The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) provides services to Hawaii community members who experience barriers to employment due to a physical or cognitive disability. DVR is designed to assist job seekers with disabilities prepare, secure, and retain competitive employment in an integrated work setting. DVR furnishes the finest resources and opportunities for training, support, and career placement. Productive partnerships with other state agencies, private non-profits, and employers pave the way for our consumers to find successful employment with the reality of competitive wages. The underlying philosophy and goal of the DVR is through employment, individuals with disabilities are empowered toward economic self-sufficiency, independence, inclusion, and integration into society.
Services for Persons who are Blind and Visually Impaired:
Services for the blind and visually impaired are provided at VR’s Services for the Blind Branch called Ho’opono. Ho’opono provides rehabilitation and related services for persons who are blind and visually impaired. These services include, but are not limited to, education for the understanding and prevention of blindness, vocational rehabilitation services leading to job placement, low vision clinic examinations with the prescription and fitting of special optical aids and appliances to maximize residual vision, and training in the skills of blindness to empower consumers toward independence and success in their vocations and their lives.
Instructional Services Include orientation and mobility, Braille, computers and other communication skills development, life skills, personal and home management, shop classes to build self-confidence, and adjustment to blindness group discussions. Ho’opono strives to create an environment where students gain knowledge, skills and a positive attitude they need to achieve success in life. Skills of blindness training and attitude development emphasize that blindness is not a barrier to success in employment and life.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing:
VR provides services to persons who are deaf or hard of hearing statewide. The island of Oahu has a Deaf Services Section that provides services only to deaf and hard of hearing persons. Deaf and hard of hearing persons on the neighbor islands are served by counselors who have received specialized training.
VR awards and monitors two grant-in-aid projects from the legislature. One is for Independent Living Services for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind persons and the other is for Interpreter Referral Services for Persons who are Deaf.