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2024 National APSE Board Nominee: Stefanie Rinaldi, NJ

2024 National APSE Board of Directors Northeast Regional Delegate Candidate

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

K-12 School Personnel

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:

I started my career in working with adults with disabilities ten years ago, and soon thereafter was given the opportunity to start a grant-funded employment program through DVRS. Starting this program helped me develop a strong passion for working with disabled adults in an effort to find them meaningful employment that they could be proud of. As part of my tenure as the President of NJAPSE, I build relationships and work hand-in-hand with state stakeholders such as DVRS, DOL, and DDD. I believe that all individuals, whether disabled or not, should have the opportunity to work in a job that interests them and allows them to grow. Gainful employment is not just about having a job – it’s about being a part of the community. I am proud to be an advocate for this community, whether I am advocating individually or as part of APSE.

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

As an organization that supports community employment, APSE should be involved in both State and National discussions regarding D&I in the workplace. All individuals, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, should have an equal opportunity to succeed in the workplace. 

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?

I have been fortunate enough to be in management-level roles for the past 10 years of my career, where I have been able to successfully tackle a wide variety of problems and issues, as well as build and maintain strong relationships with organizations and individuals in the Supported Employment community across the Country. I have also been fortunate enough to gain experience in budget management, developing and maintaining several organizational budgets, some as large as $7 million. This unique combination of leadership and management experience will allow me to shape and guide APSE’s future success. 

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.

Over the course of the last three years, I have been fortunate enough to participate in the Northeast Regional APSE Meetings as both President and Vice President. I have witnessed first-hand what it takes to be a successful Regional Delegate, and will undoubtedly carry on the strong relationship that the Northeast Region members have built. The ideas that are generated and refined at these meetings will be passed on to National APSE, so that together we can develop successful plans to help represent disabled individuals across the Country.

Biography

Stefanie Rinadi is a proud graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University, holding a bachelor’s Degree in Humanities and a Master’s Degree in Teaching. She began her career working with students who had been hospitalized as a result of mental health problems and ultimately moved on to a career working with adults with disabilities. Her experience helping adults with disabilities began with developing employment and day habilitation programs, and ultimately expanded to include helping individuals in group homes find employment. Soon, she found herself exploring Transition Support for high school students and ultimately became responsible for developing programs that helped bridge the gap between high school graduation and entering the workforce. Currently, Stefanie is the Coordinator of Special Education at The Center School in Somerset, NJ where she works to enhance the school’s transition program and also serves as an administrator. She has served on the NJAPSE Board for 4 years and is currently its President. She continues to be an advocate for Supportive Employment, seeking out any and all chances to display her passion for helping the community. 

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