Employment Possibilities - Thriving, Not Just Surviving

Posted: January 13, 2010


American culture values employment as an essential opportunity in our lives. The work we do in our lives is one of the basic elements in defining who we are, and who we become. Do you believe that people with disabilities can be productive workers? Are you a person with a disability who wants to further your education and enter the world of work? Your participation in our one-day event will allow you to learn from people who are successfully employed. You will see how productive, working citizens with disabilities are fulfilling their career goals.

Join us for a day of exploring the endless possibilities in the world of work and what it can offer you! "Employment Possibilities: Thriving, Not Just Surviving" on April 22, 2010 will showcase unique careers that are shaping the world of work for today and the future. Have you ever considered attending college? Starting your own business? Earning an income as an artist or musician? Do you know about customized employment or micro-enterprises? Do you know about work incentives for people with disabilities who have Medicaid coverage and receive Social Security benefits? Did you know you may qualify for job training, college tuition assistance, and job placement services through WV Division of Rehabilitation Services? You will have the opportunity to learn how you can do these things, as well as, meet and talk with others who have successfully reached these goals.

We are able to offer you two excellent keynote speakers, ten different information-packed breakout sessions, and one world class performance! Come explore assistive technology in a hands-on environment and discover how it can help you succeed in the workplace. Take a tour of the fine arts display, showcasing the diverse talents of artists with disabilities.

We invite you to join us in examining the many employment possibilities and helping to develop a dialogue among people with disabilities who are interested in working! Learn how you can enrich your life by planning and working towards a future that includes employment of your choice. Register now!

Clarice E. Hausch
Executive Director
West Virginia Advocates


April 22, 2010

10 A.M. to 4 P.M.

Registration and Continental Breakfast 9:00 A.M. - 10:00 A.M.
Introduction: Darrell McGraw 10:00 A.M. - 10:30 A.M.
Keynote Speaker: Kathleen Martinez 10:30 A.M. - 11:15 A.M.
First Breakout Session 11:15 A.M. - 12:00 P.M.
Lunch (provided) 12:00 P.M. - 12:45 P.M.
Performance by: the Dancing Wheels 12:45 P.M. - 1:30 P.M.
Keynote Speaker: Gary Guller 1:30 P.M. - 3:00 P.M.
Afternoon Break 3:00 P.M. - 3:15 P.M.
Second Breakout Session 3:15 P.M. - 4:00 P.M.


Stonewall Resort
940 Resort Drive
Roanoke, WV 26447

(888) 278-8150


Cost / Lodging

The training is free of charge to attend, and will include a continental breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon break. Materials for the training are also free.

Lodging for April 21st will cost $144 plus tax and includes dinner, parking, Internet access, and the use of resort equipment. Use group code 888003.

There are funds available to cover the cost of lodging, meals, and travel expenses for people with disabilities and their family members. To inquire about these funds please call us at (800) 950-5250 before March 15, 2010


Registration is full!. However, you may still signup for the wait list in case someone cancels.

Keynote Speakers

  • Kathleen Martinez

    Assistant Secretary
    Office of Disability Employment Policy
    Department of Labor

    Kathleen Martinez was nominated by President Barack Obama to be the third Assistant Secretary for Office of Disability Employment Policy. Ms. Martinez advises the Secretary of Labor and works with all DOL agencies to lead a comprehensive and coordinated national policy regarding the employment of people with disabilities. She was appointed Executive Director of the World Institute on Disability in 2005. In 2002, Ms. Martinez was appointed by President Bush as one of 15 members of the National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency advising the President and Congress on disability policy.

    Blind since birth, Ms. Martinez has a background as an internationally recognized disability rights leader specializing in employment, asset building, independent living, international development, diversity and gender issues.

  • Gary Guller

    Motivational Speaker, Film Producer, Adventurer & Mt. Everest Summiter

    Gary Guller is both a world-renowned, record-setting mountaineer and a professional motivational and inspirational speaker. In 2003, Gary was leader of the largest ever cross-disability group to reach Mt. Everest Base Camp, at 17,500 feet. After setting this record, he went on to scale the peak, reaching the summit on May 23, 2003, and becoming the fi rst person with one arm to summit Mt. Everest.

    Gary uses his extraordinary experiences to share with his audiences the importance of equality, determination, team-work and integrity, and how these traits lead to personal and professional success. An inspirational speaker, he encourages audiences to look deep into themselves, motivating them to set goals to maximizes their potential, placing fear and doubts aside to achieve success in business and life. His presentations, which are full of vivid images and real-life stories, inspire and connect with his audiences. He is active internationally advocating for the potential of all people, but especially those living with a disability.

Breakout Sessions

Sessions are available for both A.M. and P.M. except where noted.

  • Get in the Know!: Today's World of Work Incentives

    Are you a person who receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and wants to work? Find out more information about:

    • Overview of the current federal and state work incentives for people with disabilities
    • Understanding work options for individuals receiving SSI or SSDI
    • Jack Stewart
      Assistant Director / Program Manager
      Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG)
      West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities
    • Jennifer Tenney
      Program Manager
      Community Work Incentives
      West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities
  • Employment Rights

    • Civil rights of people with disabilities seeking employment
    • New provisions of the ADA Amendments Act
    • Expanded definition of disability, reasonable accommodation, disclosure options
    • Other issues in obtaining and retained employment
    • David Stewart
      ADA Coalition
  • WV Division of Rehabilitation Services

    • Overview of Vocational Rehabilitation Services
    • Applying for services
    • Eligibility
    • Developing an Individual Plan for Employment (IPE)
    • Appeal rights
    • Donna Ashworth
      Assistant Director
      WV Division of Rehabilitation Services
  • Starting Your Own Business

    Have you ever considered owning your own business and being your own boss? This session will provide you with:

    • Overview presentation of SBA's programs and services
    • Assistance for entrepreneurs at any stage of business: start-up, expansion, and success
    • Small business assistance programs and training offered by the SBDC
    • Consulting services
    • Business structure
    • The elements of a good business plan
    • Overview of copyrights, patents, and trademarks
    • Karen Friel
      Business Development Specialist
      U.S. Small Business Administration
    • Deana Keener
      Regional Center Manager
      Small Business Development Center
  • Preparing for College

    Do you see yourself as a college student? This session will give you information on:

    • Comprehensive transition planning that helps students move from high school to college to the workplace
    • Testing requirements and applying to schools
    • The ins and outs of financial aid and completing the FAFSA
    • Applying for grants, scholarships, and tuition assistance
    • How WV Division of Rehabilitation Services, high schools, and higher education institutions work together to prepare high school students for college or other job training
    • Paula Angiulli
      Certified Rehabilitation Counselor
      WV Division of Rehabilitation Services
    • Elizabeth Kantor-Bright
      Counselor & School-to-Work Transition Specialist
      Braxton County High School
  • Interviewing Tips
    (AM only)

    • Successful interview tactics
    • Disability disclosure during the interview process
    • Mock interviews
    • Resume building
    • Cathy Hutchinson
      Mountain State Centers for Independent Living
  • Supported Employment

    • Overview of supported employment
    • Find out how supported employment provides assistance such as job coaches, transportation, assistive technology, specialized job training, and individually tailored supervision
    • Self Advocacy
    • Jamie Lafferty
      Supported Employment Coordinator
      Open Doors, Inc.
    • Rhonda Helms
      Supported Employment Coordinator
      Open Doors, Inc.
    • Kevin Smith
      Self-Advocate Coordinator
      People First of WV
  • Resource Ownership: Using Customized Employment and Universal Economic Development Approaches to Solve the Employment Crisis in WV

    There are jobs everywhere! You will learn about:

    • Overview of customized employment
    • How to create a job in any employment market using customized employment and universal economic development approaches
    • Hear from one man who made it happen

    "Customized employment means individualizing the employment relationship between employees and employers in ways that meet the needs of both. It is based on an individualized determination of the strengths, needs, and interests of the person with a disability, and is also designed to meet the specifi c needs of the employer." - U.S. DOL, ODEP

    • Russell Sickles
      Community Economic Development Program
      Job Squad, Inc.
  • Instructional Workshop
    (PM only)

    Dancing Wheels presents an interactive assembly program that demonstrates physically integrated modern dance. Dance excerpts are interspersed with discussion about disability, communication, dance and diversity. Audience interaction and participation address issues of ability, a broader perception of diversity and dance. A question and answer period addresses issues of relating to people with disabilities. Students learn that people can communicate in a variety of ways.

    • Dancing Wheels Company & School, Cleveland, OH
  • Transition Planning

    • Transition Assessment
    • IEP Development for Transition Age Students
    • Age of Majority/Transfer of Rights
    • Linkages to Post School Options
    • Summary of Performance or Graduation
    • Hear of personal experience
    • Karen Ruddle
      Transition Coordinator
      WV Department of Education
    • Jeannie Elkins
      WV Developmental Disabilities Council


Exhibit Hall is open from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

  • WVU Center for Excellence in Disabilities (CED) Fine Arts Program (ROMPP)

    Take a tour of the fine arts display, showcasing the diverse talents of artists with disabilities

    • Helen Panzaroni
      WVU Center for Excellence in Disabilities
  • Assistive Technology

    • Todd Rundle
      WVU Center for Excellence in Disabilities
    • Terry Courts
      WV Division of Rehabilitation Services
  • College Fair

    Visit with various WV colleges, universities, and trade schools!

    • Bridgemont Community and Technical College
    • WV Junior College
    • Davis & Elkins College
    • Genville State College
    • Marshall Community and Technical College
    • and Others


  • Dancing Wheels Company, sample video

    Dancing Wheels is the first modern dance company to integrate professional stand-up and sitdown (wheelchair) dancers. Mary Verdi-Fletcher, President and Founding Artistic Director, a pioneer in the fi eld of integrated dance, started the company in 1980, and for more than a quarter of a century, Dancing Wheels has performed, taught and inspired children and adults of all abilities around the world. In the United States, the company presents more than 100 performances reaching audiences of 125,000 each year.

Fragrance Free

For the safety and comfort of those with chemical and environmental illnesses and sensitivities, please refrain from using any perfumed grooming products such as scented soaps & deodorants, perfumes, and colognes.

Photo/Media Disclaimer

Registrants agree to appear in photographs taken at the 2010 Employment Possibilities: Thriving, Not Just Surviving conference and understand that representatives of the news media may be present. Registrants understand that photos taken during the Conference may be used for news, publicity or general information purposes and may be seen by the general public.