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Vocational Rehabilitation Services - Helping You Find and Keep a Job

Primary Tasks

    Secondary Tasks

      The Department's employment services are delivered through its Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program. Our VR program helps blind or low vision Iowans prepare for, obtain and retain employment in a variety of occupations. Applicants are eligible for services based upon their visual disability, their need for employment services and their intent to work. You will work with a VR Counselor to jointly identify an employment goal and the services you need to achieve it.

      Education and Training Video 

      Vocational Rehabilitation Video

      Our Services

      • Career Counseling
        Not sure what kind of job you want? Our experienced staff can provide you with advice and information that will help you choose a job goal that is consistent with your strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, interests and informed choice. 
      • Blindness and Attitude Counseling
        Given the proper training and opportunity, a blind person can compete for jobs in the open marketplace alongside his or her sighted peers. We counsel families, employers and blind and visually-impaired Iowans to believe that, too.
      • Adaptive Devices and Access Technology for Training and Employment 
        Our staff will assess your technology needs and evaluate your current technology skill level. Based on our assessments, we will work to obtain the devices, technology and training you may require to be successful at work or school.
      • Job-seeking Assistance
        We can work with you to construct a job-search plan, develop job-seeking skills, write a resume, practice interviewing and locate job-search and placement resources.
      • Supported Employment Assistance
        Some individuals, such as those with little work experience or multiple disabilities in addition to blindness, require additional, intensive employment services to be successful at a job. For these individuals, we can offer job coaching, customized employment and extended services.
      • Work Site Assessment and Follow-up
        Our staff will visit you at your job or possible job site and determine whether alternative techniques and/or accomodations are needed for you to complete the essential functions of the job. If you need training in alternative techniques or technology, we will do that, too. We will work with an employer to provide you with access technology equipment you may require on the job.
      • Self-employment Planning and Follow Along
        Many dream of running their own business. Through our involvement with the Iowa Self-Employment program, we can offer expert advice in planning, improving or starting your own business. Read more about the Self-Employment program.
      • Post-Employment Follow-up
        After you have achieved your employment goal, your VR counselor can continue to serve as a resource to both you and your employer. If questions arise in the future about how to handle changes in technology or duties, we are there to help. 

      Learn how working will impact your Social Security benefits.

      VR Counselors

      VR Counselors work with Iowans who are blind or low vision by contacting them in their home communities, informing them of job opportunities and of work being done by their peers, counseling with them concerning vocational goals, and helping to secure training for them when needed. When circumstances require, the Department can pay for training and other necessary goods and services. After receiving services from the Department, some individuals may return to the jobs they formerly held. They may also seek training for new vocations or go into business for themselves.

      Our counselors work with the public at large, particularly employers. It is not enough that blind or low vision people be well-trained and be able to do jobs in business or industry as well as, or even better than, their sighted peers. More often than not, they are simply refused the chance to try merely because employers do not believe blind people can do the job. It is the job of the counselors to explain to employers the potential of well-trained workers who are blind and to assist blind people in seeking employment.


      If you or someone you know could benefit from our employment services, submit a referral to the Department.