The program curriculum was developed by a team of EDI faculty and staff with many years of experience related to the employment and career development of individuals with disabilities.
Carol Blessing, LMSW, Senior Extension Associate, has extensive experience fostering and facilitating the full inclusion of people with disabilities through paid employment and other meaningful community membership roles. In addition to having expertise in the theory and practices that promote successful employment outcomes with people with disabilities, she is well-versed in the areas of organizational change, strategic planning, Appreciative Inquiry and person-centered planning.
LaWanda Cook, PhD, CRC, Extension Associate, has extensive experience in vocational counseling for individuals with disabilities and personnel management within public and non-profit organizations. Her research and training development is in the areas of quality vocational rehabilitation service delivery, leisure and disability coping, inclusive worksite wellness, work-life balance of people with disabilities, and social inclusion in integrated work and leisure settings.
Thomas Golden, M.S., CRC, Associate Director of the EDI, has engaged in practice, research and publication focusing primarily on social insurance policy and its relation to return to work and greater economic independence and self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities who receive public benefits and entitlements; transition planning for secondary education students with disabilities to live, learn and earn in their communities; and organizational development and systems change with an emphasis on facilitating inclusive communities for individuals with disabilities.
Hannah Rudstam, PhD, Senior Extension Associate has identified and created new program approaches to employment and disability training that result in deeper understanding and impact, rather than simple information dissemination. She has also created tools for use by employers, disability service professionals, and individuals with disabilities to help them better understand their rights and responsibilities under the ADA. Recently, she has conducted research and training around the employment of veterans with disabilities.
Erin Sember-Chase, MS, Technical Assistance Coordinator, oversees a staff of specialists who address questions and requests through the technical assistance efforts and services of both the Northeast ADA Center (NEADA) and the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN). She is a co-instructor for the Cornell ILR School’s Introduction to Disability Studies course and serves as advisor to the Cornell Union for Disabilities Awareness.
Luz Semeah, PhD, Technical Assistance Specialist addresses questions and requests via the NEADA and EARN Technical Assistance efforts. She has extensive experience in overseeing ADA compliance in the arenas of public transportation and employment. Her research relates to the housing accessibility needs of veterans with disabilities.
Wendy Strobel Gower, M.S., Director of the Northeast ADA Center, has worked extensively in the application and training of issues related to school-to-work transition of individuals with disabilities and assistive technology in work and school environments. Other areas of interest include person centered planning, disability legislation and its impact on services, and the identification and accommodation of the functional limitations of disabilities across the lifespan.
Joseph Zesski, MS, the New Jersey affiliate of the Northeast ADA Center provides ADA technical assistance and conducts trainings on the Center's behalf. He has extensive knowledge and experience in school-to-college transition of people with disabilities, assistive technology, and relationship building among various disability-related organizations to enhance their collective effectiveness in meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities.
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