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Thomas Golden

Thomas Golden

Associate Director
Employment and Disability Institute

Extension Faculty
Address: 201 Dolgen Hall Phone: (607) 255-2731
  Cornell University Fax: (607) 255-2763
  Ithaca, NY 14853 Email:

Thomas P. Golden is the Associate Director of the Employment and Disability Institute in the ILR School at Cornell. He has been on faculty since 1991 and his practice, research and publication has focused to date in three primary areas: 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.

As a faculty member he has been a contributor to the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center for Economic Research on Employment Policy for Persons with Disabilities and the Disability STATS RRTC at Cornell sponsored by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). In addition, he has directed the Center for Educational Achievement and Training, the Work Incentives Support Center and several other state initiatives focusing on community participation and inclusion of people with disabilities.

Thomas has actively worked with the private proprietary and not-for-profit service delivery sector expanding community-based vocational rehabilitation services and supports and supporting conversion planning to integrated service delivery models. Further, of recent, his efforts have focused on improving vocational rehabilitation outcomes of American Indians through provision of training and technical support around work incentive utilization among tribal peoples and in collaboration with the Council of Administrators of Native American Rehabilitation and Section 121 Vocational Rehabilitation Programs. Thomas continues to work with the Social Security Administration (SSA) on transition planning issues for youth with disabilities. In addition to this work, he has provided extensive training for SSA central and regional office personnel on the Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) work incentive and others since 1996. He was a contributor to the redesign of the federal PASS program and designed intensive residential continuing education programs for SSA PASS Specialists and Employment Support Representatives across the United States sponsored by the Central SSA Office with a particular emphasis on expanding the usefulness of existing work incentive programs and collaborating more effectively with the current federal/state and private vocational rehabilitation community.

On an international front, under the sponsorship of the Rockefeller Foundation and with the support of the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Labor, Thomas was a joint investigator on a comparative analysis of return to work policy and practice in the United Kingdom and United States which culminated in an International Symposium hosted by the White House. Under sponsorship from the International Labor Organization (ILO), Thomas recently completed an international educational curriculum that is being used in 13 third-world countries to support the development of anti-discrimination legislation and policy impacting individuals with disabilities. Thomas also recently completed an international comparative study for the Government of Ireland’s Health Services Executive focused on person-centered planning innovations leading toward most integrated day services for individuals with disabilities.

Thomas has completed three terms on the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Advisory Panel since its inception under appointment from both President William Jefferson Clinton and Senator Bill Frist. He was also a member of an Advisory Group established by the SSA to address adequacy of incentive issues under the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program. Thomas is currently the President of the National Association of Benefits and Work Incentives Specialists, a Trustee at Eastern Nazarene College serving as Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee and was also recently accepted into membership of the National Academy on Social Insurance. Thomas has served on the Board of the U.S. International Disability Council, Board of the National Council on Rehabilitation Education and served as Past-President for the Association of Educators of Community Rehabilitation Personnel.

Thomas resides in Waverly, New York with his wife Janel and three children, Sophie (13), Kaleb (10) and Josiah (6).


M.S. 1992 - Syracuse University, Rehabilitation Counseling
B.A. 1986 - Eastern Nazarene College, Clinical Psychology
Certified Rehabilitation Counselor -- #27926