We are pleased to announce that Julie Christensen, MSW, PhD has been appointed the APSE Interim Executive Director. Julie is most recently the Director of Policy & Advocacy for APSE, and prior to being employed in that capacity served as a member of its board of directors from June 2017 – December 2018.
In addition to her knowledge and skills around employment policy and advocacy on behalf of job candidates and workers with disabilities, Julie brings over 12 years of senior management experience in the nonprofit sector including past leadership positions as Director of Iowa’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), the Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD) at the University of Iowa; and Director of Employment Programs at Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities at the University of Rochester (a New York UCEDD).
Julie also has considerable experience developing, administering, and evaluating federal, state and local grant-funded projects with an emphasis on cross-systems collaboration and systems change. Her research is in the areas of employment, quality of life, and leisure and recreation participation of adolescents and young adults with IDD. She served as the Principal Investigator and Project Director for the NYS Partnerships in Employment Systems Change project (funded by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities), Co-Director of the New York Employment First State Leadership Mentor Program (an initiative of the Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy), and also served as the New York State Coordinator for Project SEARCH. In this role, she designed and implemented an in-state longitudinal evaluation of Project SEARCH programs throughout NYS, publishing the results in the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation (Christensen, Hetherington, Daston & Riehle, 2015).
Julie earned a Master of Social Work from Roberts Wesleyan College and a PhD in Health Practice Research at the University of Rochester. She is currently the Senior Disability Policy Fellow at the Harkin Institute at Drake University.
Throughout her career, Julie has worked on behalf of organizations that seek to improve the full inclusion of people with disabilities and advance disability rights. She has demonstrated a deep commitment to APSE’s mission (to advance employment equity for people with disabilities), vision (that all people with disabilities have competitive employment in an inclusive workforce), and values (the belief that everyone can and should work, and have the dignity of determining their career path).
APSE plans to conduct a national search for its next Executive Director, but extends its gratitude to Julie for her willingness to provide leadership during this interim period.
On behalf of the APSE Board of Directors,
Margaret Gilbride, JD