Dorothy Young

Dorothy Young

Jackson Workforce Leadership Academy, Class of 2020-21, Economic Opportunities Program

Director, MDRS, Jackson, Mississippi

Ms. Dorothy L. Young is a graduate of Alcorn State University (B.S.); The University of South Alabama (M.S.in Counselor Education and Minor in Rehabilitation Counseling); and Belhaven University (Master in Management). Her case study at Belhaven presented a historical overview of the kinds of relationships that should exist between vocational rehabilitation counselors and individuals with disabilities. In 2000, Ms. Young began work as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, with the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind. In this position, she was responsible for working with blind and or visually impaired clients to regain, advance, or maintain employment. It was during this time, that she experienced the many challenges one would face because of their physical or mental limitations. One of the biggest hurdles with successful job placement was the attitudes of other people that created barriers. Ms. Young began to coordinate and connect different businesses around the state in order to change the tendency not to hire a person with a disability. These connections enhance the abilities and skills of people with disabilities by bringing awareness and access to job site accommodations at no cost, blindness awareness training, and introduction with businesses, disability advocacy groups, and the community. Since then, Ms. Young has continued to work her way throughout the agency with various management promotions using her skills and knowledge in connecting, coordinating, and starting initiatives around the state/nationally for people with disabilities. Several highlights of her career that involved working predominately in the community with people with disabilities: She wrote Mississippi first Technology Act State Plan. The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services applied and received the first Model Demonstration Grant from RSA for recycling assistive technology during her tenure as the Director of Project START. The Mississippi Re-Use Program saves the state well over $200,000.00 each year. Ms. Young started the agency’s first computer recycling program that targets the fourteen poverty counties in Mississippi. Ms. Young started the agency first assistive technology partnership with the MS Department of Education providing hands on training, loaning and demonstrating assistive technology to our great teachers and families. In the 2013, Ms. Young was promoted to the Director position for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind Services, Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services. During this tenure, she started the agency first Summer Internship Program for students with disabilities and the first partnership with the Governor’s Job Fair Network. Both initiatives are ongoing and has helped place people with disabilities with businesses, state and federal agencies hiring year around people with disabilities. Dorothy L. Young serves on the National Executive Leadership team as the Technology Chair for the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind. She is elected by her peers around the country for this position.

Dorothy Young is a member of the Jackson Workforce Leadership Academy Class of 2020-21, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

The Workforce Leadership Academies are part of the Economic Opportunity Fellows Network, a network of leadership and fellowship programs run by the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program. Within this Network, EOP connects national and local leaders from across sectors — nonprofit, government, business, philanthropy, academia, and more — to advance policies and practices with the potential to help low- and moderate-income Americans thrive in today’s economy. Learn more at as.pn/eofn.

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