Vocational Rehabilitation

Vocational Rehabilitation

Apisa Pete Poumele

Deputy Administrator:
Donna Alalamua

Department History and Mandate:
The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) was established under a General Memorandum decreed by Governor Peter Tali Coleman in 1981. OVR remained under the direction of the governor's office until 1984 when Governor A.P. Lutali moved OVR under auspices of the Department of Human Resources, which changed the name from OVR to the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). In 1996 Governor Tauese Sunia established a new department called the Department of Human and Social Services which led to DVR being moved once again as a front line agency under this department. In 2008 Governor Togiola Tulafono moved the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation back under the auspices of the Governor's Office to align OVR with Section 101(1)(A)(iii) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, which mandates the Governor of American Samoa as the desgnated State Agency and authorizes OVR as the designated State Unit providing vocational rehabilitation services to disabled individuals who qualify for VR services.

Mission Statement:
Enable residents of American Samoa with disabilities to obtain and retain employment and achieve community integration.

What is the Office Vocational Rehabilitation:
Vocational Rehabilitation Office is a public service available to you when a physical or mental disability impedes with your ability to obtain or retain work. Vocational Rehabilitation can provide those services necessary for you to overcome your disability, and prepare you to find employment.

Who is Eligible for Services?
Three things are necessary in determining your eligibility for Vocational Rehabilitation Service.

First, a physical or mental disability which presents an impediment to employment must be documented. By this we mean your disability must interfere with your ability to function on a job.

Second, there must be a reasonable chance that with rehabilitation services, your disability will be reduced or eliminated sufficiently to make you employable. Your rehabilitation counselor, after obtaining a complete understanding of your situation, will determine whether or not you meet these two criteria and are eligible to VR services.

Third, meet residency laws for employment in American Samoa.

Current & Upcoming Programs and Projects:
This year the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is participating in the Pacific Region Leadership Academy facilitated by San Diego State University. Lead facilitator of the Academy is Professor Emeritus Fred McFarlane, Ph.D. and co-facilitator is Mr. Charles Compton, Ed.D.

OVR is slated to go through a Program review headed by the US Office Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Services Administration in May and June 2012.

Pacific Rim Conference to be held in Honolulu, Hawaii, in March 2012.

Supported Employment training to provided by the Region IX Office Technical Assistance Continuing Education Program, San Diego State University.

Office Number(s):
1 (684) 699-1371
1 (684) 699-1372
1 (684) 699-1373

1 (684) 699-4234
1 (684) 699-4235
1 (684) 699-4236

Tasi Street (Lions Park)
T28 and T29 Building