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New Name, Same Mission: NCDHHS Announces Transition to Division of Employment and Independence for People with Disabilities

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services is announcing the division’s new name: the Division of Employment and Independence for People with Disabilities. This name change reflects the division’s century-long history of critical work with North Carolinians with disabilities. NC Health and Human Services Secretary Kody H. Kinsley, EIPD Director Kathie Smith and EIPD clients will celebrate the change at a kickoff event, which will include addresses from clients, partners and division leadership on Tuesday, April 23, at 10:30 a.m. at the Haywood Building on Dorothea Dix Campus in Raleigh.  

This announcement follows years of collaboration with clients, staff and partners across the state to develop the new name and ensure it accurately captures and clearly explains the division’s mission and spirit.  

"The transition to the Division of Employment and Independence for People with Disabilities opens an exciting new chapter in the way we understand and describe the life-changing services this department provides to more than 30,000 clients annually," said Susan Osborne, NCDHHS Deputy Secretary for Opportunity and Well-Being. "The American Dream is about achieving independence and an equal opportunity for success, and the goal of EIPD has always been for that to apply to all regardless of ability."

The Division of Employment and Independence for People with Disabilities helps people with disabilities achieve their goals for competitive employment and more independent living. EIPD also engages with thousands of businesses annually, supporting recruitment and onboarding, training, consultation and other services that help employers develop a diverse, disability-inclusive workforce.  

"We all want to lead fulfilling and independent lives, and individuals with disabilities are no different," Smith said. "Our name change celebrates the potential and accomplishments of individuals with disabilities and their journeys to independence. We know that one in five adults has a disability and there are a lot of individuals out there we haven’t reached yet. We hope our new name will help providers, community-based organizations and the general public better understand the division’s work and services."

In the weeks following the official launch, EIPD’s career training centers in Morganton and Goldsboro will host events to introduce the new name to their communities and local media. Additional open houses will be held throughout the summer at the more than 70 local EIPD offices across North Carolina.  

For more information, email  

WHAT: NCDHHS to announce the transition of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services to the Division of Employment and Independence for People with Disabilities.

WHO: Kody H. Kinsley, Secretary, NCDHHS            

Chris Egan, Assistant Secretary for Employment and Inclusion, NCDHHS               

Kathie Smith, Director, Division of Employment and Independence for People with Disabilities, NCDHHS              

Caroline Sullivan, NC Business Committee on Education             

James Gooding, former client and current EIPD employee             

Client and partner guest speakers

WHEN: Tuesday, April 23, 2024  10:30 a.m.

WHERE: EIPD State Office Haywood Building                    

805 Ruggles Drive Raleigh, NC 27603

MEDIA: Media interested in attending should arrive by 10:15 a.m. Please RSVP to if you plan to attend.

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