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2024 National APSE Board Nominee: Suad Bisogno, CA

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2024 National APSE Board of Directors At-Large 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:

Family Member of a Person with a Disability, Service Provider or Manager, Employer or Business Owner

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 have been involved in employment for persons with disabilities since 2017. At that time, I worked alongside advocates such as Sherry Beamer and Jeffrey Strully to host an Abilities not Disabilities Employment Summit. From there, I have grown in my capacity around employment for persons with disabilities. This includes: 1. Contracting with providers of services to support them in their development of employment services for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 2. Running a mid-size non-profit that supports the employment of over 300 persons with disabilities. Integrated Resources Institute has believed in the power of employment for people with disabilities since its inception in 1987. Founder Steve Zivolich fought hard to pave the way for employment for people with disabilities and during a time when service access was minimal, was able to get large state and federal grants to support employment initiatives for people with disabilities, including the Pizza Hut Jobs Plus Program 3. Varies hats on the CA APSE board since 2020 (including Vice President and Chair of the Public Policy Committee) 4. Sitting member of the Employment Workforce Committee for the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) 5. Supported the DDS system by creating an incentive for those who become CESP certified. 6. Part of advocates that legislatively pushed for the creation of California’s 1st Employment First Office 7. Part of the committee that pushed for SB639, the phase-out plan to end subminimum wage. 8. Received a State Grant to develop ACRE curriculum and train employment specialists in the State of California. 9. Sit on the Board of North Los Angeles Regional Center as the Vendor Liaison. NLACRC has a budget of $1,000,000,000 and supports over 40,000 persons with disabilities. I provide a valued perspective to the Board. So much so that I was pulled into several committees and was also selected to sit in the committee in charge of the recruitment of their next E.D.

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

Disability should be always be a part of the EDI equation. Disability intersects across all: Race, Color, National Origin, Sex, Religion, and Age. Disability should always be a part of the equation, but even more than that, it should be a part of ALL the equations. So as we work with state and national partners on issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion, we should remember that disability intersects all of these areas.

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 am the CEO of a non-profit that generates about 12 million in revenue annually. I wear multiple hats. One is to advocate for the employment of ALL persons with disabilities (regardless of severity of disability). And second, to ensure that the organization continues to thrive so that services for people with disabilities continue to exist. The first part is easy comes easily as we are passionate advocates for this. The second part is always a struggle because so many variables get in the way. From understanding best practices in Human Resources, Accounting, Employee Retention, Employer Engagement, and Service Delivery to ensure that we continue to thrive. So as a person who advocates for employment and also runs a non-profit, I believe I can offer value to the APSE board, and at times resources from my company.

Biography

Suad Bisogno is the CEO of Integrated Resources Institute (IRI), a California-based non-profit dedicated to the CIE of persons with disabilities. IRI supports over 300 persons to achieve their employment goals. Suad has worked in the field of disability employment since 2007 when she first started in this field as an employment coach and employment service administrative assistant. Suad Bisogno has volunteered her time to many boards and committees, including the California APSE Board of Directors, North Los Angeles Regional Center Board of Directors, DDS Employment Workforce Committee, Employment First Coalition, and Workgroup. She also was a part of some significant public policy and legislative efforts in California, including the passing of SB639, which creates a 5-year plan to end sub-minimum wage, the creation of California’s Employment First Office, and the creation of state incentives for providers that put their employees through ACRE and CESP.

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