On October 2, the Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination (CPSD) commemorated National Disability Employment Awareness Month with a Congressional briefing on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Advisory Committee Report and legislative recommendations for improving employment outcomes for people with disabilities. The briefing reviewed key findings from the Advisory Committee’s final report and highlighted state, employee, and employer perspectives and best practices.
The WIOA Advisory Committee formed in 2014 as a result of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, bipartisan, bicameral legislation calling for a convening of stakeholders to develop strategies for reducing barriers people with disabilities face securing jobs and careers.
The briefing was sponsored by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and presented in cooperation with House Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus Chairs Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI).
David Michael Mank, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University, Indiana’s University Center for Excellence on Disabilities, and Full Professor in the School of Education. As a writer and researcher, Dr. Mank has an extensive background in the education and employment for persons with disabilities. He has authored or coauthored dozens of articles and book chapters, is a member of the editorial boards of scholarly journals, and has held leadership positions and received multiple recognitions in the field.
Patti Killingsworth is an Assistant Commissioner for the Bureau of TennCare, and since February 2007, the Chief of Long Term Services & Supports. She has worked in Medicaid programs in Missouri and Tennessee for nearly two decades, leading system redesign initiatives in both states. She has a long history of ensuring that that the perspectives of people who need long term services and supports, their family members, and other key stakeholders are considered in policy and program decision- making processes.
Charles Hill is the General Manager of Embassy Suites Washington, DC Convention Center. Mr. Hill’s commitment to hiring people with disabilities to fill critical roles at Embassy Suites Washington, DC continues to serve as a model for his colleagues in the industry. He spearheaded the creation of an internship program for young adults with disabilities and works with his Hilton partners to facilitate opportunities for interns to transition into paid staff positions.
Lauren Kuster is employed with the Consumer Products Safety Commission. She formerly worked for 14 years at a sheltered workshop earning below minimum wage before successfully transitioning to competitive integrated employment.