DWS Press Release
October 3, 2016

Governor Herbert welcomes Utah State Office of Rehabilitation
to the Department of Workforce Services

2016 House Bill 325 mandated the transition of the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation to the Department of Workforce Services

SALT LAKE CITY — On Oct. 1, 2016, the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation (USOR)—the state agency that serves individuals with disabilities—officially transitioned to the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

"This transition will allow USOR to receive improved support for their staff and clients. Employees will be enabled to better address the individual needs of community members, and the quality of services offered will be enhanced," Gov. Herbert said. "I am confident that this new structure will lend to increased innovations and successful outcomes for all involved."

2016 House Bill 325 mandated the transition of USOR from the Utah State Board of Education. The Department of Workforce Services was selected as USOR's new department leader due to its history of past successful transitions and because more than 70 percent of USOR's clients are also served by the department.

To ensure a smooth transition, the two organizations have been working together since March 2016, addressing items such as employee needs, programs, budget and finance, facilities, technical support and communication. Relationship-building exercises and cross-training opportunities were also offered to staff in order to facilitate learning about each organization's expertise and offerings.

"Both agencies are committed to serving individuals of all circumstances and providing them with resources to improve their quality of life," said Jon Pierpont, executive director of the Department of Workforce Services. "The Utah State Office of Rehabilitation is a valuable asset for us as we'll be able to improve our knowledge of serving individuals with disabilities across the department and provide additional resources to each other's clients."

USOR currently serves more than 50,000 individuals with disabilities annually through four of its primary programs: Division of Rehabilitation Services, Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Division of Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Disability Determination Services.

"Our mission is to help Utahns with disabilities find meaningful employment and achieve independence," said Darin Brush, director of the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation. "We look forward to closely working with the Department of Workforce Services to provide us with additional opportunities for improving lives and bringing hope to individuals with disabilities."

Gov. Gary R. Herbert officially welcomed the USOR staff to the executive branch on Oct. 3 at the Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Salt Lake City. The governor also declared October as Disability Employment Awareness Month to raise awareness about disability employment issues and to celebrate the contributions of individuals with disabilities.

For more information about the transition, visit jobs.utah.gov/usortransition.

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