VSP: Knocking Down Barriers

Nicholas Henderson, 23, credits LifeBridge Health Partner VSP with giving him his first, and current, job in October 2018 as a full-time mail clerk.

Henderson had contacted Maryland’s Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) for employability assistance and was referred to VSP—a regionally recognized leader in vocational rehabilitation—for workforce development and job placement services.

VSP not only gave Henderson his first job, but also provided the job readiness skills that have made him more disciplined, dependable and patient. “VSP has had
a huge impact on my life,” he says.

For more than 53 years, VSP has been providing vocational services, workforce development programs and jobs to people in the Baltimore metropolitan area with disabilities, economic need and other barriers to employment. It employs more than 140 people—most with disabilities—through business services that include janitorial, digital publishing and printing, and mailing services.

VSP’s youth and adult vocational services focus on career assessment, training (computer and internship-based programs), and job placement and retention. In the last five years, VSP has served nearly 1,000 training program participants—with a 77 percent success rate—and helped 450 people through job placement/retention services, placing more than 300 individuals in jobs with LifeBridge Health and other local employers.

“As we reflect on the past year, a most challenging year for all of us, we are truly amazed by the tremendous level of impact VSP has demonstrated at LifeBridge Health and in the community. We’ve actually been busier than ever,” says Lisa Mules, director of VSP.

Vocational services have continued during the COVID-19 pandemic, with some services being offered virtually. At the start of the pandemic, VSP took on the responsibility
of assembling mass PPE for LifeBridge Health care teams, and it continues to make pandemic-related items like disinfectant wipes. In-person vocational services have started again, and VSP will increase program offerings this summer.

VSP programs have different eligibility requirements, but individuals are generally referred by DORS or through community programs.

To learn more about VSP services, visit lifebridgehealth.org/vsp or call Mira Appleby, strategy and performance manager, at 410-358-8200.

From the summer 2021 issue of A Healthy Dose community magazine 

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