Our Director's Story

Joe Xavier, Director, California Department of Rehabilitation

"My eight brothers and sisters and I moved to this country from the Azores when I was seven years old. I am the only person in my family with a disability - I am blind. I had poor vision as a toddler and by my late twenties I lost all usable vision.

I grew up on a dairy farm with my family. I went to elementary, high school and college in integrated settings. In 1982, my sophomore year of high school, I began receiving services from the California Department of Rehabilitation. As a consumer of the Department I worked as a self-employed vendor for the Department's Business Enterprises Program (BEP). I worked as a food service vendor for fourteen years.

I spent the last sixteen years as a civil servant. Interestingly, I believe I served as one of the first blind Auditors in the State of California. I worked my way up the career ladder and today am pleased to be the Director of the California Department of Rehabilitation."


The Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) administers the largest vocational rehabilitation program in the country, delivering services from over 85 locations throughout California to increase the quality and quantity of employment outcomes for people with a full range of physical and mental disabilities. DOR also funds 28 Independent Living Centers throughout the state, providing a variety of services to maximize an individual's ability to live independently in the environment of their own choosing.

If you are a person with a disability, the Department of Rehabilitation can assist you to fulfill your employment goals and achieve independence.

For information on our services, please contact us

Photo of Joe Xavier, Director

Photo of Joe Xavier, Director

The California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) uses accessible social technology to convey information, facilitate two-way communication, position the Department as an expert in the disability employment and independent living field, promote services, and otherwise enrich operations in pursuit of the organization’s business, mission, and goals.

DOR strives to foster a thriving online community and fully supports the use of social media. DOR currently utilizes the following social media platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn

In addition, DOR manages this blog -- NoticeAbilities.com. The blog is designed to increase the visibility of the Department, highlight the work of our staff, and showcase our consumers along with their contributions to the community. Blog features include: brief audio interviews with present and former consumers accompanied by photo and written transcript and links to social media sites.