For #WorkforceDevelopmentMonth, we’re taking a moment to recognize our fantastic case managers who work with individuals to overcome barriers they face when entering the workforce. We’ve introduced you to our SWVA Works case management team, and we’re back today to highlight our R.O.P.E.S. (Recovery Opportunities and Pathways to Employment Success) team!
Lisa Baker – Lisa is the Lead Case Manager for the R.O.P.E.S Program, assisting participants who have struggled with the disease of addiction to rebuild their lives and obtain and maintain employment. She graduated from Castlewood High School with an Advanced Studies Diploma. She attended Radford University, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in English Education and a Certification to teach high school English there. Rather than teach, though, Lisa went directly to work for a non-profit housing agency and has worked in the human services field ever since. She spent some time working at social services in the New River Valley before returning to Russell County with her husband, two children, and dog. Lisa has about 15 years of experience conducting job readiness classes for social service clients, making her a perfect fit for her current position. She is certified by the Virginia Dept of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services as a Peer Recovery Specialist. Lisa loves what she does and practices compassion and empathy with all she works with, both job seekers and coworkers.
Rita Perkins – Rita is a lifelong resident of Russell County and has worked in the county for most of her career. She became the Program Officer for R.O.P.E.S. over two years ago, having worked in the WIOA and the Pathways to the American Dream programs since 2016. Before joining our team, Rita worked in the correctional field for over twenty years- first with youth, then with pre-release and court-appointed individuals. She says, “…[I]f only I had known about the opportunities offered by the WDB… what a difference I could have helped to bring about in the lives of those under my care. I feel I am giving back for what I have missed for many years.”
Rita is a mother of two grown children and a grandmother. She loves to garden and work on her flowers (her family says that she loves the dirt) and relishes the opportunity to have all her family together. She also is the “Office Mom” to her colleagues, always looking out for us.
“[W]ork[ing] in a field that I truly love and believe in has been such a life-changing experience for me. I hope everyone would have the opportunity provided to them as I have to be part of a team that all are working towards the same common goal, changing the lives of those that reach out to us.”