Our division offers vocational rehabilitation programs and services to assist people with disabilities to prepare for, secure, retain or regain employment.
Our team is committed to ensuring that individuals with disabilities have opportunities to compete for and enjoy high quality employment. We collaborate with individuals with disabilities and community partners to empower individuals to maximize their employment, working towards economic self-sufficiency and independence.
Do you have questions? Contact your local DRS Office to connect with staff.
Learn about the various programs and services we offer.
Autism Services - This program helps individuals on the autism spectrum prepare for the world of work through a comprehensive model that incorporates effective VR practices, evidence based services, meaningful collaboration, and access to providers with essential expertise, knowledge and skills for working with persons with autism.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services - The Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program helps individuals who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Late Deafened or DeafBlind get ready for work, find a job or keep a job.
Employment Services & Special Programs - The office partners with community rehabilitation providers to provide employment and vocational services throughout the state. We provide long-term support fund management; standards oversight of Employment Services Organizations (ESOs); administration of the Economic Development Fund, and coordination and support of special programs.
Pre-ETS and Transition Services - DRS works together with students, youth, families, schools and community agencies and organizations to provide services that promote successful transitions from school to work and adult life.
Self-Employment Enterprise - Self-employment is an option that may be considered for any DRS customer when it is determined through the IPE (Employment Plan) process that this is an appropriate method for that individual to reach the established employment goal.
Serious Mental Illness - The program enhances consumer community and vocational successes by providing vocational development, placement, and job retention services, primarily in conjunction with 10 CSBs/BHAs located throughout the Commonwealth.
Substance Abuse Services - DRS work in conjunction with DBHDS to address job entry and maintenance problems experienced by people with Substance Abuse Disorders (SUD) by focusing on vocational development, work habits, job readiness, and employment follow-along services along with collaborative CSB/BHA clinical and social supports.
Supported Employment - This service is one of many effective ways of assisting persons with disabilities in gaining and maintaining employment. DARS partners with over 75 Employment Service Organizations in providing situational assessment, job development, placement and training services and long term follow along.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) - DARS partners with Employment Advancement TANF grant recipients throughout the Commonwealth to maximize opportunities to share resources and provide appropriate employment Service for these consumers in collaboration with their local Departments of Social Services.
Tom Rybak and Ronnie Childs of DARS' Richmond fabrication shop talk about the process for designing AT devices that help DARS consumers who need accommodations at home or in the workplace and the opportunities they provide, including greater independence and employment.
Regina Root is a professor of Hispanic studies at the College of William and Mary. But after a brain tumor diagnosis in 2014, and surgery that required her to learn how to walk, talk and perform basic tasks all over again, she wasn't sure if she would ever be able to return to work.
DARS has partnered with Lowe's Home Improvement stores throughout Virginia to hire more people with disabilities. With the help of a DARS business development manager and Lowe's HR manager, a Lynchburg area store successfully hired Nathan Christ, who is deaf, to a permanent part-time position. Learn more from the Lowe's newsroom.
Nearly 190 high school students in Virginia with intellectual and developmental disabilities participated in a national career program during the 2017-2018 school year to gain skills and work experience through internships in health care or business. The program, funded by the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, began in Virginia in 2008 and is coordinated by DARS, the Virginia Department of Education, and several local hospitals and public school systems. Learn more in a news release from our Communications Department.
Nine DRS offices around the Commonwealth celebrated National Disability Employment Awareness Month, held each October. This year's theme, "Inclusion Drives Innovation," was reflected in keynote speeches and remarks by nearly 50 businesses, partners and employees who were honored.
Watch news coverage of Lynchburg event.