Success Stories

Individual Placement and Support Lead to Employment

Matthew Adamson was introduced to IPS (Individual Placement & Support) through his Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor.

March 01, 2023
Matthew Adamson was introduced to IPS (Individual Placement & Support) through his Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor.Matthew Adamson Matthew wanted to work but knew he would need assistance to find and keep a job. Matthew also had an interest in going to school as he wanted to become a counselor. At one point, Matthew was going to give up on working and just focus on school.  The employment specialist connected Matthew with a mental health agency who was hiring for a peer support specialist. Matthew went in for an informational interview and was eventually hired for the position. Matthew reports “I struggled with mental health and substance but with the support and encouragement of the IPS Program, I am now able to provide support to other people who struggle like I have in the past. I was going to give up on everything, but being apart of IPS changed my life and I am grateful for the opportunity” 
Knife-Making Sparks Career in Welding

Tevin Haugen had just moved to Iowa when he began working with IVRS Counselor James Faulkner.

February 22, 2023
Tevin Haugen had just moved to Iowa when he began working with IVRS Counselor James Faulkner.Tevin Haugen working on a car Tevin indicated that high school had not been a good experience for him but learning knife-making sparked an interest in welding. Counselor Faulkner said, “I wanted to keep that flame going. My biggest worry was that the flame would go out.” Muscatine Community College had a welding program but Tevin was concerned that “reading issues” might interfere with college. Counselor Faulkner partnered with Dave Carson, Adult Education and Jill Holler, Disability Services Coordinator with Muscatine Community College in getting accommodations, planning next steps, and receiving help with adult literacy. Dave Carson worked one on one with Tevin tutoring him in adult literacy. Faulkner, having similar interests as Tevin, located books and materials that made reading interesting and entertaining for him instead of a chore. Counselor Faulkner said. “With those partnership opportunities at Muscatine Community College, it did work well.” Tevin completed his coursework to become a welder with a high GPA even while attending during the Covid Pandemic. “This helped me to get a fresh start after high school, realize my potential, and achieve my goals!" Tevin said.Tevin Haugen in his knight costume His welding instructor Chris Kramer provided job leads and helped Tevin prep for welding tests as part of company interviews. Counselor Faulkner also worked with Tevin to find employment opportunities in his area. He currently has a welding position at the Raymond Corporation in Muscatine. “They have taken good care of him,” Faulkner said. Tevin’s interest in welding has also led to involvement in many new community activities. Tevin HaugenFaulkner said, “This is a young man I run into a lot. He’s very well-rounded. He’s been working on cars and I see him at car shows.” Tevin also enjoys being involved with Renaissance Fairs and he and his father built a forge to make armor and swords used at those events. “His passions and skills allow him to make connections in the community,” Faulkner said. When Tevin first came to Iowa he was timid and afraid to pursue a higher education because of his struggles in high school. But Faulkner was able to see what sparked his interest and begin a journey toward a successful educational experience and career. “At Voc Rehab we find what the potential can be and Tevin lived up to the possibilities,” Faulkner said. “We kept the flame going.”
Artist Begins a New Chapter and a New Business

David Kafar started working with Counselor Brandi Fitch in January 2021.

February 15, 2023
David Kafar started working with Counselor Brandi Fitch in January 2021. He initially stated an interest in working as a delivery driver or doing janitorial or maintenance work.David with his artwork of an owl He was talking with Sally Leibold with Older Workers Employment Program (OWEP) and at one point shared his artwork. Sally was impressed and his counselor Brandi, seeing real talent, began exploring self-employment. David had been drawing all of his life and had received encouragement from his mother and teachers when he was in school. His first prize for a drawing was a wagon when he won a contest sponsored by a local weather station. In high school he was encouraged to go to art school. “Then I went to work,” he said. David did a lot of interesting things – lifting weights, competitive body building, martial arts and modeling “I always came back to drawing,” he said. “It was a hobby.” abstract artHis mother was a lifelong fan of his work. He remembers the bird he drew when he first moved to Iowa and she gave him a pencil and paper. She loved the drawing. She admired an owl drawing and David drew one for her before she passed away three years ago. “She said, now you’ve got to do something with this David. She was my biggest supporter. When mom said that. I said I’m going to do that.” After working with IVRS Counselor Brandi [Fitch] and Kochell Weber- Ricklefs Business Development Specialist with the Iowa Self-Employment Program he said everything fell into place. David’s website and online art gallery launched in December 2022. “I am amazed they believed in me,” he said. David has drawings and paintings. The drawings are highly detailed and he said he enjoys switching over to painting for a change of pace – or even working on the website. All-in-all, David loves his second career. “I’m elated. Every day I get to get up and do what I love,” he said. “It makes me happy that other people appreciate what I’m doing.”lion head The Iowa Self-Employment (ISE) program was able to help David with counseling and guidance, computer and equipment and benefits counseling to begin his new endeavor. You can see and purchase David’s artwork at his website, Also feel free to follow him on Facebook.

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Iowa Vocational
Rehabilitation Services

510 East 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319

Phone: 1-800-532-1486

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