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Who We Are | Our Mission, Vision and Values | Our Strategic Plan | Staff | Board of Directors | Partnerships

Photo of Michael Morris, NDI Executive Director Michael Morris, J.D.
Executive Director

Photo of Johnette Hartnett Johnette Hartnett, Ed.D.
Senior Director, Strategy & Research

Photo of Elizabeth Jennings Elizabeth Jennings
Deputy Director
Assistant Project Director, LEAD Center

Photo of Laura Gleneck Laura Gleneck
Program Manager, DEI

Photo of Rebecca Salon Rebecca Salon
Project Director, LEAD Center

Photo of Kathleen Brannigan Kathleen Brannigan
Director of Marketing and Communications

Photo of Nakia Matthews Nakia Matthews
Technology & Media Manager

Photo of Michael Roush Michael Roush
Manager, Financial Empowerment & Innovation

Director, Real Economic Impact Network

Photo of Katie Metz Katie Metz
Manager, Financial Empowerment & Inclusion

Photo of Jamie Robinson Jamie Robinson
Manager, Financial Empowerment & Workforce

Photo of Miranda Kennedy Miranda Kennedy
Training and Technical Assistance Manager, DEI

Photo of Mary Lynn Revoir Mary Lynn ReVoir
Training and Technical Assistance Manager, DEI

Photo of Danielle Ralston Danielle Ralston
Training and Technical Assistance Manager, DEI

Photo of Brian Ingram Brian Ingram
Technical Assistance Liaison, DEI

Photo of Jayson Gleneck Jayson Gleneck
IT Specialist, DEI

Gail Watson
Operations Manager

Photo of Kevin Nickerson Kevin Nickerson
Subject Matter Expert - Ticket to Work/Employment Networks, DEI

Photo of Brittany Taylor Brittany Taylor
Project Coordinator, LEAD Center

Photo of Alexandra Kielty Alexandra Kielty
Disability Workforce Development Specialist, DEI

Photo of Dominic Manecke Dominic Manecke
Communcations Specialist

James Thayer James Thayer
Administrative Assistant

Lisa Stern Lisa Stern
Employment Policy Advisor, LEAD Center

Laurie Schaller Laurie Schaller
Manager, Financial Empowerment


Staff Bios
Michael Morris, J.D.

Michael Morris is the Director of the National Disability Institute (NDI) in Washington, DC. Morris has over 30 years of experience in and outside of government pioneering new strategies to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Morris serves as an advisor and technical expert to multiple federal agencies on policy and systems relationships at federal, state, and local levels to advance economic stability, mobility, and asset development for persons with disabilities.

Morris received his undergraduate degree with honors in political science from Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio and his law degree from Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1981, he was named the first Joseph P. Kennedy Fellow in Public Policy and came to Washington, DC to work in the Office of Connecticut Senator Lowell Weicker, as legal counsel to the United States Senate Subcommittee on the Handicapped. Morris also served subsequently as counsel to the U.S. Senate Small Business Committee.

From Capitol Hill, Morris went to work at United Cerebral Palsy Associations first as Director of Government Relations, then as Director of Community Services, and finally as National Executive Director. During his 14-year tenure, his leadership put a focus on needed assistive technology and its essential role in accommodating people with disabilities in the areas of employment, education, communications and daily living.

In 2001, Morris helped establish the National Disability Institute to advance the social and economic independence of persons with disabilities through strategic investment and technical assistance activities nationwide that bring together government, corporations, foundations, and community and faith-based organizations.

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Johnette Hartnett, Ed.D.

Dr. Johnette Hartnett is the Senior Director of Strategy and Research for the National Disability Institute (NDI). Dr. Hartnett co-founded NDI's Real Economic Impact Tour that has provided free tax preparation and other asset building strategies to over 2.3 million taxpayers with disabilities with refunds of nearly $2.3 billion. Dr. Hartnett obtained her Ed.D. in Public Policy and Educational Leadership from the University of Vermont. She graduated Summa Cum Laude, from Trinity College, in Vermont, majoring in psychology and gerontology. Prior to her role at the National Disability Institute, Dr. Hartnett was Vice President of the NCB Development Corporation, in Washington, DC and Assistant Research Professor, in the Department of Education and the Center on Disability and Community Inclusion, at the University of Vermont. She was a Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Congressional Fellow in the 107th Congress where she worked for Senator Rockefeller on behalf of individuals with disabilities in the reauthorization of welfare. Dr. Hartnett is dedicated to working on policy and research issues that forward the quality of life and the economic well-being of Americans with disabilities.

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Elizabeth Jennings

Elizabeth Jennings is the Deputy Director of National Disability Institute in Washington, DC. Ms. Jennings is a national trainer on social security benefits, asset development strategies for persons with disabilities (including favorable tax provisions and the Earned Income Tax Credit, Financial Education, and protected savings opportunities), and the building of expanded relationships between the disability and asset building communities. Her varied experience includes spearheading Asset Development initiatives in Florida and New York to increase access to VITA, EITC and asset building opportunities for individuals with disabilities, creating collaborative agreements, building partnerships, executing grant allocations, providing technical assistance on Federal disability policy and assisting individuals in job development and understanding the effect of work on Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare benefits.

Ms. Jennings is currently the Assistant Director and Training and Technical Assistance Director for National Disability Institute's LEAD (Leadership for Employment and Advancement of People with Disabilities) Center, funded by the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. The LEAD Center is a national training center with a mission to advance sustainable individual and systems level change that results in improved, competitive integrated employment and economic self-sufficiency outcomes for individuals across the spectrum of disability. She also provides training on the impact of work on Social Security benefits and provides technical assistance to partners across the country on economic empowerment for individuals with disabilities receiving federal disability benefits.

Ms. Jennings has a Bachelor's of Art in Sociology and minors in Black Studies and Women's Studies from Florida State University.

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Laura Gleneck

Laura Gleneck is Founder and Vice President of NDI Consulting, Inc. a women-owned for-profit small business, and serves as the Program Manager for the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) National Training and Technical Assistance Team, contracted by the U.S. Department of Labor. Laura has served in this capacity for both the Work Incentive Grants (WIG) and the Disability Program Navigator (DPN) Initiative since 2001. In her capacity as Program Manager, she serves as the lead coordinator of the key technical assistance staff, manages material development, coordinates all training and technical assistance activities, produces the American Job Center Toolkit Resources of the Week, and works closely with the national DEI Program Office. Since the WIG grants, she has served as the key staff person with expertise on transportation and other community resources for work support. Prior to joining the national Technical Assistance team, Ms. Gleneck served as the project coordinator for federal projects with a focus on inclusion of youth with disabilities in transition and participation in community and employment for the National Parent Network on Disabilities for five years. Ms. Gleneck has a Master's degree in Child Study from the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development from Tufts University in Medford, MA and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. In 2000, Ms. Gleneck completed a Continuing Education Professional Writing Course at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA.

[Laura is a member of the DEI Training and Technical Assistance team, which is a project of National Disability Institute.]

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Rebecca Salon

Rebecca Salon is the Project Director for the LEAD Center. Dr. Salon is a recognized national leader in policy and program development with an emphasis on cutting edge demonstrations that promote employment and economic self- sufficiency for individuals with significant disabilities. She has more than twenty years of experience with management of federally funded projects and has over thirty-five years of experience working with people across the spectrum of disabilities. Her doctorate degree is in special education with studies and research geared toward disability policy studies. Salon also is working at the District of Columbia Department on Disability Services (DDS), where she is the lead for DC's Employment First program initiatives.

Over the past 6 years, Salon has worked in DC government focusing on program, policy and partnership development to promote Employment First systems change, in addition to other initiatives through DDS's developmental disabilities and vocational rehabilitation administrations. This work has included creating and supporting Communities of Practice to promote and implement Customized Employment; coordinating Project SEARCH partnerships and programs within the Federal government; overseeing and coordinating the activities of DDS's Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG); fostering a collaboration between the workforce and vocational rehabilitation system on universal design practices in their respective roles; and working on multiple partnerships designed to promote employment for youth and young adults with disabilities. Almost all of her energies have been focused on creating opportunities for employment, community inclusion, and economic self-sufficiency for youth and adults in the District of Columbia. She is actively engaged with the State Employment Leadership Network's work in DC and was instrumental in creating an Administrative Employment Network (EN) at DDS to expand the job retention support that can be available to people with disabilities through the Ticket to Work program.

Salon previously was Executive Director of the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute, where she worked for 20 years in positions that spanned all of its programs and projects. Since 1988, Salon has been an advisor to Project ACTION!, a DC-based state-wide self-advocacy coalition run by adults with developmental disabilities, and has worked with a number of family advocacy coalitions in DC and Maryland. Her Master's and Doctorate are from Syracuse University. She also previously worked at their Center on Human Policy and in a number of other non-profit management positions.

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Kathleen Brannigan

Kathleen Brannigan is the Director of Marketing and Communications for National Disability Institute (NDI). She brings more than 20 years experience as a journalist and public relations professional, in both the private and public sectors, to the position. Before joining NDI, she served as the Director of Communications for, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy. In this role, she was responsible for the creation and implementation of all outreach and communications strategies, including social media, to engage and inform the primary users of the website: people with disabilities, their families and caregivers.

Prior to that, Ms. Brannigan held the position of Senior Director, Global Communications for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), a nonprofit serving the international business travel industry. There, she spearheaded the implementation and integration of ACTE's global communications and advocacy strategy.

A graduate of State University of New York, College at Cortland, Ms. Brannigan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and English Literature.

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Nakia Matthews

Nakia Matthews is the Technology & Media Manager for National Disability Institute. As part of NDI's Communications Team, she combines her knowledge of and interest in technology and design to aid NDI in its mission to build a better economic future for Americans with disabilities. Nakia oversees all technology, website and design needs of the organization and has been with NDI since 2005, giving her an intimate knowledge of NDI's workflow and needs. She is responsible for all web content, email campaigns, electronic document 508-compliance, graphic design and information technology management. Nakia lives in Washington, DC and has a B.A. in Hearing and Speech Sciences from the University of Maryland.

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Michael Roush

Michael R. Roush, MA is Manager of Financial Empowerment & Innovation at National Disability Institute. Mr. Roush provides training and technical assistance across the country on VITA, financial education and other asset development strategies to empower individuals, organizations and other stakeholders on the importance of economic self-sufficiency for persons with disabilities. At National Disability Institute, Roush has developed and assisted with the implementation of new innovative projects including Building Economic Strength Together (B.E.S.T.) Florida, the My American Dream Video Contest, Virtual VITA Pilot, and NDI's E-Learning project. Roush has planned and facilitated over 20 Asset Development Summits for Persons with Disabilities across the country to assist in creating new opportunities for the disability and asset building communities to work together. Roush is currently spearheading the efforts to bring the Building Economic Success Together (B.E.S.T). Alliance, a student to student mentoring program to college campuses across the country.

Prior to joining the NDI team, Roush was a consultant with the University of South Florida's Center for Inclusive Communities and a Disability Program Navigator for WorkNet Pinellas with the Florida DPN Project. As a Disability Program Navigator, Roush worked with One Stop Center staff and community partners to incorporate the Money Smart curriculum and asset building resources and tools into their programs. Prior to his work in Florida, Roush served as the Director of the Learning Center for the George G. Glenner Family Centers in San Diego, California. Mr. Roush has a Master of Arts degree in Human Behavior.

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Katie Metz

Katie Metz joined the National Disability Institute in January 2011 and is Manager of Financial Empowerment & Inclusion under the Training & Technical Assistance Team. In preparation for the 2012 Tax Season, Ms. Metz became certified as a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Preparer per standards set by the Internal Revenue Service. This knowledge combined with her ongoing work and experience with the disability community allows her to be a vital asset to VITA Tax Coalitions across the country and work on pioneering projects such as MyFreeTaxes (MFT) Facilitated Self Assistance Tax preparation. She works closely with the Project Manager to provide technical assistance and support to 10 workforce regions across the country selected as MFT pilot sites. These 10 regions are implementing and promoting systems change in their state/local workforce systems by integrating strategies for asset development into their work. MFT is part of a national initiative funded by Walmart in collaboration with United Way Worldwide, Goodwill Industries International and National Disability Institute to expand awareness and access to free tax preparation services and receipt of Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Ms. Metz also played a vital role in the Virtual VITA Pilot program conducted in the state of Florida. She recently completed intensive training and testing through the VCU National Training Center to receive her provisional Community Partner Work Incentives Counseling Certification (CWIC). Additionally, she works on numerous projects in the State of FL related to financial education and asset development. An example of this work involves increasing economic self-sufficiency through funding provided by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council. While working with NDI, she has created and organized various tools and webinars to ensure educational opportunities are available to national partners interested in achieving economic empowerment for persons with disabilities. Her background and expertise provides a foundation which allows her to provide technical assistance to cities across the country, on topics such as tax preparation, employment, outreach, asset development, financial education, benefit training and more.

Prior to working with the National Disability Institute, Ms. Metz was the Manager of the Disabled Services Office for the City of Jacksonville, FL as well as the City's ADA Coordinator. In the 11 years she was with the City, her work revolved around improving the quality of life for persons with disabilities by increasing awareness concerning the accomplishments and needs of persons with disabilities. During her many years in the disability field she has acquired experience, knowledge and expertise in a variety of areas related to persons with disabilities to include the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), transportation, emergency preparedness, disabled parking enforcement, universal accessibility through physical access and accommodations, communication, event planning, employment and most recently asset development and financial education for persons with disabilities.

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Jamie Robinson

Jamie Robinson has worked to increase employment and self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities for over 15 years. She served on National Disability Institute's (NDI) Training and Technical Assistance (TA) Team under two successive disability-employment initiatives administered by the US Department of Labor, working to build the capacity of the national workforce development system to more effectively serve individuals with disabilities. As a national TA Liaison, she worked closely with state/local workforce systems and their partners across the country as they implemented a variety of strategies to promote systems change. Over the past two years, Jamie worked directly with projects that elected asset development as a major strategy to implement within their workforce systems, assisting with the coordination of regional asset coalitions, asset summits and financial fitness fairs. Prior to her work at NDI, Jamie was a Disability Program Navigator for three comprehensive America's Job Centers in Massachusetts (formerly known as One-Stop Career Centers), where she facilitated a Disability Action Committee with partners in workforce, disability, education and business to enhance systems collaboration. Jamie is a former Vocational Coordinator of a program for d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing adults, providing services in employment, independent living, work incentives counseling and mental health. She brings working knowledge as a Certified Social Security Disability Benefits Counselor, primarily working with d/Deaf individuals to apply complex work incentives to advance employment and self-sufficiency. Jamie holds a Master's degree in Deafness Rehabilitation from New York University and Bachelor's degree from the University of Connecticut in Communication Disorders. She resides in the Greater Boston Area with her husband and two children, and is actively involved in expanding services throughout the d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities throughout New England.

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Miranda Kennedy

Miranda Kennedy's background and expertise is in the areas of researching and analyzing policy issues, as well as developing and executing training and implementing promising practices across states and local areas in the areas of youth in transition, workforce development, cross-system service coordination, employment, entrepreneurship, asset development, assistive technology, community participation and inclusion.

In her work with the National Disability Institute (NDI), Ms. Kennedy serves as the Director of Training and Senior Technical Advisor for the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) Projects funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). She served in a similar capacity with the DEI's predecessor, working closely with the 47 states and 4 U.S. Territories funded by ETA as Disability Program Navigator (DPN) projects. Prior to her work at the national level, Ms. Kennedy worked in Colorado at the state level and also within two local workforce investment areas addressing access and employment issues for job seekers with disabilities.

Ms. Kennedy has a Master's Degree in Public Policy from the University of Denver's Institute for Public Policy Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

[Miranda is a member of the DEI Training and Technical Assistance team, which is a project of National Disability Institute.]

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Mary Lynn ReVoir

Mary Lynn ReVoir has 34 years of experience developing and operating programs to enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities. Serving as Training and Technical Assistance Manager for the Disability Employment Initiative project with National Disability Institute, she brings eight years of experience in the One-Stop workforce system and past position as a Senior Account Manager with the Workforce Initiative for the Operating Support Manager of the Ticket to Work program. While working with the public workforce system, Mary Lynn served as the Iowa State Lead for the Navigator program for five years. In 2007, Mary Lynn developed the Iowa State Workforce Partners Employment Network on behalf of eight state agencies, a model recognized as a national leader in the field. Prior to 2003, she was the Executive Director of a private provider for individuals with disabilities for 17 years. She is a graduate from the University of Wisconsin.

[Mary Lynn is a member of the DEI Training and Technical Assistance team, which is a project of National Disability Institute.]

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Danielle Ralston

Danielle "DJ" Ralston started her career in the public workforce investment system as a WIA Case Manager and One-Stop Career Center staff member. Prior to joining the National Disability Institute Ms. Ralston served as both a Disability Program Navigator (DPN) and the state project lead for the Alaska DPN project. As the DPN project lead, Ms. Ralston was responsible for planning, implementing, organizing, and directing the work of five Navigators across the state including developing and delivering training for Navigators. As the DPN project lead, Ms. Ralston worked closely with multiple state partners to promote sustainability through collaboration, integration and systemic change through leveraging available programs, resources and funding streams available to people with disabilities. Since joining the National Disability Institute, she has provided training and technical assistance around multiple topics through webinar series as well as one-on-one technical assistance to project grantees. In addition to having direct experience and detailed knowledge of the state and national workforce investment systems, Ms. Ralston brings with her experience in building relationships and collaborating with state and local level partners to promote asset development opportunities for people with disabilities. Ms. Ralston completed her undergraduate studies at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio and has a Master's in Rehabilitation Counseling from Western Washington University.

[Danielle is a member of the DEI Training and Technical Assistance team, which is a project of National Disability Institute.]

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Brian Ingram

Brian Ingram has been working in the fields of disability and employment for over 15 years, focusing on issues of access to the Workforce Investment Act services for customers with disability and other challenges to employment at a center, regional, state, and national level since 2000. Under the Disability Program Navigator (DPN) initiative, he served as both a Navigator and a state lead. In 2006, Brian was instrumental in introducing the IRT approach regionally as a model in Oregon to coordinate services and supports at a customer level allowing for the enrollment of customers with disability and multiple challenges to employment into WIA intensive services. Mr. Ingram, who is known as a national expert on the Integrated Resource Team approach and on working with partners within and outside of the workforce system to leverage and blend and braid funds and resources around an individual job seeker with multiple challenges to employment, serves as the NDI teams subject matter expert in these areas. A DPN Promising Practice video and information brief, Disability Program Navigators: Making the Connections For Job Seekers with Disabilities, highlight the work that Mr. Ingram was instrumental in implementing throughout the workforce system in Oregon. Brian has a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from Portland State University.

[Brian is a member of the DEI Training and Technical Assistance team, which is a project of National Disability Institute.]

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Jayson Gleneck

Jayson Gleneck is a Digital Artist, whose professional career includes Graphic Design, Web Design, Photography, Illustration, and Video. He currently serves as an Information Technology Specialist with the National Disability Institute (NDI), where he provides website design, management and support for the Disability Employment Initiative. Prior to joining the NDI team, Mr. Gleneck used his graphic design skills to build web/TV graphics and create virtual animations based upon real data acquisition for Trakus, Inc. Working on contract jobs has given him many unique experiences to develop his skills in graphics such as creating official Massachusetts voting ballots, designing fashion Jewelry, making official company logos and branding, creating TV graphics and animations, 3-D pre-visualization graphics, Illustrations, 4-color ads, accessible web sites, promotional advertising for movie theaters, newspapers and magazines, etc. Mr. Gleneck is a former President of the Nashua Area Artists Association (NAAA) and currently is a board member. He also shows his artwork in Galleries, annual shows, and art exhibits. Mr. Gleneck received a four year diploma from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and a BFA Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts. His concentration of study was Graphic Design, 3-D computer animation, and Digital art. He continues to learn about new technologies through continuing education.

[Jayson is a member of the DEI Training and Technical Assistance team, which is a project of National Disability Institute.]

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Gail Watson


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Brittany Taylor

Brittany Taylor is the Program Coordinator for the National Disability Institute led National Center on Leadership for Employment and Advancement of People with Disabilities (LEAD Center). In her capacity as Program Coordinator, she assists with establishing the LEAD Center and implement system change to advance employment outcomes and economic self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities. Ms. Taylor serves a key program management role in developing and implementing tracking and reporting systems for day to day tasks and facilitating communication and timelines for Federal grant activities. In addition, she provides professional, communication, and technical assistance to LEAD Center staff, contractors, and additional outreach partners.

Ms. Taylor has extensive experience in non-profit program management and coordinating nationally led efforts for systems change in the areas of employment, education and training, and workforce development at the national level. She has also previously worked as a Legislative Aide for the US House of Representatives. She holds two Bachelor's of Arts Degrees in History and International Political Economy from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and resides in Washington, DC.

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Alexandra Kielty

Alexandra Kielty is a Disability Workforce Development Specialist for the Disability Employment Initiative. Ms. Kielty retired from the Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration in February 2011 following 32 years of public service. During the last 15 years of her tenure she was ETA's designated lead on disability related programs and policy. She was responsible for the development and implementation of Work Incentive Grant and Disability Program Navigator initiatives from 2000 to 2010 with the objectives of identifying and implementing innovative workforce solutions to expand employment and training opportunities to job seekers with disabilities accessing the One-Stop Career Center. She worked closely with DOL's Office of Disability Employment Policy on implementation of the Disability Employment Initiative which built upon the success of maintaining a disability resource coordinator in the workforce system, establishing integrated resource teams to leverage funding and coordinate services, and utilizing customized and self-employment strategies. Her work included extensive cross agency collaboration with the Social Security Administration, Department of Education, and Department of Health and Human Services. She has been integrally involved in public policy impacting individuals with disabilities and their training, workforce, and career advancement opportunities.

Ms. Kielty was also the managing supervisor of the Senior Community Service Employment Program which provides approximately $450 million annually to 72 non-profit, state, and territorial government entities to establish part-time employment and training in local public and non-profit organizations, as well as supportive services, to low income individuals aged 55 and older.

Ms. Kielty's background includes programmatic and fiscal oversight and administration of national employment programs under the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, Job Training and Partnership Act, and the Workforce Investment Act, which includes Wagner-Peyser employment service and Job Corps Center programs, among others. She has also worked at the local level and has a BA in Psychology and an MA in Guidance and Counseling.

[Alexandra is a member of the DEI Training and Technical Assistance team, which is a project of National Disability Institute.]

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Kevin Nickerson

Kevin Nickerson is a nationally recognized expert on the effective implementation of Employment Networks (ENs) within the public workforce system as well as within for-profit and non-profit organizations that serve individuals with disabilities. Mr. Nickerson has served as an "on the ground" resource for the U.S. Department of Labor and Social Security Administration (SSA) and its contractors due to his pioneering work in this area at Challenge Workforce Solutions, a non-profit rehabilitation agency in Ithaca New York, where he was a service provider for nearly 20 years. Mr. Nickerson established Challenge as an Employment Network (EN) in the Ticket to Work program in 2001, the first private EN in NY. Mr. Nickerson assisted numerous SSA disability beneficiaries in achieving self-sufficiency through the Ticket to Work program.

Mr. Nickerson has been a certified Benefits Planning, Assistance & Outreach specialist for Tompkins County since 2000, and maintains his certification as a Community Work Incentives Coordinator (CWIC), and has assisted hundreds of SSA beneficiaries in accessing Social Security Work Incentives to return to work. Mr. Nickerson employed his knowledge of SSA work incentives and the Ticket to Work program in his leadership role as Disability Resource Coordinator (DRC) State Lead for NYS under their Round 1 Disability Employment Initiative (DEI), where each of the 26 DRC's he led also became certified CWIC's. During his time providing leadership to the NYS DEI Round 1 project, Mr. Nickerson assisted the state in achieving significant outcomes under the Ticket to Work program. Under the DPN initiative, Mr. Nickerson co-developed a 30-Second Training strategy to educate and provide resources to staff on serving and accommodating individuals with disabilities. This U.S. DOL "promising practice" has been utilized widely in recent years and has been identified as an innovative and engaging way to train Workforce Center staff, partner agencies, and employers nationwide.

Currently, Mr. Nickerson works for National Disability Institute, serving as a Subject Matter Expert on the Ticket to Work program, assisting DEI state projects in implementing effective Employment Network operations. Mr. Nickerson also works under additional grants for NDI which focus on improved employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

[Kevin is a member of the DEI Training and Technical Assistance team, which is a project of National Disability Institute.]

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Dominic Manecke

Dominic Manecke is the newest member of National Disability Institute's (NDI) Communications team, serving in the role of Communications Specialist. Dominic has more than six years of professional experience in communications and public affairs. Prior to joining NDI, Dominic served as deputy press secretary for Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-03). In this position, he managed the Congressman Yarmuth's media presence and developed media strategies to generate public support for Rep. Yarmuth's legislative agenda.

In addition to his work in media relations, Dominic has extensive experience implementing targeted mailing campaigns, managing social media platforms, drafting and editing all forms of communications pieces, event planning and media training.

A graduate of the University of Louisville, Dominic holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science — graduating Cum Laude and earning the Louis B. Kesselman Award for Outstanding Senior in the Political Science Department.

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James Thayer

James Thayer is the Administrative Assistant for the National Disability Institute. Mr. Thayer provides direct support for staff and is the first point of contact for external interests. Previous to his work at NDI, he held positions in the education and technology sectors. Mr. Thayer's work at NDI is an extension of his background in direct administrative support and his love for helping other people. He graduated with a Bachelor's degree in English and Geography from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

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Lisa Stern

Lisa Stern is an Employment Policy Advisor for NDI. Her efforts are focused on the LEAD center, a collaborative of disability, workforce and economic empowerment organizations dedicated to a single mission: advancing sustainable individual and systems level change to improve competitive, integrated employment and economic self-sufficiency for all people across the spectrum of disability.

Lisa has spent more than 25 years focused on career, workforce development and disability employment initiatives. She has extensive grass roots and experience creating, implementing and evaluating employment programs for injured service members and veterans entering the civilian workforce, youth with disabilities transitioning from school to work, and adults with disabilities accessing the services of the public workforce system. Lisa has provided consultation, subject matter expertise, training and technical assistance to local, state and national-level projects focused on improving employment outcomes for people with disabilities. She has also written a number of documents that have been converted to online resources to support youth with disabilities, disabled veterans, and employers.

Her passions lie in training and education initiatives that help to eliminate stigma as a barrier to employment and program development focused on self-determination, self-advocacy, and a proactive career search. She is especially passionate about "demystifying" post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury in the workplace and helping injured veterans develop the transition to be successful and thriving members the civilian workforce and their communities.

Lisa is currently a doctoral student at The George Washington University, studying Human and Organizational Learning/Human Resources Development. She holds a master's degree in Education and Human Development (with a focus on school-based vocational assessment) from The George Washington University and a bachelor's degree in Behavioral and Social Sciences from the University of Maryland.

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Laurie Schaller


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