Category Archives: Susan F. Rzucidlo

Education, Vocation, Veterans, a plan to help all

By Susan F. Rzucidlo, 9/27/13

First, introductions, I am Susan Rzucidlo, I am a mom, advocate, small business owner and someone who believes wholeheartedly in what Margaret Meade said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” I have taken on cases for families and issues that are well beyond my professional training because I believe so strongly in working to make things better and I believe that even as tied up in bureaucracy and inertia that systems can be there ARE ways to make things better.

People often ask me how or why I get involved in certain activities. Now that I think on that, they actually ask me if I go out looking for trouble or does trouble just find me? I will stand by the statement that I hear, read or come upon an cause that touches my heart and needs to be fixed that I can’t help but work on it and try to make things better. I just started on a new project so I thought I would start a blog and bring readers along with me. My hope is that others may see that working to make the world a better place is not preposterous or the act of someone who is delusional. It is the act of someone who believes one person can make a difference and one person should try.

So, here we go. I was reading the Delaware News Journal a few weeks ago and in it there was an article about the backlog of cases at the Veterans Administration. These cases are for the men and women who bravely served our country and now are waiting 12–18 months and longer to be able to access the services we promised them. When I read that I thought, “that is unacceptable, something has to be done.”

I spoke to a few people I know and below is my first draft of my proposal to make things better. Tell me what you think!

Draft Proposal: Student Interns to Work in VBA for credit and work experience

By Susan F. Rzucidlo, Speak Unlimited Inc.

Problem: The VA at 5000 Wissahickon Ave, in Philadelphia, needs office support staff in order to allow their Decision Review Specialists to work through the backlog of pending cases. Funding to provide for office support staff is not sufficient (which is a Congressional issue).

Problem: Students who have disabilities need real-life opportunities to learn skills that are marketable. They also need opportunities to build a resume that will make them more employable


§ Students who have disabilities are entitled to education services until they turn 21 years of age.

§ Transition to adult age services is a targeted issue at the local, state and federal levels.

§ Having students work outside of their school to learn both hard and soft skills is a model that has been proven to be successful.

Possible solutions: I am proposing an OVR/Education/VA partnership that would place Special Education Students in unpaid but graduation credit earning internship positions in the VA for half days, (similar to a VoTech Education) with a teacher and OVR job coach to learn office skills. I am envisioning two sets of students to give the highest number of students the opportunity to learn these skills. Working in a real work environment would improve the students’ employability because they will have learned both the hard and soft skills necessary to get a job and also keep a job once they graduate.

This internship would improve the transition plans from the schools, increase graduation and after graduation employment rates, while reducing the amount of lower level services needed from OVR after gradation. These students would also increase the productivity rate at the Veterans Benefit Administration, which would reduce the backlog disability claims, improving service to our Veterans. Everyone wins.

Trust me, I understand that there are a lot of moving parts in this proposal but it is doable if we can get the right people at the table who want to work to improve our schools, communities, and service to Veterans.

Coming soon! updates and progress. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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