2024 Pre-Conference Offerings

Announcing APSE's 2024 Pre-Conference Sessions!
Join us on Monday, June 17, 2024.

Morning Sessions (9am-Noon EST) - 3 options!

Afternoon Sessions (1:30-4:30pm EST) - 4 options!

Job Development: Knowing Where to Go and What to Say

Presenter: Katie Wolf-Whaley

Description: We all know that individualized job searches are important. But figuring out what would be good and then how to go find it can be overwhelming! This session will explore strategies around how to apply the idea of personalized jobs. These strategies will lead the employment specialist to create a prioritized list of where to begin job development, who to contact and a name to get you in, what specific types of work you are seeking, and why you believe this company is a good fit for the individual. We will also learn strategies for engaging with employers. As the old saying goes its not just what you know, it’s who you know. We will talk about how to increase our “who you know” while being prepared with “what you know” so employers engage in conversations with us that are more likely to lead to hiring! 

The Importance and Ethics of Psychological Safety in the Workplace for People with Disabilities

Presenters: Christa Martin

Description: What is Psychological Safety in the Workplace, and just why is it so important nowadays? This presentation will help attendees define and understand not only what psychological safety in the workplace is and its importance for people with disabilities, but it will also explore the ethical implications that arise when there is a lack of psychological safety in an employment setting. People with disabilities report lower levels of feeling that they have psychological safety at work compared to their non-disabled coworkers who report feeling less likely to fear negative consequences for simply sharing their values or ideas. Attendees will learn the warning signs that are associated with a low level of psychological safety at work, while also gaining knowledge about ways to combat it and improve the level of psychological safety at work, which in turn improves an organization's culture overall. 

Getting Past the Gates: Job Development with Large Employers

Presenter: Mer Stevens

Description: We will talk through effective and ineffective strategies for Job Developers and Supported Employment leaders to engage with employers who are hard to infiltrate. Employers are looking for diverse candidate pools and increasingly understand that disabled talent – including job seekers with cognitive disabilities and complex support needs – are part of a huge untapped resource. We will talk about how to bridge the chasm between the world of big enterprises and Supported Employment so that you can help people get great jobs. 

Core Values and Principles and Why They are Essential to the Work We Do

Presenters: Katie Wolf-Whaley

Description: Our goal? To find jobs. But it’s so much more than that. We want to provide quality, values-based supports so people find and keep good jobs. Jobs that are integrated, pay well, and are truly a good fit and that allow people to contribute to the business in meaningful ways. But how do we uphold these values and beliefs in the real world of running an agency? We will use Social Role Valorization theory to critique how we get to know job seekers vocationally, what types of jobs we look for, how we look for these jobs, and how employees are supported on the job. These principles are not new, but need to be applied to the work we do in order to keep our values fresh and our work in focus. If we want people to choose to work the choices need to be good ones. 

Empower, Employ, Engage: The Role of I/DD Peer Menoring in INclusive Workforce Development

Presenters: Kelly Friedlander, Talley Wells, Kathie Smith, Brendon Hildreth

Description: Discover the Bridging Pathways Initiative, an innovative peer mentoring program designed to employ and empower individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Through a partnership between the NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities, and Community Bridges, the Bridging Pathways Initiative has emerged as a pioneering model for peer mentoring, dedicated to enhancing the personal and professional development of individuals with I/DD through comprehensive training and paid internships. The Bridging Pathways initiative offers a holistic model emphasizing the full inclusion of individuals with I/DD in the health and human service workplace. Learn how this initiative transforms lives and enriches workplaces and communities by embracing the professional contributions of people with I/DD. 

Empowering Careers through Industry Aligned Certification Programs

Presenters: Kerri Morse, Silvia Gil,

Description: This presentation will highlight the impact of Industry Standard Certification programs, emphasizing their significant return on investment. We will explore promising career opportunities on a national and state level, the role of Industry Trade Associations, and the crucial need to adapt industry curricula to cater to diverse learners. The session will also showcase effective curriculum design, with examples for those interested in Culinary, Barista, Hospitality or Retail. Technological tools for program implementation, design elements fostering learner engagement, and essential programmatic considerations will be discussed. Additionally, we will assess prevalent challenges encountered by individuals entering the retail sector, examining how credentialing programs can be strategically implemented to enhance career success and retention. 

Elevating Employment First in Colorado with Emerging Leaders

Presenters: Vikki Ortiz, Heather Hagan

Description: This session is ideal for anyone who is curious to hear how other states are advancing Employment First or who may be interested in learning more about Provider Transformation from Emerging Leaders.

Venue Location

Le Meridian and Sheraton* Charlotte

555 S. McDowell St.
Charlotte, NC 28204

(704) 372-4100

Room Block Reservation Link:
(Valid through May 17, 2024)

*Note - As of May 1, 2024, there is limited availability at the Sheraton.

Thank you to our 2024 Sponsors and Exhibitors!

Accessibility Partners

Corporate Partner

Gold Level Sponsor

Silver Level Sponsor

Bronze Level Sponsor

Voices Together Logo


Host Chapter


Chapter Sponsors



  • ACRE
  • Attainment Company, Inc.
  • Center on Community Living and Careers
  • CESP
  • Colorado Office of Employment First
  • de Moya Foundation
  • DirectCourse / Elsevier
  • ICI UMass
  • Kennedy Krieger Institute
  • LifeSpan
  • Mass Mutual
  • North Carolina Division of Rehabilitation Services
  • North Carolina APSE
  • On Target
  • Project SEARCH
  • SetWorks
  • Therap
  • ThinkCollege
  • Wise