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North dakota

Workforce Success Story Submitted By:
North Dakota Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Meet Dave

Workforce Challenge

Dave epitomizes the independence and “can do” attitude of people in North Dakota’s small towns. Raised in rural southwest North Dakota, Dave has done whatever it takes to stay in the area. He went to Wahpeton State College of Science, learning to be a “parts man”. He went on to work for an automotive dealership for ten or twelve years before being laid off.

“When I came to VR (the North Dakota Division of Vocational Rehabilitation), I was literally broke, financially and physically. I was able to walk into the VR office and feel like a special person.”

Workforce Solution

Through assessments, VR identified Dave’s need for glasses and hearing aids. VR also helped Dave explore career options in real estate (an area of interest for Dave) and running a sewage pumping business (an industry with opportunity in the area).

His VR counselor helped Dave talk through concerns about these options. He wasn't sure that real estate would be right for him, but he also wasn't sure he was physically able to run a sewage pump, as it was a physical job and he was recovering from a back injury. His counselor matched him with someone who had a sewer pumping truck. “So I ran his truck for him for about six months. Then, I knew I physically could do it.”

Outcomes & Benefits

Dave is now the owner/operator of a sewage pumping operation, and he also does automotive windshield replacement and chip repair. "Independence, self-sufficiency and success are beautiful things, even when you are pumping sewage," says Dave, with a smile.

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