2022 National APSE Board Election Winner: Jan Dougherty, Ohio

2022 National APSE Board of Directors Midwest Regional Delegate Winner!

Jan Doughtery, Ohio

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

Family Member of a Person with a Disability; County Board of Developmental Disabilities

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 (no more than 500 words):

My history into promoting competitive integrated employment goes back to when our son was graduating from high school. He left school with no opportunities to work and only a comment by the work coordinator that she had no plans to help him with employment because she did not believe he was employable. Over the following years, years, he had many cases opened and closed through the local Vocational Rehabilitation office. Record stamped, non-employable. Segregated, institutional settings were offered. Spending the next many years, pounding the pavement and landing him job after job, only to be fired job after job, he has excelled in his current job. It was through this struggle that I realized it was important to work for others in the same way I worked for my son. Though working and promoting it on a statewide level came later as I got involved in the employment first movement in Ohio. There was a saying amongst providers and collaborators that only the ‘low hanging fruit goes first’. This phrase has stuck with me today. I made it my mission to specifically work with those with complex support needs into employment. Those people who spent most of their life/time in segregated workshops. One by one, we began helping people become employed. At the time many people laughed and dismissed what we were doing. But we knew these people’s lives were changing. They shared how, for the first time, they were able to get their hair done in a salon. As time went by, word got around to the individuals, and we began getting phones calls to get them jobs. As employment first became state law, more people were starting to move in the same direction and helping people become employed. For many people with disabilities, that entry into competitively integrated employment becomes their passion. It’s almost impossible not to pick up on their passion and not have your own passion grow. Passion for competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities is about changing a system that is structurally built on old policies and practices. Chipping away at and through every opportunity that presents itself. Hopefully, over time, competitive integrated employment will just be a natural course of action for every person with a disability.

What relevance does/should APSE and its chapters/members have in national and state conversations regarding equity, diversity, and inclusion (no more than 350 words)?

There has never been a more relevant time in APSE and its members in having a true commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion on a national and state level. Making equity, diversity, and inclusion a priority within APSE, every facet of our association can benefit, including the bottom line. APSE as an association works with a wide range of people, through its trainings, its leaders on a national and state level impacting policies and procedures, to name a few. It is important for national APSE to reflect the kind of equity, diversity, and inclusion that creates an environment for its membership to understand how their role in EDI can benefit their work within their workplaces. From a discussion in our region, it was noted because the chapters have not placed a lot of focus on EDI, there will be a need for support and tools for reflections with targeted questions to help chapters evaluate their progress. Chapters will need strategic questions and examples of what is good could have been better.

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 (no more than 350 words)?

First and foremost, I have spent the past 10 years managing our son’s financial affairs, ensuring he maintains his benefits and all the while strengthening and growing his financial wealth within a Social Security and Medicaid environment. This is no easy feat. I also am certified in benefits analysis for other people with disabilities who have a goal of self-sufficiency through competitive integrated employment. As we know, one of the biggest fear for people with disabilities to consider employment is losing their benefits. On a professional level, I have developed and managed departmental budgets and contracts. As a state chapter leader, I work to promote APSE’s mission through our trainings and policy initiatives. Our chapter is also working on developing our membership. By increasing our membership, it has a direct impact on growing the financial health of APSE.


Jan is a native of Canton, Ohio. She holds degrees in Early Childhood Education and Business Management from Malone University. She currently is employed with Summit County, Developmental Disabilities Board. In her current role as Manager of Community Support and Development, she focuses her attention to overseeing the development of business relationships of her team. She works closely with the provider community developing best practices and creating a platform for collaborative approaches to tackle workforce challenges facing employment of people with disabilities.
Prior to coming to the board, Jan spent a big portion of her career as Director of Employment Services for a non-profit agency in Canton, Ohio. Through her work, her passion grew in working with people that spent a big portion of their lives in workshops or day programs but ultimately wanted to get a real job in the community. Jan believes that all people have the right to work and decide when they are ready to work and that the service delivery team works together in putting the necessary supports and accommodations that will help each person be successful.

Current Position:
• Manager, Community Support and Development, Summit County Board of DD
o Oversees the business relationship development of her team.
o Oversees the coordination and facilitation of the employment collaborative of a diverse group of employment providers to promote a coordinated effort of employing individuals into the workplace
o Oversees the outreach to the employment providers and other community resources to strengthen employer outreach and community-integrated employment
o Oversees the provide employment training and support to providers to increase community integrated employment
o Oversee contracts for special employment projects.
o Oversee all the required training for providers

History and Involvement with APSE and/or State APSE and/or Integrated Employment:
• Ohio APSE board member for approximately 6 years, holding the secretary position for 3 of these years.
• Co-President, 3 years
o Public Policy liaison between Ohio APSE and National
o Assist with ongoing coordination and support to Ohio APSE’s committees
• Committee member on National APSE Public Policy
• Committee member on Social Security Subgroup
• Committee member of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
• Regional Delegate for Midwest region

Experience with budgets / financials:
My position in overseeing the employment department with a nonprofit provider organization, I managed a $400,000 department budget, this included starting two LLC businesses. Procured contracts for these LLC’s, setting up a billing and invoicing system for both companies. Expanded the employment program, securing a contract for an additional $100,000 to build a hydroponic garden. As Assistant Director of a YWCA, I was responsible for the budget and financials of programming for young girls and women. In my current position, I am responsible for assisting in the development of the department’s budget and overseeing contracts related to employment, which included contracts with providers to conduct the discovery process, the outcome-based employment project, and currently, partners in a business project.

Discuss how you will represent the needs of the chapters in your region and work to strengthen APSE’s chapter structure (no more than 350 words).

Having had the opportunity over the past 1 1/2 to 2 years to represent the needs of the Midwest Region, I’ve learned not to worry that I didn’t have to have all the answers to the questions and discussions. I found that providing an open environment for topics the region identified and felt was more important. I learned to let myself come into my own as the regional delegate. It is important that I continue to play a supportive role for the chapters in the region, advocate for them and provide the necessary resources so they can run their chapters efficiently. If elected to continue to serve the Midwest Region, I will work to build a stronger representation during our monthly meetings and share their challenges, and to find ways to overcome those challenges. I will also work to build on the collaboration with other regions we started this year. And finally, I feel it would be of value to map out a strategic plan with our region on what we want to accomplish over the next term, including the support that is needed for EDI conversations and membership development. This is a team effort and I see my role as a supporter of their chapters’ needs.

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