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Carla Hill celebrates 15 years at TVS

Carla Hill celebrates 15 years at TVS

“When I first contacted Carla Hill 15 years ago, I wanted her recommendation on who to hire for a new position being created at TVS. I didn’t dream that I could hire her, so the next best thing was her top recommendation,” said former TVS CEO Nancy Stricker. “I thought I had won the lottery when she called me back expressing interest in the job.”

It was a transition period at TVS in 2006. The new job position as Program Manager was created to help transition from state funding to Medicaid funding to support services.

“There were new rules and regulations, and I knew Carla would (and did) lead us through that time in our growth,” said Nancy. She laughed saying, “No matter what changes came, I knew Carla could read it, understand it and explain it to me, thus keeping me from going to jail.”

After 15 years, Carla continues growing and expanding the programs at TVS as the Program Director. When first hired, Carla was in charge of the Life Skills program, the INTERACT program (previously known as ADVP) with individuals working under the 14C contract, and Employment Services. All of these were significantly smaller and have evolved into the programs we have today.

Since being hired, TVS programs have expanded to include two residential facilities in 2010 and branched out into local high schools with the Pre-Employment Transitions Services (Pre-ETS) program in 2019.

Employment Services has developed to support 50 individuals at any given time. One individual has been receiving support of 15 years and another has been successfully employed for 20 years after receiving services from Employment Specialists.

“Carla’s communication and willingness to adjust to VR requirements has helped build a fantastic working relationship,” said Lenora Mathis, Regional CRP Specialist at the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. “She is a great partner to work with and we are lucky to have such a strong leader who knows how to get things done.”

Lenora has been working with Carla over the last 15 years. She said, “As Carla learned about services, she was patient, diligent and always made sure everything she and her staff did for clients was very high quality. Her effectiveness in her job is obvious in the performance of TVS’ VR contract.”

As TVS programs have grown, so has Carla. “I am introverted but I feel like I’ve had to force myself outside of that to be more comfortable,” she said. “I am not good with on-the-spot responses but I have learned that taking my time is important because I need to consider everyone that would be impacted; including individuals served and staff.”

Reflecting on her favorite memories, Carla talks about breaking down the stigma associated with 14C and the growth of the Employment Services within the community. 

“What has been extremely meaningful to me, has been reinventing what we now call INTERACT,” said Carla. “It is all about thinking about the individuals you support, and making sure they are part of the plan.”

Prior to working at TVS, Carla worked in the field of mental health for her entire career. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a Master Degree in Social Work and moved around to California and Indiana before relocating back to North Carolina with her two children. 

Carla has a love of theatre, and when she is not working you might find her performing or watching a theatrical performance. She also enjoys walking, hiking and working out at the local CrossFit.

“Carla is a beast at CrossFit and is always motivated to push herself and others at the gym and in her personal life,” said Employment Specialist Megan Pilley. “Carla is always there to support me, whether it is at the gym or in my personal and work life.”

Looking ahead, Carla plans to continue attending webinars to stay up-to-date with rules and regulations and to continue serving more people. She says, “The rest of my career here, I will continue being a ‘servant leader’ and will continue to encourage and help DSP’s and Employment Specialists grow and develop new skills. I want to be a support resource for anyone that needs it.”

 

TVS Pre-ETS Helpful Resources

TVS Pre-ETS Helpful Resources

The TVS Preparation for Employment Success team works with the NC Department of Vocational Rehabilitation Pre-Employment Transitions Services (Pre-ETS) program to assist local high school students (ages 14 to 21) with employment after graduation. Information about the Pre-ETS program can be difficult-to-find online. Below are some helpful resources in one easy-to-find place, to better understand the objectives and the qualifications.

To learn more about the TVS Pre-ETS team check our NEWS section for the latest updates.

Current TVS Pre-ETS news: Pre-ETS begins at TVS (2019) TVS Pre-ETS go virtual (2020)

VR Information Handout

Handout from NC Department of Vocational Rehabilitation

TVS Pre-ETS Brochure

Brochure with information about the TVS Pre-ETS program

NC Disability Rights

Complete information about the Pre-ETS program in NC.

Pre-ETS program continue assisting local high schools with a virtual curriculum

Pre-ETS program continue assisting local high schools with a virtual curriculum

In response to the dramatic changes in high school operations due to COVID-19, the TVS Pre-ETS team has been working virtually to continue assisting local high school students with job preparation skills.

The TVS Preparation for Employment Success team works with the North Carolina Department of Vocational Rehabilitation Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) program to assist students with an IEP or 504 plan in Transylvania and Henderson County High Schools. Since the beginning of the school year, Pre-ETS has worked with each high school to best allow for the easiest and safest collaboration.

TVS Pre-ETS Team Lead Jessica Casey and TVS Pre-ETS Program Specialist Montana White, have been working with almost 160 students in six separate high schools within the two counties via computer screens.

“With the semester being virtual, we have actually been able to meet with classes more often and offer extra help when students need more discussion,” said Casey. All the high schools are organized differently to best accommodate social distancing and health safety. Currently, Pre-ETS teachers are teaching a total of 24 classes and are in the process of adding one more to their schedules.

To best accommodate the virtual world, Pre-ETS teachers have changed their education tactics. In the past Pre-ETS has used games and interactive activities, which are no longer options. Instead worksheets, videos, reflections and discussions have become the daily activities.

“We have been very successful transforming our curriculum for a virtual platform,” said White. “The students are actively participating and fully engaged in our activities.”

The virtual curriculum changes have the Pre-ETS team planning some fun new experiences. Casey and White are in the beginning stages of planning virtual tours of local businesses. The tours will be recorded and posted on the students Google Classroom for students to get an idea of what working in that specific location would be like.

Looking ahead, Casey says, “we are happy and excited to deliver whatever the schools need from us as decisions are made about the Spring semester.”

Dogwood Health Trust grant allows for TVS Pre-ETS teachers transportation

Dogwood Health Trust grant allows for TVS Pre-ETS teachers transportation

Transylvania Vocational Services (TVS) is thrilled to announce that their organization has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Dogwood Health Trust. The Immediate Opportunities and Needs (ION) grant has been used to purchase a new vehicle to transport TVS Preparation for Employment Success program teachers to multiple high schools.

“We are grateful for the generosity of Dogwood Trust in supporting our efforts to assist students in Transylvania and Henderson counties,” said TVS Program Director Carla Hill. “This grant will help in better preparing students to transition from high school to secondary education or into a career.”

This program offers services designed to aid students with disabilities, ages 14 – 22 with an IEP or a 504 plan, transition from school to career pathways. Classroom and work-based instruction and training is provided in Transylvania and Henderson County High Schools.

The TVS program, Preparation for Employment Success, is in partnership with the North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) program Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS), and with local participating high schools. Since TVS initiated its program one year ago, it has grown to serve 140 students in seven high schools.

The goal of the program is to provide students who experience barriers to employment with skills and knowledge to attain living wage employment and to help them transition successfully from high school to post-secondary options or into the workforce.

The two TVS Pre-ETS instructors, Jessica Casey and Montana McPherson, teach job exploration counseling, self-advocacy, work-based learning experiences, counseling on post-secondary training options, and workplace readiness training.

The purchase of a new vehicle will allow TVS teachers to travel safely and reliably between the high schools.

The ION grant program from Dogwood Health Trust, has awarded more than $3.7 million to a diverse range of 259 nonprofit and government agencies over the past year. The program reaches every county and the Qualla Boundary in western North Carolina.

Dogwood Health Trust is a North Carolina Nonprofit corporation with the sole purpose of dramatically improving the health and well-being of all people and communities of western North Carolina. Dogwood Health Trust became operational upon the sale of Mission Health’s assets to HCA Healthcare and is the recipient of the net proceeds of the sale.

To learn more about the Dogwood Health Trust please visit https://dogwoodhealthtrust.org/

New TVS program for students with disabilities in full swing

New TVS program for students with disabilities in full swing

Brevard, NC (November 22, 2019) – Transylvania Vocational Services (TVS) has partnered with exceptional children’s programs in Transylvania and Henderson county high schools, along with the North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) to supplement job readiness training and employment-related skills in their curriculums.

The TVS program, Preparation for Employment Success, is designed to provide Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) to students with disabilities between the ages of 14 and 21. Services are designed to assist students in identifying and exploring potential career interests, as well as develop an understanding of work readiness skills necessary to be successful in the working world, or continue into higher education.

Click here to read the full PDF or to view the Transylvania Times article.