Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services
To maximize access to in-demand and high-quality careers by Montanans with disabilities seeking dignity through choice, integration, and self-reliance.
Youth and adults with disabilities face many disadvantages in employment, including when working for others or in self-employment. VRBS reverses those disadvantages with high quality and timely employment services. VRBS believes that disability is natural, that society should maintain high expectations for people with disabilities, and that our services change lives and systems. Informed choice and the priority to serve those with the most significant disabilities drive everything we do. Our staff members are guiders, and the people we serve are deciders. The bulk of our service centers on getting people with disabilities to believe in themselves and to set vocational goals and plans consistent with their career dreams. Our services insist on the civil rights and responsibilities of each participant. The people we serve have skin in the game, doing for themselves the things they can do for themselves. Moreover, VRBS champions competitive integrated employment, that is, jobs in the community with comparable wages and advancement opportunities. Very deliberately, VRBS presumes all people with disabilities, including those with the most significant disabilities, can work in competitive integrated settings. For far too long, society pipelined many workers with disabilities into sheltered, crew, and sub-minimum wage jobs. While workers may choose to work in segregated, sub-minimum wage jobs, VRBS dedicates our program to providing meaningful alternatives grounded in real jobs with real pay so that choice is a reality and no one has to languish in marginalized employment. In addition, VRBS cultivates many partnerships including those with Community Rehabilitation Programs, Centers for Independent Living, tribal vocational rehabilitation programs, high schools, colleges, and workforce development programs. Our primary partner is the State Rehabilitation Council, which reviews, analyzes, and advises VRBS. And last but not least, VRBS serves employers and Montana’s business community. Workers with disabilities contribute a great deal to Montana’s workforce. We seek and apply employer input and the latest labor and management information to inform people with disabilities so that they can make choices based on job-driven information. VRBS enthusiastically encourages employers and the rest of society to regard employees with disabilities as work-ready assets in business.
Individuals with disabilities seeking employment and their employers comprise our two primary customers. However, all of society benefits when its citizens with disabilities are employed in their communities and earning livable wages.
Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services combines the general and the blind vocational rehabilitation programs in a single unit. Montana state law allows the combined approach, and it also requires separate services for blind and visually impaired clients. Follow the link to Blind and Low Vision Services on this page to find out more about that part of our program. Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services is part of the Disability Employment and Transitions Division of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. The Acting Administrator of Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services as well as Disability Employment and Transitions is Chanda Hermanson-Dudley. Chanda may be reached via the contact links below.
Our Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and Instructors must hold a master’s degree and the ability to sit for certification in order to be qualified for their jobs. These professionals are supported by other professionals including administrative support, specialists, program managers, supervisors, and trainees. All engage continuous improvement and personal development to hone their skills to a keen leading edge.
Our Central Office administrative staff is located in Helena.
111 North Last Chance Gulch, Suite 4C
PO Box 4210
Helena, MT 59604-4210
1 (877) 296-1197 (toll-free consumer line)
(406) 444-2590 (voice/TTY)
(406) 444-3632 (fax)
If you wish to contact us, please email us or contact your local office.