APSE logo. Employment First, Employment for All.

Congratulations to the 2022 APSE Award Nominees & Winners! Highlighting individuals, organizations, and businesses nationwide for their efforts in Employment First.

The Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) awarded the 2022 APSE Awards during the 2022 National APSE Conference on Monday, June 13th, 2022 at 7 PM EST.

APSE 2022 event logo. Green mountains, blue text in a 5-sided shape with words.

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Dave Hammis Innovation Award

To honor Dave’s contributions to APSE and Employment First, this award is offered to individuals or organizations who demonstrate innovation in the area of technology, customized strategies, and/or self-employment for individuals with significant disabilities. Dave Hammis was an incredible innovator in the field of community-based and customized employment. His creativity and fresh approach to supporting people in inclusive workplaces--- whether at a business or through self-employment---inspired many of us to see beyond the realities of what we thought possible.

Wendy Wood Emerging Leader Award

The Wendy M. Wood Award was established to recognize emerging leaders who are developing a vision and creating action toward the full inclusion of citizens with disabilities in our society.


  • Deborah Copeland, Oklahoma. Nominated by Angela Duckett.
  • Stefanie Duffy, Iowa. Nominated by Iowa APSE Board.
  • Breanne Siniard, Indiana. Nominated by the Indiana APSE Board.
  • Stefanie Rinaldi, New Jersey. Nominated by Stephen Torres.

Public Policy Award

The Public Policy Award was created to distinguish an individual who has excelled in advocacy work around Employment First. A Public Policy Leader is someone who inspires others to make a difference by engaging with elected officials and key stakeholders in discussions to promote policies that support the mission of Employment First.


  • David Mitchell, Iowa. Nominated by Iowa APSE Board.
  • Susan Rinne, Indiana. Nominated by Indiana APSE Board.
  • Emily Munson, Indiana. Nominated by Indiana APSE Board.
  • Senator Louis DiPalma, Rhode Island. Nominated by Kie O'Donnell.

Lois Curtis Award

The Louis Curtis Award was created to recognize an individual’s personal achievement in advocating for inclusive, individualized, community-based employment and/or independent living. Lois Curtis paved the way for people with disabilities to live in their own communities while receiving the services they need after spending 18 years living in an institution. Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson brought a case that rose to the level of the Supreme Court and the court decided that "unjustified isolation" of a person with a disability is a form of discrimination under Title II of the ADA. This is known as the Olmstead Decision.


  • Addison "Addy" Carr, Burlington, Iowa. Nominated by Eva Castillo.
  • Brandy Dickerson, Indianapolis, Indiana. Nominated by Jonathan Kraeszig.

Certified Employment Support Professional™ (CESP) of the Year Award

To distinguish a Certified Employment Support Professional™ (CESP) who has excelled in raising awareness of the benefits of certification. The CESP of the Year is given to a current credential holder who advocates for competency among Employment Support Professionals and inspires others in their own professional development.


  • Terri Nelles, Illinois. Nominated by Anna Bowen.
  • Lourdes Casillas, Connecticut. Nominated by Emma Stuart.
NCCA Accredited program, CESP, and APSE logo.

Rebecca McDonald Award for State Chapter Leader - Individual

To honor Rebecca’s contributions to APSE and the employment of people with disabilities, this award is presented to an APSE Chapter Leader who demonstrates exceptional leadership, tireless volunteerism, and extraordinary commitment to the mission and vision of APSE within their state chapter.

Rebecca McDonald was a tireless advocate for supported employment and a dedicated friend and champion of APSE. Rebecca deeply believed in the principles APSE was founded upon and she supported and encouraged others to give and share resources to make those principles a reality. She was one of the supported employment’s greatest advocates and served APSE in various ways for 11 years as the founding Vice-President, President for three years, and was an officer for the APSE Foundation.

The two nominees for this year’s Rebecca McDonald Chapter Leader Award are Lorie Sandaine of Arizona APSE and Nicole Ericson of Iowa APSE.


Employer Award:

This year many businesses were nominated for the APSE Employer Award. This award was established to recognize businesses that value and demonstrate the importance of an inclusive workforce by employing people with disabilities. Nominated businesses have values consistent with APSE.

The 2022 Nominees are:

  • Animal Rescue League of Iowa in Des Moines, Iowa. Nominated by the Iowa APSE Board.
  • Hope Kaser with the IU Tobias Nutrition Center in Bloomington, Indiana. Nominated by the Indiana APSE Board.
  • Crunch Fitness in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania. Nominated by Kathleen Schultz.
  • Stakes Manufacturing in East Lake, Ohio. Nominated by Steve Blanks.

Best Practice Award: Organization

This award is to recognize a provider organization that has successfully implemented strategies to support those with disabilities to work and further their career path in an inclusive workforce.


  • Easterseals Crossroads AT Center, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Nominated by Jonathan Kraeszig.
  • Hope Haven Area Development Center in Burlington, Iowa. Nominated by Amanda Hatten.
  • Bridges to Employment, A Division of Alternatives, Inc in Raritan, New Jersey. Nominated by Stefani Rinaldi.
  • PRIDE Industries in Roseville, California. Nominated by Kat Mandu.
APSE 2022 event logo. Green mountains, blue text in a 5-sided shape with words.