Tuesday, October 3, 2023 - 01:00 pm

The North Dakota Department of Human Services (HHS) Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), which provides employment services to people with disabilities and businesses, will host a training conference Oct. 18-20, at the Radisson Inn, 605 E. Broadway Ave., Bismarck. Registration deadline is Oct. 6 at 5 p.m. CT.

This event brings together state and tribal vocational rehabilitation professionals, business services specialists, community service providers, advocates and other professionals to gain skills and knowledge of the vocational rehabilitation profession and to network with community partners.  

Some learning opportunities include incorporating assistive technology in the workplace, using the right language to engage and develop relationships, adding creativity to problem solve, understanding poverty and its effect on youth, finding recreational and leisure activities for people with vision loss, and more.

Dan Meers, motivational speaker and long-time mascot for the Kansas City Chiefs, will deliver the opening closing keynote presentation on Wednesday, Oct. 18, from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m. CT. He will share through humor and storytelling the important lessons he learned about leadership and life while recovering from a near-death injury on the football field.

On Thursday, Oct. 19, Certified Personal Organizer, Porter Knight, will give a keynote presentation from 8 to 9:15 a.m. on improving and protecting a person’s mental focus in the workplace. In a separate presentation from 11 a.m. to noon, she will share best practices on organizing email, communicating a person’s capacity to others and tracking commitments to get work done on time. Her last presentation of the day will be on meditation to improve focus from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

The conference will also feature a panel discussion with several local employers who will share how to best support people with disabilities when they apply for employment. The North Dakota Department of Correction and Rehabilitation will share how its preparing incarcerated people to successfully integrate back to the community.

Another highlight includes an awards luncheon on Oct. 18, from noon to 1:55 p.m., where eight North Dakota businesses will be honored for their support of employment opportunities for people with disabilities.


Preregistration is required. The cost is $130 per person before Oct. 6. After Oct. 6, the registration fee is $140 per person. Registration and conference details are online at hhs.nd.gov/vr/conference.

Individuals who need accommodations to participate in the conference can contact Stacee Keller at (701) 328-8642, toll-free (800) 755-2745, 711 (TTY) or kellerstacee@nd.gov by Oct. 6.

For information about Vocational Rehabilitation services, visit hhs.nd.gov/vr or call (701) 328-8950, toll free (800) 755-2745, 711 (TTY) or email dhsvr@nd.gov.