Tyler Heffner: Achieving Long-Term Goals with Help from DRS

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Tyler Heffner: Achieving Long-Term Goals with Help from DRS

Tyler Heffner worked very hard to get where he is and continues to be diligent in his quest to meet his long-term goals.

Tyler attended Lewis County High School, where he graduated in 2015. He was diagnosed with autism in middle school, where he worked hard at staying organized and on task. While he was known for being quiet and shy, Tyler was very smart and was in the gifted program in high school.

Tyler’s high school teachers referred him to the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) to help him prepare for employment.

According to DRS Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Jamie Paulhamus, Tyler had a strong interest in science and wanted to pursue higher education to ultimately work in aerospace engineering. She noted that DRS helped to arrange some college tours. They also coordinated a trip to the Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) Facility, home of NASA’s IV&V Program, in Fairmont. This facility contributes to the safety and success of NASA’s highest-profile missions by ensuring the software performs correctly.

Tyler attended West Virginia Wesleyan College. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in environmental physics in 2021. Tyler’s favorite part about college was the hands-on learning experiences in his science lab classes.

DRS assisted Tyler with tuition, books, and supplies. To help him study, DRS also helped provide computer equipment and an ergonomic setup for his dorm room.

While DRS helped him develop his résumé and his job search, a job lead from a friend aided Tyler with landing a job at FCX Systems, a manufacturing company in Morgantown.

FCX Systems’ Director of Production, Robert Clark, explained that the company manufactures solid-state frequency converters primarily used in the aircraft industry.

Tyler works as an assembly technician at FCX, and he builds the equipment the company sells. Tyler’s job involves assembly work, wiring work and unit preparation for shipping.

Tyler made an impression at his initial interview.

“I was very interested in Tyler when I first interviewed him. He just seemed to have an underlying interest in learning what we did,” Clark said. “A lot of people come here for employment. I think Tyler came here to learn more than just the job.”

Clark believes Tyler’s most significant asset to their workplace is his drive to produce something tangible. He has learned the necessary skills to do the job and has become proficient at what he does. Not only is he competent in his work, but he really enjoys the hands-on nature of the job.

Tyler is extremely grateful to DRS for the assistance with college. He was overwhelmed by the process, and it was a huge help to have guidance on completing applications and other requirements from year to year.

Tyler feels that working at FCX brings him closer to his dream of working around aircraft and spacecraft. His plans involve furthering his education to see if he can ultimately obtain a position that involves manufacturing engines for spacecraft or aircraft.

Are you ready to reach your employment goals? We can help! Connect with DRS today.

Tyler Heffner was selected as an Ability Works Award Winner in 2023. The annual Ability Works Awards honor one outstanding consumer from each of the agency’s six districts, coinciding each October with National Disability Employment Awareness Month.