Breaking Down Invisible Walls

On-Demand Presentation
In this Section

The COVID-19 Pandemic required state VR agencies to quickly pivot to expand virtual service offerings to consumers in order to continue to serve them. Virtual services also provided an opportunity for increased access as both customers and staff were no longer bound by traditional regional delivery models. In Maine, this new virtual world meant that individuals living in very remote areas could participate in online job clubs, virtual Career Exploration Workshops, informational interviews with employers and Virtual Job Shadow. Activities that were facilitated by VR staff across the state working together in new and innovative ways that transcended geographical and transportation barriers. In this presentation, Maine (VR) will describe how this was accomplished and what was learned that supports continued implementation in a post-pandemic world.

Meet the Presenters: 

photo of KimKimberly Desso
Kim is a Regional Director for the Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and is responsible for VR services in southern Maine and Special Projects statewide. Kim completed a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education/Reading and a M.Ed in Educational Leadership at Castleton University in Vermont. She worked with children and families in the Eastern United States, England, Greece, West Africa and has held a variety of leadership and supervisory positions in the fields of childcare administration, the prevention of child abuse and neglect and employment services. Kim is passionate about facilitating growth opportunities and strengthening communities. She has appreciated the many lessons provided by COVID including the importance of clear communication, adaptability and resilience.

Samantha Fenderson
photo of SamanthaSamantha is the Assistant Director for Division of Vocational Rehabilitation with the Maine Department of Labor’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services. Samantha has been with Bureau of Rehabilitation Services for twenty years holding various positions. Samantha holds a bachelor’s from the University of Maine and a master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling from Assumption College as well as certification as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor.

photo of ValerieValerie Brown
Valerie is a Statewide Rehabilitation Counselor I for the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation with the Maine Department of Labor’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS). Valerie has been with Bureau of Rehabilitation Services for three years. Valerie supports and assists transition students with exploring and participating in pre-employment activities. Prior to working for BRS Valerie worked 17 years as a Mental Health Worker 2 at Riverview Psychiatric Center. While at Riverview her primary role was geared towards assisting people who have a disability to achieve personal and independent living goals resulting in successful community reintegration.

photo of SeanSean Keegan
Sean Keegan is the Regional Manager for Regions I and II for the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation with the Maine Department of Labor’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services. Sean has a Bachelor's in Psychology from the University of Maine at Farmington and a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counselling from the University of Southern Maine. He has been with the department for six years, starting as a Rehabilitation Counselor in Western Maine before working as a Casework supervisor for three years and finally in his current role as Regional Manager. Before his time with the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, Sean worked with children and families in reunification programs before beginning his journey in the employment and disabilities world as a Community Rehab Provider with Capitol Clubhouse in Augusta.