Congratulations to Katie Mirkovich, one of our NTCTRL graduates!

Katie Mirkovich has been with DSHS’ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation for more than 18 years. Katie was nominated for the 2023 Governor’s Trophy, an award for outstanding leadership in advocacy for persons with disabilities. DSHS met with Katie to get to know her inspiring story.

How do you feel about your nomination?

I’m very humbled and honored to be nominated for the Governor’s Trophy by a fellow DVR colleague, Yvonne Bussler-White.

What led you to DVR?

I started as a DVR customer and through DVR’s assistance obtained my undergraduate degree in Social Work and a graduate degree in Rehabilitation Counseling.

What is one of your favorite memories with DVR?

One of my favorite memories was helping a customer who had a learning disability in reading to obtain assistive technology to address their challenges with reading written materials. They shared during our meeting that the assistive technology not only helped them with their employment but helped them to read the newspaper for the first time!

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

Most rewarding to me is that my career has been all about public service to others. Whether it is services that I provide for DVR customers, staff, partners, community rehabilitation programs, other state agency supported employment programs and state agency employers. My work is always focused on our mission and purpose.

What is the best advice you have ever received related to your career?

When I started at DVR, I knew that it was not about what people with disabilities couldn’t do for employment but what they could do, their abilities. As a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, I provided counseling and guidance to customers that was person-centered, strengths-based and met them where they were in their personal journey to employment.

My career has been a journey, not a marathon. As a person with cerebral palsy throughout my life I have been told that due to my significant disability, I would experience many challenges I may not overcome. However, my parents always said I could and would do many things in my life. That the only limits I have are the limits I set for myself. I stay tenacious, humbled and resilient to not only overcome my challenges, but to be an advocate for others with disabilities. I’m grateful for my family and the DVR staff over the years who have mentored me.

Would you like to talk about your family or outside interests? What brings you the greatest joy?

I would love to! I have a son who is 9 and a daughter who is 13 who have autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities. They have learned from an early age that our family prides itself on being resilient to adversities and that they can and will do many great things in life. My kids are my miracles and my greatest joy. I love spending time with my kids and my two dogs, a terrier Chihuahua and Goldendoodle, at the ocean.

When your time is up at DVR, what do you want to be remembered for?

My passion for DVR and the work that ALL our staff do to support people with disabilities to gain, maintain, and advance in employment. My belief that people with disabilities can work with employment services, supports and accommodations tailored to their unique needs. Also, my passion for marketing the SESG Program to state agencies so they can increase recruitment, hiring, retention and advancement of individuals with disabilities in state government for an inclusive, diverse and equitable workplace for all.

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