The Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD) 2016 Disability Summit on Employment was held on Friday, September 16, 2016 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.
The morning opened with welcoming remarks and introductions by David D’Arcangelo, Director of MOD, who served as the event emcee. David also gave a presentation of MOD’s “Year in Review,” sharing new initiatives, programs, and activities since the previous year’s Summit. David also announced that in the last year, MOD staff have delivered 76 trainings reaching 2,053 people, conducted 196 public awareness activities reaching 5,117 people, and handled 3,446 intakes in MOD’s Client Services Unit.
Marylou Sudders, Secretary of the Executive Office of Health & Human Services, gave insightful remarks on the Commonwealth’s commitment to employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Keynote speakers, Dahlia Shaewitz, Managing Researcher and Practice Area Director and Dr. Michelle Yin, Senior Researcher, from American Institutes for Research in Washington, D.C. delivered their presentation The New Workforce: A Look at Policy and Employment for People with Disabilities. The speakers noted that numerous federal policies and a recovering economy have not improved employment rates for people with disabilities and presented their recent studies on employment outcomes for persons with disabilities by prevalence type and the income disparities between employees with and without disabilities.
Following a brief intermission, guests enjoyed a live musical performance by John Ellis, MOD staff member, and Stephanie Schmidt, Clinical Program Director at Vinfen’s Gateway Arts program.
Elin Howe, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services and Nicky Osborne, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission gave remarks on the importance of public-private collaborations in creating employment opportunities for persons with disabilities in the Commonwealth.
The program also featured a panel discussion on employer best practices for recruiting, hiring, and retaining employees who have disabilities. Moderated by Kathy Petkauskos, Director of Work Without Limits at UMass Medical School, the panel included representatives from top Massachusetts employers: Richard W. Curtis, Vice President of Workforce Development at State Street; Laura Stout, Director of Contract Operations at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts; Rick Laferriere, Lead Manager, Workforce Initiatives at CVS Health; Colleen Moran, Director of Workforce & Volunteer Programs for Spaulding Rehabilitation Network; and Leo Vercollone, President of VERC Enterprises.
The Summit concluded with the presentation of the Thomas P. Hopkins Disability Access Award Presentation to Mary Margaret Moore, Executive Director of the Independent Living Center of the North Shore and Cape Ann. David D’Arcangelo spoke about Mary Margaret’s decades of tireless advocacy for equal access for persons with disabilities, seniors, and the LGBTQ community. Mary Margaret accepted the award with a touching and inspiring speech. Senator Joan Lovely of the Second Essex district also expressed her appreciation of Mary Margaret’s work and presented her with a citation from the Massachusetts State Senate.
Guests went home with a copy of MOD’s newest publication, Disability Employment Information Guide, which is now available for download here file size 2MB. The program booklet for the event can be found here . Speaker Bio's can be found here .
Overall, Summit 2016 was a success and aligned with MOD’s mission “to ensure the full and equal participation of all people with disabilities in all aspects of life by working to advance legal rights, maximum opportunities, supportive services, accommodations and accessibility in a manner that fosters dignity and self determination.” The event had an excellent turnout with over 425 opinion leaders, professionals, and advocates representing the disability community in attendance. We are confident that summit guests will continue the important conversation around employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. MOD is thankful to all who assisted with the planning and execution of the Summit, and to everyone who attended. Your support means a great deal to our staff.
2016 Summit Planning Committee
David D’Arcangelo, Director, MOD;
Rita DiNunzio, ADA Training Manager, MOD;
Michael Dumont, Assistant Director Administration and Finance, MOD;
Iris Umana, Administrative Support Coordinator, MOD;
Jeffrey Dougan, Assistant Director of Community Services, MOD;
Kathy Petkauskos, Director, Work Without Limits;
Oce Harrison, Project Director, New England ADA Center;
Kristen McCosh, Commissioner, Boston Mayor’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities;
Deirdre Hosler, Deputy General Counsel, Department of Public Safety
Nicky Osborne, Commissioner, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
Michael Stepansky, Dir. of Employment, Department of Mental Health
Summit 2016 is supported by the New England ADA Center to which MOD is the State Affiliate.
Thanks to our Partners: