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Vocational Rehabilitation

We help people identify their strengths, prepare for jobs, and achieve and maintain employment.

To Qualify:

  • Have a disability that is holding you back from getting and keeping a job.
  • Be enrolled in a federally recognized tribe.
  • Live in our 5 county service area.  Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, Island, or San Juan County.
  • Have the desire to work.

Contact us today if you or someone you know might be interested in making an appointment to meet with a counselor.

Goal statement

Operate a culturally appropriate Vocational Rehabilitation program that will provide services to American Indians/Alaskan Natives with disabilities who reside in the Samish Indian Nation’s service delivery area, consistent with their individual strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, and informed choices, so that they may prepare for and engage in gainful employment, including self-employment, telecommuting, and business ownership.

Services we can provide to help gain employment (partial list)

  • Career counseling
  • Job training
  • Provide specialized equipment
  • Medical appointments
  • Interpreters for the deaf
  • Referral to mental health services
  • Referral to drug & alcohol services
  • Job placement services
  • Job retention services
  • Cultural awareness & healing

Samish Vocational Rehabilitation provides and supports traditional healers, spiritual counseling and other culturally related activities that support Native Americans in their employment goals.

  • Disaster Cash Assistance

    Donna AdamsonNov 23, 2021, 11:36 AM

    The Department of Social and Health Services has activated the Disaster Cash Assistance Program, or DCAP, to serve people affected by severe weather events. Households impacted by floods, landslides, mudslides and other hazardous events in the 14 counties included in Governor Inslee’s November 15, 2021, state of emergency declaration may be eligible for DCAP.

    To be considered eligible for DCAP, a household must meet all of the following:

    • Have suffered losses
    • Be a resident of Washington state and live in one of the counties included in the emergency declaration
    • Meet household net income limits (ranging from $375 for one person up to $1,160 for eight people or more) after adjusting for income deductions, which may include any unreimbursed expenses due to damages caused by severe weather; and
    • No one in the assistance unit is eligible for any other cash program that could meet their needs.

    Some households may ordinarily be over the income limit for a program like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, but could still fall under the net income limit for DCAP if they have financial losses that will not be covered within 30 days of application. Losses resulting from severe weather damage, including house, property and/or personal items, may be allowed and will reduce the amount of countable income, potentially bringing a household under the net income limit.

    The Governor’s order grants a waiver allowing households that are impacted by the severe weather damage to receive assistance monthly. Households must reapply for DCAP each calendar month. Additionally, households may be eligible even if they received DCAP for the COVID-19 pandemic or wildfires within the past 12 months, as long as they meet all the eligibility criteria outlined above.

    Other Assistance:
    Households that suffer a loss of food purchased with Basic Food benefits as a result of this disaster, may apply to have benefits replaced. The loss must be reported within 10 days by calling 877-501-2233.

    Households can visit washingtonconnection.org to see if they qualify for DCAP, other cash programs, food, child care, long-term care and Medicare Savings Programs or to find other services.

  • Protective Factors for COVID

    Donna AdamsonNov 23, 2021, 06:33 AM

    Throughout the pandemic one playful way I’ve been gauging the stress level of my local community is through observation of driving manners, particularly on the freeway. Several times a week I travel from Mt. Vernon to Bellingham, and over the last year and a half I have seen an ebb and flow of passive-aggressive and surprisingly polite driving behavior. I share this with you because I have often pondered the effect the pandemic is having on our collective mental health.

    Like so many, I have had moments of gratitude for the positive changes COVID has brought us – greater accessibility, flexibility, and a focus on family. On the flip side, like many, I’ve felt intense anxiety, panic, disconnectedness, and heart wrenching sorrow.  Always the optimist, I have thought and read a lot about protective factors – those aspects of our lives that can be a buffer against the negative impacts of COVID. Though we may be far apart in the physical realm, there is much we can do to stay connected through the emotional, social, and spiritual sides of ourselves.

    For those of us who are fortunate enough to be working during the pandemic, research has shown that supportive workplace environments play a key role in protecting individuals from the negative impacts of COVID. It is our collective responsibility (and gift!) to recognize this and practice patience, kindness, and empathy for our coworkers. Take time to ask how your coworker is doing, and when you get a standard reply, ask them how they’re really doing and then listen. Be like a mirror, reflecting back what s/he is telling you, being careful not to judge or offer advice. Let them feel heard.

    Other protective factors include things like maintaining social connections, educational engagement, physical exercise, mindfulness and prayer practices, and daily routines. There is a lot we aren’t able to control in our lives right now but recognizing what we can do – and then doing it – can make a big difference. There are many online offerings from Samish Nation and Samish Vocational Rehabilitation staff have a wealth of other resources you can tap into.

    If you are struggling or feel stuck in your current job, aren’t working but want to be, or you want to advance in your job but aren’t sure how, please reach out to us! We are here to serve you and all tribal citizens enrolled in tribes across the country who live in our service area.  Hóy7sxwq'e

    Donna J. Adamson, Samish Vocational Rehabilitation Director

    dadamson@samishtribe.nsn.us, (360) 298-0486 

  • JOB: Bellingham DVR Rehabilitation Technician

    Donna AdamsonNov 23, 2021, 06:30 AM

    The Bellingham DVR office is currently recruiting for a Rehabilitation Technician position.  They are hoping to attract a talented and diverse group of applicants.  The position provides paraprofessional and technical support to Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and other professional staff in our office in Bellingham, WA.  In this role, you'll provide support to VR professionals to assist customers with disabilities to achieve competitive employment. 

    Some of what you will do:

    • Conduct interviews with potential customers to explain vocational rehabilitation programs
    • Provide caseload management assistance to Rehabilitation Counselors; draft and pay Authorization for Purchase of Client Service
    • Assist in collecting medical record information to be used in determining eligibility; enter customer information in our database
    • Assist in monitoring customer progress towards achieving employment goals
    • Schedule appointments for customers to meet with Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and assist in maintaining contact with customers
    • Register vendors that provide goods and services to DVR customers
    • Prepare correspondence to customers, vendors, and others
    • Maintain electronic and paper case files
    • Support reception at the front desk and act as an initial point contact for potential customers 

    To learn more about this job and how to apply, check out the online job posting

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