2020 KY APSE BOD Nominees

Information about each nominee is presented in alphabetical order. At the end of this list is a link to the ballot. Each Kentucky APSE member may vote one time. YOU MAY VOTE FOR UP TO SIX (6) PEOPLE.

If you do not know your membership number, please contact the APSE national office (info@apse.org) or KY APSE (kyapse@gmail.com). Only APSE members may vote in this election. If you do not have a valid membership number, your vote will not be counted. The ballot will be live for two weeks. It will close at 5:00 pm Eastern time on Wednesday, February 12th.

Each nominee was asked to submit a bio and answer the following questions:

  • How have you been involved/interested in integrated employment/supported employment?
  • How will you be able to contribute to the Kentucky chapter of APSE?

Lisa Carrico
I began working in Supported Employment in 1988 with Louisville Diversified Services. I have always felt that I was just in the right place at the right time with my career. When I had to move from Louisville to Madisonville, Green River Comprehensive Care Center offered me a chance to build upon their SE program. I stayed there until I moved back home to Western KY.

In 1994, I developed and coordinated the supported employment program at Easter Seals West KY. At this point I had not been exposed to sheltered employment, so you can imagine how I felt when I realized my office was right across a workshop that employed almost 100 individuals! Needless to say, we discontinued utilizing our 14C certificate within the first 5 years and moved everyone to a commensurate wage. In 2005, due to the success of the Supported Employment services, Easter Seals made the decision to completely close the sheltered workshop.

During my time at Easter Seals, I began a unique way to provide community based work transition services that was best suited for smooth transition from high schools in our area into supported employment. This took much collaboration between OVR, school systems and our team of employment specialists in order to make it effective.  The program model still exists at Easter Seals and continues to grow significantly.    

I moved into a position as the Vice President of Adult Services and stayed there until 2015. In this position, I had the opportunity to familiarize myself with all the participants that received services from Easter Seals and was able to train all the managers on the importance of employment and to incorporate into all of their programming.

For the past 4 years, I have been employed by UK/HDI as a Quality Administrator for Department for Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. In this role, I am able to provide technical assistance to agencies that provide SCL/MPW services with an emphasis on Supported Employment and Community Access trainings.    

How have you been involved/interested in integrated employment/supported employment?
As mentioned above, I have had the great opportunity of beginning SE services in areas for the first time. I have been able to witness, first hand, the benefits of what work can do for a person.   I am a true believer that everyone can and should have the opportunity to work in a community and  integrated setting.

How will you be able to contribute to the Kentucky chapter of APSE?I feel with me being on both sides of the fence as a provider and waiver regulating agency, I can truly educate providers on the benefits of supported employment for the individuals we serve, as well as, the agency. 

I have also been on the board multiple times over my career, the most recent being the last three years. During this time, I have been involved in conference planning and training committees.

Megan Coleman
I am currently the Executive Director at Independence Place, a Center for Independent Living in Lexington, KY. I have been with IPKY since August 2015, when I started as the first employment specialist on staff and developed the supported employment program. As an Ohio native, I graduated with my BSW from Miami University and then made the move to Kentucky where I earned my MSW from the University of Kentucky. I now live in Owensboro with my husband, a local business owner, my son, and dog, Nora.

How have you been involved/interested in integrated employment/supported employment?
I first became interested in integrated or supported employment while attending grad school in 2013. I completed my year-long internship with a waiver provider where I also worked as a DSP. During my practicum I was able to learn about the various supports available to individuals with disabilities such as respite care, adult day training, community living supports and supported employment. I had the privilege of having Katie Wolf Whaley as my supervisor where she taught me all about supported employment, the impact of the 14c certificates on individuals and families, and the opportunities so many people could have with competitive, integrated employment. During grad school I was able to attend trainings and research supported employment. This began my interest in equal opportunities for individuals and the benefit of individuals with disabilities being a part of the workforce. A year after graduation, I was approached by IPKY to develop a new program for the agency, supported employment. I jumped in with both feet to develop this program by being in the field and helping people find employment. I quickly learned the contributions that individuals with disabilities could give to the workforce and the benefits of working. As I have moved into different roles in my agency, I have never stopped providing employment supports because I believe they are important for our community. As an executive director, I am now responsible for one of our core services, advocacy. At this point in my career, I want to see competitive, integrated employment become the norm in our state.

How will you be able to contribute to the Kentucky chapter of APSE?
I believe that I can contribute many things to the Kentucky chapter of APSE. First, because I work at a CIL I view things in our field and in general through the lens of the Independent Living Philosophy. This is the idea that people with disabilities are the experts on their own needs, have valuable perspectives to contribute and are deserving of equal opportunities to decide how to live, work and participate in their communities, specifically in reference to services that powerfully affect their day to day lives and access to independence (NCIL.org). This also includes consumer control, meaning that individuals with disabilities should be making their own decisions about their goals, services, and community participation. I also think that it is a benefit that I am still providing services to individuals seeking employment. These two things give me a unique perspective as both an employment specialist and someone advocating for independent living on a daily basis.

Sharon Darnell
First, I would like to say my proudest accomplishment in life is our son, Marshall.  My husband, Nolan, and I have been married for 41 Years and our son will be 30 in January.

I am the current Chair of NAMI Buffalo Trace Affiliate, located in Maysville, KY.  Our area encompasses the counties of Mason, Bracken, Fleming, Robertson, and Lewis counties.  After I experienced depression first hand I found NAMI in 2005, and have been an active member since then.  Experiencing a mental disorder and climbing out of the darkness, my goal was to help at least one person see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I have been trained in many NAMI Signature Programs:  In Our Own Voice, Family Support Group, Ending the Silence Coordinator, NAMI SMARTS Advocacy Program, and have received the NAMI KY Lifetime Achievement Award.

My career was banking.  I went to work at age seventeen, right out of high school, at the Bank of Maysville and spent my working days there.  These were days where you could learn on the job, which I did and retired as a Vice President and Trust Officer.  After retirement I thought maybe I should go to college and enrolled at our local Maysville Community and Technical College.  The younger students thought I was one of them, so these were enjoyable times!  Naturally, being older and a volunteer at heart I found myself involved in student activities, etc.  I was a Student Ambassador, President of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, Secretary of the Veterans Organization, and help organize the first NAMI on Campus at a KY Community College.

Since this is supposed to be a “short bio” about myself, I will say I enjoy learning and volunteering for worthy causes.  Volunteering for the purpose of helping others is most worthwhile and meaningful to me.  This is probably why many describe me as a “people person”.

How have you been involved/interested in integrated employment/supported employment?
As the Buffalo Trace region’s Community Mental Health Center, Comprehend, Inc., was one of only four locations in KY to be awarded a grant from Johnson & Johnson to offer Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Supported Employment Program to this area NAMI Buffalo Trace Affiliate was recognized as being a strong advocate for IPS.  I volunteered to be our NAMI IPS Family Advocate and was trained at Dartmouth University in New Hampshire along with other volunteers from the three other sites in KY which were chosen.  I am now the NAMI KY Family IPS Advocate Contact, recruiting others across the NAMI KY Affiliate maps to advocate for their respective CMHC Supported Employment Program.

As a NAMI Family IPS Family Advocate, I promote the Supported Employment Program through community awareness and education about the program to end the stigma; educate clients and family members about NAMI; encourage NAMI members to become a Family Advocate; invite IPS Employees to speak at NAMI meetings; provide IPS handouts at NAMI displays; work with IPS Supervisors to write news articles for local newspapers; participate with local Chamber of Commerce, meet with IPS Supervisors and Employees to discuss how to better collaborate & educate IPS Staff about NAMI; and always include IPS publically for greater acceptance.
How will you be able to contribute to the Kentucky chapter of APSE?
I am now serving on the KY Behavioral Health Planning and Advisory Council, which has broadened my knowledge of our State’s programs and financial grants.  This could be a contribution to the KY APSE Chapter.  Diversity should be welcome in any organization.  While my diversity might be of age and lived experience, I have witnessed the importance of work contributing to the recovery and wellbeing of anyone with any disability.  Acquiring knowledge about our KY APSE Chapter increases my interest of becoming involved, which in turn I am sure would inspire my volunteering for same.

Kimberly Holsclaw
I recently moved into the role of Supported Employment Consultant with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.  I have been with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation officially since July of 2013.  I begin my career here as a practicum and internship student in 2012.  My educational background consists of a Bachelors of Arts Degree from Georgetown College in 2010, majoring in Psychology and Sociology.  A Masters of Rehabilitation from University of Kentucky in 2013.

Since childhood, I have always had a passion for working with individuals with disabilities.  In one of my first experiences, I was selected as student aid for the Special Education department when I was in the sixth grade.  With this responsibility, I was paired with girl named Crystal.  At the time, I did not understand disabilities, advocates, or accommodations.  However, I did understand that Crystal needed her wheelchair to travel independently and we needed to ensure that where we went was assessable.  I also understood that she needed her talk-board to communicate, make jokes with me, and have great middle school girl conversations. Lastly, I understood that she deserved all the experience I was able to have in life and that Crystal was a person just like me. Becoming her friend was one of the best experiences I have ever had.  We both grew to be better people just knowing each other. 

While meeting Crystal was a great first experience for me, I became comfortable in the world of disability.  This career path was natural for me. I have had the opportunity at Georgetown College to discover opportunities for my future, and as I look for graduate school programs, the idea of helping others through the role as Vocational Counselor was a great fit for me.  As I entered into the field of Rehabilitation Counseling, I discovered the absolute life goal I had been searching for; working in combination with wonderful OVR Counselors and amazing Providers, has allowed me to see the success of partnership and dedication.  I love working as part of team to see the successful in both quality of life and vocationally for our Consumers.

How have you been involved/interested in integrated employment/supported employment?
Since my start, Supported Employment has been my favorite part of the employment process.  Watching my Consumers become job ready and finding successful employment is seeing all the hard work come together.  Even more, when our Consumers become financially and personally more independent, we know that we are meeting our expectations! I developed wonderful relationships with my direct providers as a Counselor. I worked closely having face-to-face groups meetings, monthly communication, and many field trips going out with the Employment Specialists and learning what they doing.  I have much respect for the provider world, and the dedicated ES who work daily with our Consumers.  As a Counselor, I loved being able to go out and see the actual job coaching being done and the feel the experiences of the Consumers. Now, as part of the CRP branch, I learn more about the importance of integrated employment and that our Consumers deserve to have competitive wages and equal choices in a fully competitive work site.  It is crucial to listen to the Consumers choices vocationally, and to work hard to make their goals become part of their employment site.  Collaboration of the entire team (OVR, ES, Consumer) makes these successful and integrated placements possible.  I have attended the APSE conference over the years striving to learn more our the Supported Employment process and how this service can greatly affect our Consumers lives.  I will continue seeking knowledge and skill in the world of supported and integrated employment, and I look forward to what the future holds!

How will you be able to contribute to the Kentucky chapter of APSE? If I am elected to the Board of APSE, I will work hard to promote Employment First and our statewide providers seeking this employment sites for the Consumers daily.  I will make it a priority to learn the most current news, training recommendations, and regulations to better implement them into action.  I will make it a priority to learn what training needs of the Providers and OVR staff are, and prioritize these needs in trainings.  I want our Consumers, Providers, and OVR staff to have the best information moving forward with their services.  Most importantly, my goal is to be a servant for the cause.  I plan to be present and available when needed.
Thank you for your consideration!

Melissa Parchman
I began as an advocate many years ago for 2 of my uncles who had disabilities, which eventually led me to working as an Employment Specialist at Employment Connections/Easter Seals West KY.  Along the way, I was coordinator for the SCSEP program which assisted individuals age 55 or older who were below the poverty level to assist them with job training and job placement, to which eventually led me to my employment as an employment specialist in 2008.  In April of 2016, I became manager of the employment team.  I have received BIN certification, completed the MG&A training for the extended PCEP, became part of the work team, led by Lisa Carrico, and participating in the partners meetings led by Ashley Taylor.  I believe that anyone/everyone can work if given the opportunity; I would love to continue serving on the Board of KY APSE.

How have you been involved/interested in integrated employment/supported employment?
I have worked as an Employment Specialist for 11 years.  In April 2016, I became manager of the employment team for employment Connections/Easter Seals West Kentucky.  I work with individuals in the SE, E&R, CWTP and Pre-Ets, which means I have experience working with people ranging in age of 14-75.   I have developed relationships with employers, families and the individuals that we serve.  I completed the BIN training so that I could help them better understand what would happen to their benefits if/when they began working.  I became part of the work team so that I could help to educate employers about the individuals that we serve and what the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities could be for them as well.  In my role as an ES, I have assisted individuals with job readiness skills (interview skills, application assistance, hygiene, proper clothing. Etc.)   job placement/job carving, job training, assistance with housing, transportation, reporting wages and helping to remove any barriers they may have that effect employment.  In my role as a manager, I oversee the operation of the employment program and assist my team to become the best that they can and that they stay educated on the proper practices of employment.

How I plan to contribute to the Board of Kentucky APSE
I will be available to attend any and all meetings either in person, by phone or through ZOOM.  I will assist with planning and execution of the conference or any way that I am needed.  I am excited to participate and meet new people by joining committees and assisting with making Employment First for individuals and to continue helping to educate others. I have spoken to our legislators in Frankfort to assist others in advocating this movement. I am organized, can multitask; I can work independently as well as on a team with a diverse group of individuals.  During my 3 years on the APSE board, I have contributed in many ways, but there is always room for improvement. 

Kari Skaggs

I started with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in October of 2013 as an Administrative Specialist for the Community Rehabilitation Program and Community Work Transitions Program. Seven months ago, I was promoted to a Resource Management Analyst. Prior to working at OVR, I worked in the private sector since I was 16 in office administration, employment services, and manufacturing. My husband, Allen, and I have been married for 16 years. We have a 15 year old daughter, Jillian, and a 5 year old son, Elliott. In my spare time, I enjoy running, reading, and spending time with my family. My husband and I coach our children’s sports which include softball, t-ball, and flag football.   

How have you been involved/interested in integrated employment/supported employment?
I first learned about Supported Employment when I began working for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. I believe that everyone has the right to meaningful employment at a real wage. At the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, one on my primary responsibilities was to provide assistance to the CRP providers. I also assist in planning the annual IPS Conference.

How will you be able to contribute to the Kentucky chapter of APSE?I have attended the Kentucky APSE Conference every year since I began at OVR. Every year, I am amazed at the wonderful things going on in this state and in our country. I would love to become more involved by serving on the Kentucky APSE Board. I believe my enthusiasm, work ethic, and organizations skills will be an asset to help the Kentucky Chapter of APSE continue with their mission.

Amber Vence
Amber Vence serves as the Program Director for Finck Supported Living Services of Kentucky. She has worked in the ID/DD field for 10 years as a Direct Support Professional, Community Access Specialist, Supported Employment Specialist and currently as Program Director. Amber is a dedicated advocate who believes that self-determination, individual contributions and community inclusion are essential parts of person-centered supports. Amber is a Certified Employment Support Professional through APSE and continues to advocate for access to inclusive community employment for everyone who wishes to work. 

How have you been involved/interested in integrated employment/supported employment?
I have been involved with integrated and supported employment in many capacities. First and foremost, as an advocate. Then in a professional role as a Supported Employment Specialist and currently as a Program Director over Supported Employment. I have attended two national conferences and have been a presenter at the Kentucky APSE conference.

How will you be able to contribute to the Kentucky chapter of APSE?
I have consistently shown that even when I have not been serving on the board that I am always willing to help APSE in any way I can. I am dedicated to the mission of APSE and I am very familiar with the conference as both a presenter and an attendee. My commitment to inclusive integrated employment is extensive and will only grow with my tenure on the board.

Ericha Winters
Advocacy and Inclusion for people with disabilities has been part of my personal and professional life for as long as I can remember. Growing up with a sister with a disability opened my eyes to the lack of services and inclusion in our state. Since a very young age I have fought to educate my peers and advocate for community inclusion for people living with disabilities. Supporting my sister and advocating for her rights and happiness has been and will always be a vital part of my life.

My professional work began while attending U of L earning a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While attending U of L I worked at the Disability Resource Center promoting an inclusive campus and assisting with access to educational services. In 2004 I began my career in the mental health field by working for Wellspring in Louisville KY, a non-profit agency promoting mental health recovery. It was at Wellspring where I found my passion, supporting those facing the challenges and stigma of severe mental illness.

For the past 15 years, at Wellspring I have worked passionately as part of a team to educate the community about recovery, reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness, advocate for community inclusion, and break down barriers to housing and employment. I have had the pleasure to work with clients receiving services through Wellspring’s transitional residential programs, supported housing programs, and IPS supported employment programs.

My career in mental health began and is still going strong in the Wellspring community. I have worked as a Program Coordinator, Case Manager, and helped launch and sustain our IPS supported employment program, Wellspring Works. We’ve met many challenges and barriers head on, working to educate the community and advocate for inclusive and competitive employment opportunities for people living with severe mental illness. We have also had the pleasure to network with many other organizations, IPS programs, OVR counselors, and employers in Louisville and across the state. Learning about and joining KY APSE has been one of the most beneficial relationships I’ve formed. It has been a joy working alongside others who share the same passions and visions as we work toward a more compassionate and inclusive community. Having served one term on the KY APSE board has been an invaluable experience and I would honored to serve another term if re-elected.

How have you been involved/interested in integrated employment/supported employment?
I have worked for Wellspring for 15 years, most recently during the past four years I have worked to implement and sustain our IPS supported employment program, Wellspring Works. We’ve built a program that has helped clients discover meaning and purpose through employment. We have worked diligently to develop community connections with organizations and employers. We’ve met many challenges and barriers head on, working to educate the community and advocate for inclusive and competitive employment opportunities for people living with severe mental illness. I am dedicated to promoting mental health recovery and I believe that recovery and employment go hand in hand.  

How will you be able to contribute to the Kentucky chapter of APSE?
I have 15 years of experience working directly with people living with a severe mental illness and I bring a level of compassion and understanding of the challenges and stigma faced by so many.  As a KY APSE board member I will work diligently, collaborating with my fellow board members to promote employment first principles, practices, and policies throughout our communities and state. I love being part of a team, especially a team who shares the same passions and visions of spreading compassion and promoting inclusivity in our world.


Please vote by clicking here.
The link to the election will be open for two (2) weeks. It will close at 5:00 pm Eastern on Wednesday, February 12th.