I have been involved in the US supported employment movement since its inception in 1984. I began my career as a job developer. Consequently, employment of individuals with disabilities has always been my passion. My employment experiences at the University of San Francisco Rehabilitation Administration Department, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Research and Training Center on Supported Employment and the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston gave me access to individuals and organizations across the country. I was able to speak with job seekers, their family members, employment specialists, teachers, policy makers and researchers who defined the practices that professionals should follow to ensure that individuals with disabilities are accorded full and inclusive lives in their communities. Most importantly is that individuals have access to competitive employment opportunities, with or without supports. I am a founding Board Member of APSE and am proud to have been awarded their lifetime achievement award in 2017.
- Recent Activities
Over the past two years, I have concentrated on delivering training to families with children having significant disabilities. My message to them is that their son and daughter can work. I advise them about their child’s rights to education and inform them about the adult service system, so they are prepared to advocate. I am also authoring courses for the Institute for Community Inclusion’s College of Employment Services.
- Hobbies: I love to travel, and in the past year, I’ve been to Canada, Ireland, Portugal, France and Spain. I live in a beautiful seaside town, Newport, Rhode Island where I am a docent in a house museum and I am a professional tour guide for visitors to the city.
- My dreams for the future are the same as they have been for many years. I want people with disabilities to be able to be employed at the same rate as anyone else. I also want them to be employed in a variety of jobs, not just the ones that we typically offer them in food service or janitorial work. I want staff providing supported employment services to be financially rewarded for their skills and abilities. And I want our communities and government to recognize the attributes that people with disabilities have and the value they can bring to the workforce.
- I am interested in interviewing these individuals: John McComb: Include Youth; Zerina Hajwanai, Supported Employment Practices in South Africa; Marc Badia, Coordinator XIB IMADD-Collaboration in Barcelona; and Guus Van Beek, Quality Assurance in Supported Employment. Subjects important to me: youth transition, interagency collaboration, and partnerships with the business community