Advocate for underserved jobseekers, Theresa Flannery tapped as OK Rehabilitation Commissioner
Published: August 12th, 2020
OKLAHOMA CITY – Mustang resident, Theresa Flannery (https://archokc.org/news/new-social-services-director-joins-catholic-charities) has been appointed by Governor Kevin Stitt to serve as the newest member of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services Commission (http://www.okdrs.gov/comm/home).
The commission serves as the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitative Services governing board.
In 2019, DRS served 82,787 Oklahomans with disabilities with career preparation, employment, residential and outreach education, independent living programs and the determination of medical eligibility for disability benefits.
The agency also assists employers in finding qualified workers with disabilities.
Serving as senior director for social services at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Commissioner Flannery worked closely with DRS for 20 years when she was community resources and compliance director at the Dale Rogers Training Center (https://www.drtc.org/).
The oldest and largest community vocational training and employment center for people with disabilities in Oklahoma. Dale Rogers Training Center serves and employs approximately 1,000 people each year.
“I think there’s a good linkage between the people we serve at Catholic Charities and what DRS does to help people with disabilities become employed,” Flannery said. “I bring the employment background and belief that anyone who wants to work should be given the opportunity to work, regardless of their background.”
Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City (https://catholiccharitiesok.org/) serves those in need, regardless of faith, through transformative and empowering social service programs across Central and Western Oklahoma.
“There’s so much value and dignity in work that comes with a career path that allows people with disabilities and those who are economically disadvantaged to be independent,” Flannery added. “Serving as a DRS Commissioner will give me an opportunity to share information about the agency’s great programs with those Catholic Charities clients who could use DRS services.
“A lot of info and services fit in a box because we’re reaching out to help the majority, but I believe there a lot more people in the margins than there are in the box these days,” Flannery said.
“We’re going to also have to learn how to stand in those margins and interact with people outside the box in a way that makes sense to them,” she continued. “We have a responsibility to provide supports and opportunities that affirm each person’s dignity, but also guides them towards greater stability and independence.”