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James Howard, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

July 24, 2018

(Shared with permission from the state of Maine)
From the Maine Organization for Blind Athletic and Leadership Education (MOBALE) Newsletter

Monday, July 23, 2018
Posted by Steve Kelley

https://mobalesports.blogspot.com/2018/07/james-howard-vocational-rehabilitation.html

Accessible text below:

James Howard
Picture of James Howard

James first realized his calling to support people with disabilities while working as a nursing aide in a summer employment opportunity, while studying Business Law BA Hons at the University of Stirling in Scotland. 

“Working in a nursing home I was honestly shocked at the lack of empathy and compassion from some staff. The quality of care was not what I was expecting.  At that moment, I realized that individuals disadvantaged and marginalized needed strong advocacy and support.” 

Originally from the UK, James migrated to Maine in 2001.  After moving to Maine James worked for a profit and non-profit organization.  The dream job as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) came along in 2006 with the State of Maine – and has worked as a VRC ever since. 

 “I love my job because I meet such fantastic people that have gone, or going through significant adversity with loss of vision.  I‘m afforded the opportunity to support individuals gain greater levels of independence, particularly achieving successful employment outcomes.” 

James started working with individuals who are blind and visually impaired (BVI) in June 2015.  James takes a holistic approach to rehabilitation counseling.  “I look at the whole picture of the individual. I look at the social situation, financial, housing issues, transportation barriers, and level of blind rehab skill needs”. 

“Some individuals with vison loss may not have had positive employment opportunities.  I help coordinate blind rehab skill service delivery to support the individual with employment and independent living needs” 

 “The benefits of employment whether its 2 hours a week, or 40 hours a week is significant for an individual and improves their self-worth, self-esteem, and empowers greater levels of independence.”

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