Nancy McNamara is the Lead Counselor in the Hampton Roads area and has been working at The Choice Group for over four years now. While she says that she has had many memorable experiences during her time here, one in particular stands out in the last year.
“It was it was a great pleasure to be able to assist a client with multiple felonies who was just released from prison to get back into the workforce doing cabinetmaking which he learned while in prison by working with DARS to promote On the Job Training (OJT) for the client with an employer. I was able to get the employer to give the client a chance, and he is now successfully in Long-Term Employment Support Services (LTESS). He recently attended a job fair via DARS for people coming out of the prison system and shared his success story and how OJT and working with DARS and The Choice Group helped him re-enter society and the workforce successfully.”
She loves seeing her clients grow and succeed and seeing the positive difference employment makes in their lives. Working within the community and building relationships with clients and employers is just one of many things she loves about her job!
The Consumer Protection Bureau has developed an amazing resource called Your Money, Your Goals.
The aim of this program is to help individuals gain financial independence through strategy, planning and goal setting. Feeling out of control of your own situation is something that many individuals who receive Social Security experience. At The Choice Group, we offer benefits counseling so you know exactly how your benefits will be affected by employment. We set goals to maintain them while supplementing your income through employment or figure out how to reach complete financial independence - it depends on you! These tools work in quite the same way, letting you choose your path to independence and the freedom of choice!
Our staff is always learning and training for better ways to serve our clients! This was just last week when a group of us came together from all of our locations across Virginia for a two-day training on Ticket To Work services.
From left to right:
Katelynn Denny – TTW Admin Assistant
Jonathan May – TTW/WISA Manager
Laura May – Voc Counselor/WISA
Erin Lloyd – Regional Manager/WISA
Milton Johnson – WISA
Buddy Blatz – Lead Counselor/WISA
Greg Bell – TTW Senior Consultant
David Leon – DARS Ticket to Work Coordinator
Shane Rocheleau – WISA
Scott Fraley – Quality Assurance/Vocational Evaluator/WISA
Rachel Hoffman – Lead Counselor/TTW Lead
Chandra Goodman – WISA
Erica Johnson – Regional Manager/ WISA
Angela Volkening – Vocational Counselor/TTW Lead
Michelle Champion – WISA Admin Assistant
Sherman Gifford – TTW/WISA Director
We are always trying to stay on the leading edge of incentive programs, offerings and educational training like the WISE (Work Incentives Seminar Events) webinars to better serve our community with disabilities. Listen to The Choice Group's Vice President, Sherman Gifford, along with other presenters on how to take advantage of these opportunities!
WISE webinars are online events held for people who are age 18 through 64 and receive Social Security Disability benefits. You'll learn about the Ticket to Work Program and available Work Incentives through accessible learning opportunities. WISE webinars are generally held on the fourth Wednesday of each month
Rachel is currently The Choice Group’s liaison for Project SEARCH in the Hampton Roads area and is excellent at what she does! Even as a long-standing counselor, her passion for it is still very apparent, which is why we chose her as a Featured Counselor! Congrats, Rachel, your hard work is worth celebrating!
How long have you been with The Choice Group?
About 4 years.
In which areas of Virginia do you work?
Hampton Roads and Southside.
Do you do any special cases works?
Project SEARCH Norfolk, Lead Transition Counselor, and I also work with clients who are deaf and hard of hearing.
What was your most memorable experience with TCG?
I was working with a client who had a hard time navigating his work setting on his own. He would rely on my verbal prompts to move from aisle to aisle. Using an app on his iPod, I was able to map out his entire route of the store to complete his tasks. I recorded my voice along with pictures and written labels to help him navigate the store. After teaching him to use the app, the first time he used the app without my support, he had his headphones in, and he was listening to my voice prompts on the iPod to determine where to go next. I was standing several aisles away to let him work independently, and I could hear him respond to my prompts by saying "I found it, Rachel!" and "Here it is!". That was really the first time I was able to see how I was helping my clients become more independent.
What do you love about your job at TCG?
I genuinely enjoy seeing my clients become more independent. Working with the transition age students really gives me the opportunity to see my clients grow from high school students into productive members of society. I love seeing their growth and I love that I am able to be a part of their journey into the working world!