winning actor John Travolta, took a break from the bright
lights in Hollywood to spend some time in northwest Arkansas. But he did
take a break from filmmaking.
Travolta directed a series of short films in Bentonville with the help of
some Arkansas high school juniors and seniors with disabilities. Taking
place at the Northwest Arkansas Community College, the site served as
the location of Joey Travolta’s Inclusion Film Camp.
April 2017 was the first time Travolta has hosted this camp in
For eleven years, Travolta and his staff have conducted film camps
across the country, seeking to support young people with disabilities in
their quest to reach their full potential, despite the challenges with which
they live. The camp teaches participants how to apply communication
skills, teamwork, and self-determination techniques that can be transferred
into any job setting.
The Inclusion Film Camp was held in collaboration between Arkansas
Rehabilitation Services (ARS), Arkansas Transition Services, and local
school districts to provide students on an IEP or 504 plan the opportunity
to develop skills in the art of filmmaking.
There was a red carpet premiere in October 2017 at the Northwest Arkansas Community College in
Bentonville to showcase the final product.

Transition Services

Opportunities for Work-Based Learning (OWL)

Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS) in collaboration with
Arkansas Transition Services, a division of the Department of OWL Facts:
Education/Special Education Unit, has developed an approach
to provide work-based learning under Pre-employment Transition • 16 school districts participating
Services within local school districts. The program is known as • 646.6 (collective total) OWL hours
Opportunities for Work-Based Learning (OWL). OWL delineates of on campus work hours
the requirements and financial responsibilities of Individuals • 842.13 (collective total) OWL hours
with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) with that of the Workforce of off campus work hours
Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). • 78.25 (collective total) OWL hours
A work experience project team was established. This team worked in school based enterprise
included the State Director of Special Education, the Director of
Arkansas Transition Services, a local Special Education Director,
a local School Counseling Supervisor, the ARS Chief of Field Services, the ARS Transition Manager, the
ARS Vocational Education Coordinator, and the ARS Community Program Development Manager. The team
engaged in discussions about regulations governing each agency and discovered that the needs and operating
structures of each school vary. They also discovered that most schools throughout the state are not offering
opportunities for students to engage in work experiences or opportunities for work-based learning. The team
outlined what schools needed to initiate work-based learning as a part of the curriculum by setting standards
through a work experience practice profile.
The OWL program is a collaborative partnership in which opportunities for work-based learning are
embedded within the Department of Education’s Special Education Transition Course Code. Schools
throughout Arkansas had the opportunity to complete and submit an OWL proposal outlining their current
program structure within transition specifying opportunities for work-based learning. The proposal intends to
illustrate a school’s current approach to transition. The OWL program is an opportunity for ARS to collaborate
with local school districts to define roles and responsibilities while setting the criteria for implementation of the

Praises for OWL

• “My student has really gained confidence. She is happy and
takes pride in both her jobs.”

• “It was difficult to choose just one student success story. This
program has been a blessing to so many students and faculty.”

• “Already in the first month of this program and I already get
such positive results of the wonderful opportunity this program
has offered!”


Transition Services


Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS) is a partner in the Arkansas PROMISE Grant, a model
demonstration project awarded to six states. The state’s award is $38 million over five years to
develop and implement a transition model that provides 2,000 youth on SSI the opportunity to self-
discover their skills, strengths, and abilities through training and paid work experiences.

During FY 2017, 414 AR PROMISE youth were provided paid work experiences, and 177 youth
attended the week-long AR PROMISE summer camp.

The paid work experiences have resulted in some of the youth placement on employer payrolls for
after school, weekends, and holidays: 7 reported in 2015, 8 reported in 2016, and 9 reported in 2017
for a total of 24.

Transition Employment Program (TEP)

Transition Employment Program (TEP) is a
comprehensive pre-employment training service
that meets all mandated cores of Workforce
Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA):
Job Exploration, Work-Based Learning, Workplace
Readiness, Post-Secondary Counseling, and
Instruction in Self-Advocacy Training.
TEP was created in 2010 and implemented,
in partnership with ACTI, in 2013. Fourteen high
school students with disabilities participated in the
pilot program for TEP in 2014. Since 2014, TEP
has grown from 14 students in 7 schools to 115
students in 75 schools in 2017.


Success Stories

Mike Wallace, 2013 ACTI Graduate

Mike Wallace, a native of El Dorado, graduated from ACTI in 2013.
He completed training in automobile service technology and was taught
by Wayne Thomas and the late Phil Crume. He also achieved a gold
level Career Readiness Certificate. He was very appreciative of the
time Rebecca Schwartz spent working with him to help him achieve the
After graduation, Mike has had a great career. He began his career
at Landers Chrysler in Benton. After two years of work, he decided he
wanted a change and because he had relocated back to Hot Springs,
the drive back and forth to Benton was less than desirable. In 2015, he
had the opportunity to try a new career in the automotive industry: car
He was a little nervous at first because he knew he would need to
work hard to hone his craft as a salesperson. However, he stated that
the customer service training he received as part of Career Readiness
established a great foundation. He was excited to share a glimpse into
his success. During his first year as a salesman he made more than
$100,000 in salary and commission. He also shared that his wife likes
that when he comes home he does not smell like oil.
Mike has also had great success in his personal life. He is married
with three children and one on the way. He purchased his first home
and is now looking to purchase his second home and use his current
house as a rental property.
Mike shared that much of his life he has struggled. When asked
what advice he would give to other ACTI students he shared the
following keys to success:
• “Take care of your business” - He explained, as a salesperson,
he sees people from all walks of life and income levels. Those
that pay their bills on time have good credit and are more
• “Show up early and work hard” - Mike has been on his own
since he was 17 years old. He said to treat your education as a
job and demonstrate that you are eager to show up and work hard and doors will open.
• “Customer Service Skills are needed regardless of your job” - Mike shared that he has a significant
learning disability. He struggled speaking clearly, as well as with math. He still has to remind himself to
slow down, but credits the skills taught at ACTI with giving him the confidence to build an incredible set
of skills that makes him a top performer. This includes both math and public speaking.
Mike is a great example of the students at ACTI. He worked hard in class and maintained nearly a full time
job at McDonald’s during his training. Mike is a great testament to the ACTI spirit and success that was built on
the strong foundations started at ACTI.


Success Stories

Danielle Farnsworth, 2016 ACTI Graduate

Danielle Farnsworth graduated from the Arkansas Career
Training Institute in cosmetology. She was employed at
Master Cuts even before she graduated. While she had
begun her career as a hair stylist, she took an interest in
management. She gained the trust of her manager by not
only opening and closing the salon but also bookkeeping and
scheduling duties.
In April 2017, the salon manager promoted Danielle to
serve as interim manager, a role she filled for three months.
While at the helm, Danielle built strong relationships with the
other cosmetologists, and she gained their support as a leader.
In July 2017, she was officially promoted to manager.
“I believe the leadership opportunities I had at ACTI through SkillsUSA (as ACTI president and
competitor) and the resident assistant program prepared me,” Danielle said. She also indicated that
a strong work ethic and perseverance were keys to her success. She credits ACTI for training her
with the skills needed for success. While she attributes ACTI for the good foundation, Farnsworth
said she knew that she had to have a desire to keep learning.
Danielle is a testament to perseverance. While matriculating at ACTI, Danielle’s instructors
learned that even though she could complete the training, she would be unable to take the test
because of stipulations in her guardianship. This was a major setback for Danielle because she had
a passion for cosmetology. Her zeal for the career path was punctuated by her creativity, along with
artistic and people skills. Furthermore, she realized that cosmetology is recession proof. She would
always have a job.
Danielle’s time at ACTI was a journey. While at the facility, she demonstrated an ability to be self-
sufficient. It was not easy, as her past personal experiences made life difficult to continue on at times.
Yet she did not give up. She gained the support of some of her instructors, namely Ms. Nancy and
Ms. Judy. She developed great skills in retail, which eventually helped her secure a part-time and
then full-time position at Sally’s Beauty Supply.
Danielle’s determination and hard work paid off. She overcame her adversities and setbacks.
Most notably, her guardianship was overturned! She returned to ACTI to graduate. “Your
opportunities are what you make of them. If you let small things derail your success, they will,”
Danielle said, when asked about what advice she would give current students. “Make the most of
your life and apply yourself!” She encouraged students to “think of ACTI as practice for the Major
League of the world of work.”
In addition to the skills she obtained through cosmetology, Danielle earned a Silver Career
Readiness Certificate, which she ascribes to valuing the importance of customer service, quick
learning, effective communication, time management, and problem solving. All of these skills have
been implemented in her career.
Danielle is quite the success story. She has her own vehicle, a good place to live, and pays her
bills ahead of time. The ACTI staff is very proud of her.


Success Stories

Andrew Rodgers, Self-Employment/Small Business Program

In 2014 Andrew Rodgers became very ill. After dealing
with the effects of brain swelling and other health problems,
he was placed on disability and eventually let go from his job
because of medical issues. “This was a devastating blow to me
as a husband, man, and father,” Andrew said. “I feared for the
survival of my family which I had promised to always support
and provide for.”
That’s when Andrew heard about Arkansas Rehabilitation
Services (ARS). He became a client and entered into ARS’
Self Employment/Small Business Program. “I was a guy with
a dream and a disability, but ARS only saw the dream and
not my disability.” After successfully completing the program,
Andrew was able to open his own business, a childcare center
called ‘Incredible Kidz Academy’ in 2016. “It is because of the
outstanding commitment given to me by ARS that I can now
say that I am a business owner!”

Clifton Wheeley, District II, Field Services

Clifton Wheeley, a Nettleton High School graduate,
was referred to ARS in 2013. He was diagnosed with
a Learning Disability/ADHD. Upon graduation, Clifton
decided to enroll at ASU-Newport to train as a Diesel
Mechanic. Clifton indicated to his counselor that he was
very determined to overcome the stigma of his learning
disability and its being a hindrance of meeting one of his
future goals.
In May 2015, Clifton graduated from ASU-Newport as
a Diesel Mechanic with a CDL license as well. Counselor
Sharon Rowe referred Clifton to job placement. Shortly
thereafter, he secured employment. Clifton was hired as a Diesel Mechanic at MHC Ken Worth. The
job required him to purchase his own tools as a Diesel Mechanic, so ARS assisted him in that effort.
Clifton was then offered an opportunity at UPS as a Diesel Mechanic with better benefits and higher
pay. Clifton is still successfully employed at UPS today.


Success Stories

Christopher Goad, District VIII, Field Services

Christopher Goad started working on the Supported Employment
program in April 2017. Marsha Hayes, his counselor, said the
following: “I was honored to work with Christopher and watch this
young man develop his job skills as he completed each Supported
Employment milestone.”
Christopher was officially hired at Texas Roadhouse in
September 2017. Originally hired to fill the butter cups, Christopher
was promoted after only a short time to take on other duties.
Christopher said, “Hard work pays off. I’m happy, achieving my
goals and very proud of myself.”

Sidney Owens, District III, Field Services
Sidney Owens is a native of Wynne, Arkansas. During school,
he had difficulty in comprehension and issues with social skills.
However, with the help of devoted teachers, he was able to beat
the odds. In May 2002, Sidney graduated from Forrest City High
School. After graduation, he became withdrawn and stayed
indoors mostly. However, he would assist his parents with their
needs. Sidney admitted that those were some sorrowful years.
Then, in 2013, he contacted Arkansas Rehabilitation Services for
assistance. Sidney was found eligible and was provided multiple
services over an extended period. From 2013-15, he attended
the Cross County Special Workshop for Vocational Training and
completed it in good standing.
Today, Sidney works for Hays Grocery Store in Wynne, AR
as a stock clerk. He enjoys his work duties and is satisfied with employment. Since he has been employed,
Sidney has been able to move into his own home for the first time in his life. He has purchased a new car, as
well. Sidney is happy to be on his own now, although he still has to assist his parents by running errands and
providing needed care. Sidney’s hobbies include playing basketball, video games, and going out with friends.
Finally, Sidney said that he is first most thankful to God for giving him the grace to persevere over many
life challenges. He is extremely grateful for the assistance that he has received from Arkansas Rehabilitation
Services. All ARS services and training has inspired him with enough dedication and hard work for
employment, self-reliance, and satisfaction. He wants to thank Arkansas Rehabilitation Services for all the
support they have shown him.


Success Stories

Arkansas ranked #1 in disability employment

.S. News & World Report is a 24-hour rehabilitation
has identified Arkansas center where students receive
Uas the top state for people vocational training and
with disabilities to become certification in programs like
employed. welding, cosmetology, and
The publication compiled culinary arts.
the ranking by calculating the "I am very proud to see
ratio of people in the workforce Arkansas take the top spot
with a disability over people in this report,” said Governor
in the workforce without a Asa Hutchinson. “This is
disability. The distinction a result of a concentrated Matthew Prickett, a 2017 UAMS Project
follows the 27th anniversary of effort by the state to employ SEARCH graduate, works at Edward's
the passage of the Americans Arkansans with a broad- Food Giant. The UAMS Project SEARCH
site was developed in full partnership
with Disabilities Act, created range of abilities, talents, and between UAMS, ACCESS Group, Inc.,
to eliminate discrimination and skills that help strengthen our and ARS, a division of the Arkansas
to foster equal opportunity state’s workforce. It is very Department of Career Education. It is a
nine-month innovative job training program
for people with disabilities in encouraging to see our state for young adults with disabilities.
every aspect of life. The law agencies, disability service
outright prohibits discrimination providers, and employers
in employment, state and working together to have such a
local government services, significant impact,” Hutchinson
public accommodations, and said.
transportation. “We are proud of this
Arkansas Rehabilitation distinction,” said Alan McClain,
Services (ARS), a division of Commissioner of Arkansas
the Arkansas Department of Rehabilitation Services. “This
Career Education, is charged is a result of the hard work from
with preparing Arkansans with our entire ARS team, along
disabilities to work and lead with dedicated disability service
independent lives. With 19 providers throughout the state,
field offices throughout the who have made it their mission
state, the agency provides to see that individuals with
Arkansans with disabilities with disabilities find employment.
assessments, career planning, Additionally, this reflects that
and job placement opportunities Arkansas employers recognize
so clients can care for the value that individuals of William Stevens, a 2017 Project SEARCH
themselves and their families. many different abilities bring graduate, is now able to help others with
The Arkansas Career Training to a productive and skilled disabilities find employment through his
Institute, located in Hot Springs, workforce,” he added. job in Transition Services at Arkansas
Rehabilitation Services.



Arkansas Rehabilitation Services

is a division of the

Arkansas Department of Career Education

Visit us at

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