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North dakota

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

Meet Charles

Workforce Challenge

Charles struggled with vision problems from an early age. At 13, he had cataracts removed. Soon, other surgeries followed, including lens implants, a cornea transplant, and operations to reattach his lenses.

Later, while working as a truck driver, he participated in routine drug testing which included a breathalyzer test. The forceful blowing of the test may have contributed to retina detachments in both his eyes. "It’s hard to talk about it sometimes. For about two weeks, I was completely blind," he explains.

While researching items to assist with his vision at the North Dakota School for the Blind, Charles was approached by a staff member who suggested he contact Vocational Rehabilitation, "because they help people get back to work.”

Workforce Solution

Shortly thereafter, Charles met with a VR counselor to determine the type of assistance he could receive. VR was able to provide magnifying glasses, a CCT monitor to enlarge images to ease reading, and glasses to protect his eyes from further damage.

Regrettably, Charles’ vision issues were not his sole challenge. He also had ongoing back problems from a serious lifting injury.

To help with his back pain, VR purchased an orthopedic chair so that Charles could sit comfortably and work in a new position as a dispatcher. He was also given a pair of shoes with springs to absorb shock when walking.

Outcomes & Benefits

Charles is happy to be working each day. Although he can’t do all that he used to do, he says he is grateful to be employed. “When I was injured it was tough to sit home every day, waiting to get better. I was bound to work. Vocational Rehabilitation is there for people who need it, and it helped me a lot.” The assistance from VR allowed Charles to continue working when he otherwise may not have be able to do so.

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