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

Meet Marcy

Workforce Challenge

Marcy grew up on a North Dakota farm, and she knows the many challenges her family faces working the land. She knew well the other challenges that life often hands us. With a learning disability that involved language skills, she also worked hard to learn. Even so, at age 16, Marcy was hired by the Anne Carlsen Center for Children, working full-time through high school and junior college.

“I was on a transitional IEP (Individualized Education Plan). A representative from Vocational Rehab pulled me out of class at the vocational center where I was taking a class. She introduced herself and gave me some information about VR. I really had no idea what she did or what we were doing. I just knew that she presented opportunities for me.”

Workforce Solution

After talking with Marcy, the counselor offered to help her get a degree in elementary education at Jamestown College. It was just what Marcy wanted, and she jumped at the chance to further her education. VR assisted with tuition, books and supplies for all four and a half years.

After graduation, she was hired as a special education instructor by the Anne Carlsen Center. Now, Marcy has choices. She can continue in elementary special education, or she can transition into heading the assistive technology program at Anne Carlsen.

Outcomes & Benefits

She is currently helping with visual supports and assistive technology for children, particularly those with autism. There are plans to take her expertise on the road to public schools and towns across North Dakota, focusing on in-home support for kids, as well as education and support for schools. It is an effort to encourage mainstreaming of special education students into the classroom.

Marcy has been motivated to earn a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education on her own.

“I can do whatever I set my mind and heart to do.”

She is moved with compassion for the children she teaches who struggle to walk, struggle to eat, and struggle to learn. She remembers her own learning challenges.

“This is what I want out of life. It gives me purpose to help these children, to teach them, and give them a full, independent life.”

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