The University of Scranton: Annual Conference on DISABILITY

disability-conf

Registration and Contact Information

For more information about this year's speaker series, please contact Dr. Rebecca Dalgin (rebecca.dalgin@scranton.edu) or Dr. Lori Bruch (lori.bruch@scranton.edu).

Conference Mission

The University of Scranton believes that disability is part of the human experience and that assisting individuals and families living with disabilities to achieve optimal quality of life requires multidisciplinary interventions, education, research and leadership. The mission of the Conference on DISABILITY is to positively influence the quality of life and wellness of individuals and families living with disabilities by promoting in its deliberations the foundational principles of individualization, self-determination, productivity, employment, independence and full participation in community life by creating an effective learning environment, collaborative and focused discussion and the identification and sharing of effective practices useful in the United States and around the world.

Session Information

Join a panel of business partners to learn about their companies and trends that are shaping the future workplace in the U.S. Participants will learn more about the NET as well as two key business partners representing the private and public sector – UnitedHealth Group, Dell and the U.S. Department of Transportation. How are these companies responding to the changing workplace and working together with the VR-NET to ensure that their talent pipeline includes candidates with disabilities as well as supporting employees with disabilities throughout their employment life cycle.

Andrea Eselunas, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
UnitedHealth Group

Andrea Eselunas is a Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leader for UnitedHealth Group and based in Hartford, CT. Her accomplished career includes over 20yrs in Talent Acquisition by diversifying the workforce with advance sourcing strategies.
Andrea has been with UnitedHealth Group for over 15yrs and took on a newly developed role in 2019 as the Director of Enterprise Disability Inclusion Programs as part of the Global DEI Office . Today her leadership has expanded beyond just disability inclusion while she remains to be a consultant for all enterprise disability inclusion efforts. Her enterprise efforts have fostered connections between individuals, teams and partners who are passionate about supporting and driving the UHG disability inclusion strategy.
One of her biggest accomplishments in collaboration with many partners was launching UnitedHealth Group’s Disability Inclusion Internship Program in the Fall 2020. It continues today to welcome cohorts of talent annually in the Fall.


Duronne Walker, Ph.D
Departmental Selective Placement Program Manager
U.S. Department of Transportation

Ethan Idzior, Software Developer
Dell Technologies

Moderator:

Kathy West-Evans, MPA, CRC
Director of Business Relations
National Employment Team (NET)
Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation

Since May 2020, the need for embedding diversity into an organizations structure has been an ebb and flow for most of this nation. Although the need has become more significant; the cultivating passion has been here for over 7 decades. Some understand the impact that DEIA has on its employees, business, and overall culture, while others are content with surface level efforts. Diversity is not about volume; it’s about having a human centered approach in creating a safe space for individuals to show up authentically and perform to their full potential.  

Participants in this course can expect to meet the following objectives:  

  • Develop an understanding on how to “cultivate“ a work culture that embraces equity, inclusion, and accessibility to promote the success of your business, consumers (internal/external) and the surrounding communities.  
  • Develop an intersectional lens in working with people with diverse backgrounds and lived experiences 
  • Establish skills on how to become an Inclusive Leader (or Champion) 
  • Identify key factors in implementing B.R.A.V.E Conversations

The aim of the Technical Assistance Center for Quality Employment (VRTAC-QE) is to help State and Local VR agency personnel and their partners increase the number and quality of employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. This session provides an overview of the rich array of resources and training available through VRTAC-QE and various types of technical assistance underway through the center. The presenters will highlight specific examples of innovative and effective practices, opportunities to learn more, and tools that can be implemented in practice.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the meaning of ‘quality’ as it relates to employment and disability.
  2. Introduce the concept of QE into local and state VR service delivery.
  3. Know where to find effective resources to support QE practice in local and state VR service delivery.
  4. Identify effective employment strategies leading to improved employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

Speakers

kwevans

Kathy West-Evans is the Director of Business Relations for CSAVR (Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation) where she leads The NET (National Employment Team). Kathy is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) who is fluent in American Sign Language. Kathy started in the field of rehabilitation in 1978.

She has worked at the community, state, federal and national level over her career.

Kathy is a sought-after consultant and presenter on topic areas related to serving individuals with disabilities and business through a dual-customer approach. The focus includes developing strategies with business to employ and retain the talents of individuals with disabilities across the footprint of the company.

Hattie McCarter is the CEO/Founder of M.E.N.D Consulting Solutions, LLC. McCarter’s Equitable and Distinctive (M.E.N.D) Consulting Solutions, LLC is a consulting agency that provides intentional, impactful, and imperative services that will equip your organization in making a cultural-shift to having a human-centered approach that embraces equity, inclusive, accessibility, and belonging. MEND specializes in DEI Program Development; Employee Resource Groups; diversity recruitment; and how to have BRAVE Conversations.

Hattie is a Certified DEI Professional, with 13+ years of experience in diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging as well as 7+ years in recruitment and retention. She obtained her master's degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Alabama State University.

Hattie previously worked 10 years for the PA Department of Labor & Industry’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) as the Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist (Human Resource, Diversity and Communication) where she redeveloped and led the agency’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Program; and led their recruitment program for hiring diverse and qualified master’s level students for our employment and internship opportunities. In January 2022, Hattie became the Equity Management Program Coordinator for the Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities for the Department of General Services for the Commonwealth of PA. Hattie was charged with promoting and fostering a workforce that engages and empowers staff in having a diverse and inclusive atmosphere; as well as developing an equitable lens on how to understand this evolving cultural shift.

 

Stephanie Perry is a Licensed Social Worker with a diverse educational and professional background. Her academic achievements include a Bachelor of Behavioral Counseling from Drexel University and a Master of Social Service Management from Bryn Mawr College. As an avid learner, she is currently in the last year of completing a Doctorate in Social Work. Her research will explore incivility in the workplace and its impact on human service professionals.

Professionally, she has over 20 years of experience, culminating in private and public sector employment. Stephanie prides herself on being a leader that utilizes innovative and transformative strategies to enhance direct services to diverse populations across the state of Pennsylvania. Her motto in life is “Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results.” Author: Anonymous

 

Catherine Anderson, Ph.D., LPC, CRC serves in a dual appointment as a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) and as Director of Research for the University of Wisconsin-Stout Vocational Rehabilitation Institute. In these roles, she actively contributes to the Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Quality Employment (VRTAC-QE), the Wisconsin Career Advancement grant, and specific research studies focused on youth in transition. Dr. Anderson received her Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has provided leadership on numerous research, demonstration, and systems-change grants for over 25 years. She regularly publishes in peer-reviewed professional journals, including open-source venues to promote knowledge transition in the field. Her research interests include understanding and improving employment, career, and financial post-secondary outcomes for youth with disabilities, transition-age youth and families, interagency collaboration between education and vocational rehabilitation, cultural responsiveness with low-income and marginalized disability populations, and use of evidence-based practices within vocational rehabilitation.

 

Dr. Emily A. Brinck is a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) department serving on the Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Quality Employment (VRTAC-QE) and the Wisconsin Career Advancement grants. Dr. Brinck received her Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Counselor Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, her Master's in Management from Indiana University, and a Bachelor of Education: Intervention Specialist from Miami University. Dr. Brinck has had the opportunity to work as a researcher on the Wisconsin Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) grant as well as the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employer Practices (RRTC) grant. She has published articles in the Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, and Rehabilitation Psychology and has presented her research at both state and national conferences.  Her research interests include interagency collaboration between schools, vocational rehabilitation, and employers; transition-age youth with disabilities towards successful postsecondary outcomes; and overcoming barriers to employment for people with disabilities.