Southern Ute Vocational Rehab is here to help

Photo Credit: SUIT

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe Vocational Rehabilitation (SUITVR) program is designed and funded to serve American Indians who live with disabilities. They are located in the basement of the Mouache-Capote building and are available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Voc. Rehab works with enrolled members of any federally recognized tribe who reside on or near the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. According to the the program’s mission, “the supportive services are provided based on a person’s strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice, so that such individuals may prepare for and engage in high-quality employment that will increase opportunities for self-sufficiency.”

SUITVR is currently a staff of three; one program manager, one program coordinator, and one employment counselor. They are funded by the Federal Department of Education through a grant that follows policies and procedures from both the grantor and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.

To be eligible for services at SUITVR, you must first complete an application for the program, provide proof of your enrollment in a federally recognized tribe, show proof of your diagnosed physical, mental, cognitive, or developmental disability, and create a job goal with SUITVR.

“If you don’t have copies of your records, the program can help you get this information, and the disability must be creating challenges for obtaining and/or maintaining employment,” the SUITVR website states. Examples of disabilities may include: hearing loss, vision problems, diabetes complications, depression, arthritis or alcohol/substance abuse.

“The main goal is to have a person meet their job goal, but they must actively take part in their journey,” SUITVR Program Manager, Bobbie Rosa said.

Rosa began her career with Voc. Rehab five and a half years ago as a program coordinator and recently stepped into the position as program manager in May of 2018. She graduated from Fort Lewis College with a Bachelors of Arts in sociology and humanities.

“Each person’s needs and goals are individualized if the service or support can be linked back to a job goal or disability, we can usually help,” Rosa explained. Typical services that can be provided by Voc. Rehab include: purchasing bus passes, work clothes, and sometimes helping with obtaining licenses or certificates. You may also receive the following services if you are eligible for the SUITVR program: vocational counseling, job development, technical aids and other federally approved services need to find or keep a job.

“We can also help a person receive traditional healing services [ceremony] if they feel it will help in their job goal; that’s what sets us apart from the regular state voc rehab,” Rosa said.

“I want people to feel they can turn to me for help because my staff is accessible and approachable, come see us — don’t be afraid of the basement,” Rosa expressed.

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