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AUCD - Plenary C: Growing Leaders and Driving Change in Transition

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Location: Grand Ballroom North/Central

Session Description

This plenary will explore one of the most important touchpoints of the life of a young person with a disability: transition from K-12 to college and a career. This multi-panel plenary will focus on federal, state, family, and youth perspectives that create and drive successful transition processes. Two awards will also be presented during this time: Jennifer Debes will accept AUCD's Gold Star Award for her commitment to strong public policy for people with disabilities and their families, and Catherine Lhamon will accept the 2015 AUCD Special Recognition Award, honoring outstanding contributions toward creating more inclusive communities for people with disabilities and their families.

Congressional Panel

Starting with the leadership efforts at the federal level to create opportunities for youth, a bi-partisan congressional panel will speak on the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the efforts to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and how these efforts support young people with disabilities as they transition from school to postsecondary education and work. Staff from the following Congressional offices have been invited:

  • The office of Senator Richard Burr, R-NC
  • The office of Representative Bobby Scott, D-VA
  • The office of Senator Kelly Ayotte, R-NH
  • The office of Senator Chris Murphy, D-CT
  • The office of Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-WA
  • The office of Representative John Kline, R-MN
  • Michael Gamel-McCormick (Moderator), Associate Executive Director for Research and Policy, Association of University Centers on Disabilities

Federal Panel

A second panel will examine the leadership efforts in federal agencies to drive opportunities for employment and further education for transitioning youth. We will hear from representatives from the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services on their efforts to increase opportunities as youth with disabilities make the transition from secondary education to postsecondary education and work.

  • Taryn Mackenzie Williams, Acting Chief of Staff, ODEP, US Department of Labor
  • Corinne Weidenthal, Program Specialist, OSEP, US Department of Education
  • Debra Waldron, Director, Division of Services for Children with Special Healthcare Needs, MCHB-HRSA, US Department of Health and Human Services
  • Jeff Hemmeter, Deputy Director in the Office of Retirement and Disability Policy, Social 
  • Security Administration 
  • Maria Town (Moderator), Associate Director, White House Office of Public Engagement, Disability Liaison

State Panel

A third panel will look at efforts to increase opportunities for employment and postsecondary education at the state level. Leaders of state vocational rehabilitation and developmental disability organizations and family and youth advocate leaders will provide their thoughts on current and future efforts in this area.

  • Rita Landgraf, Secretary, Delaware Department of Health and Social Services: New Castle, DE
  • Stephanie Orlando, Director of YOUTH POWER! at Families Together in NYS, Inc.: Albany, NY
  • Ray Hutchison, Manager, Office of the State Superintendent of Education, Washington, DC
  • Maedi Tanham Carney, CFP, CWIC. M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC, Washington, DC
  • Ellie Carney, Recent Graduate, Washington, DC
  • Tony Antosh (Moderator), Director, Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities, Rhode Island College, Providence, RI

The Fuel to Drive Change

To close out the plenary, we will hear from a champion for students with disabilities about how data can help us identify and analyze transition successes and needs.

  • Catherine Lhamon, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights