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2024 National APSE Board Nominee: Natalie LaRoche, RI

2024 National APSE Board of Directors Northeast Regional Delegate Candidate

MEET THE NOMINEES FOR THE 2024 NATIONAL APSE BOARD OF DIRECTORS: CLICK to read about all nominees before the election ends on March 18.

The area(s) that best represents your current position/experience:

State Agency Representative

Describe your history/nature of involvement/interest in promoting competitive integrated employment in your state. Additionally, explain why you are passionate about competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities:

In her role, Natalie has been actively involved in promoting Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE) within our state by advocating for policies and initiatives that prioritize the inclusive support of all individuals with any disability in the workforce. Natalie works closely with local government agencies, provider organizations, and stakeholder across the state to develop programs and resources aimed at facilitating CIE opportunities for people with disabilities. Natalie firmly believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to society and to achieve economic self-sufficiency through gainful employment. I have seen firsthand the transformative impact she has had within our division, throughout the state and with the providers who are doing the work. This fuels my support in the work Natalie is doing. 

What relevance does/should APSE and its chapters/members have in national and state conversations regarding equity, diversity, and inclusion?

Natalie believes the Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) and its chapters/members play a pivotal role in advocating for the rights and opportunities of individuals with disabilities. APSE and its members bring a unique perspective to national and state conversations by representing the interests and needs of those with disabilities in the workforce as APSE is the soul entity that represents Employment 1st. APSE provides a platform for sharing resources and innovation to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion in employment for people with disabilities. Natalie believes APSE can help to amplify the voices of state provider organizations who hope to prioritize the needs of individuals they serve with disabilities who wish to work. The Dept of Behavioral Health understands APSE and its chapters/members are essential stakeholders in national and state conversations which is why we support and nominate her to the regional board for the northeast..

What skills, knowledge, or lived experience do you have that will contribute to strengthening and growing the financial health of APSE and promoting its mission to advance employment and self-sufficiency for all people with disabilities?

Natalie brings a unique set of skills, knowledge, and personal experiences that I believe will greatly contribute to strengthening and growing APSE within our state and in the northeast region. Natalie’s professional experience includes being a business owner, writing grants, managing budgets, and marketing equips her with the financial and strategic planning skills necessary to oversee APSE’s financial situation, identify opportunities for growth, and develop effective strategies to secure the necessary resources and lead initiatives. Natalie is the Supported Employment liaison for the state which has provided her with a deep understanding of the challenges and barriers individuals face by individuals when attempting to access meaningful employment opportunities and achieving economic self-sufficiency.  Natalie’s ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion aligns closely with APSE’s values. Natalie is dedicated to ensuring that all individuals, regardless of their abilities, have equal access to employment opportunities.  

Candidates for Regional Delegate seats only: Discuss how you will represent the needs of the chapters in your region and work to strengthen APSE’s chapter structure.

As a regional representative for APSE, Natalie agrees to advocate for Rhode Island’s local chapter needs while enhancing the overall structure within each of the regional chapters throughout the northeast. Natalie has an open communication style that works well with both leaders and boots-on-the-ground folks doing the work. She addresses issues, facilitates collaboration, and advocates for everyone involved. Her approach emphasizes collaboration, communication, and empowerment.

Biography

Natalie is a dedicated professional with a rich and diverse background in the fields of mental health, program management, and education.  With a proven track record as the Administrator of Program Management at the State of Rhode Island and a Program Manager at BHDDH Natalie possesses strong leadership and organizational skills. She has been actively involved in promoting mental health awareness and education as an Instructor at the Community College of Rhode Island and through independent instruction of Mental Health First Aid. Natalie’s passion for inclusivity extends to advocating for competitive integrated employment, as evidenced by her history of creating statewide stakeholder supported employment task force, leading employment initiatives and building partnerships with provider agencies to increase access and opportunities for individuals with disabilities.  With a comprehensive background and a heartfelt dedication to fostering positive change, Natalie is making significant contributions to the fields of mental health and inclusive employment. 

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