KY APSE 2023: Session Descriptions

Kentucky APSE Conference 2023: Full Agenda 

Find information about all of the presenters by clicking here.

All resources presenters offered to share can be found here 

Thursday May 11th
1:00 Welcome & Opening Session
The Barn

Employment First: Advancing Equal Employment Opportunities and Creating Inclusive Workplaces Now and In the Future
Julie Christensen, Executive Director APSE

Employment First is the presumption that all working age adults and youth with disabilities can, and should, be working side-by-side with co-workers without disabilities, earning minimum wage or higher. Or, to put it another way, Employment First, means that employment in the general workforce should be the first and preferred option for individuals with disabilities receiving assistance from publicly funded systems. Simply put, Employment First means real jobs, real wages.

Employment First is values proposition which drives a movement. It’s also a platform for public policy. There is no secret recipe to achieve the outcomes we are looking for, but there are several key concepts that are critical to success. In this session, we will identify the prevailing and emerging issues we need to be paying attention to. Additionally, we will talk about how to keep the movement going, particularly within the context of the current fiscal and political climate.

3:15 – 4:30 Sessions:

BARN room at 3:15
Building Your Network
Amanda Owen & Kitty Jones, Puzzle Pieces/Employment Opportunities

Partnerships with the business and professional community are vital to your organization’s supported employment success. In this session, you will learn how to network effectively to drive job development and target vocational services for supported employment clients. Discover how our supported employment team has built a powerful network of hundreds of businesses that have helped advance supported employment in our community.

Barrell room at 3:15
Gender & Sexual Diversity: Embracing Diversity and Enhancing Inclusion
Beck Whipple, Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities

Thank you for taking the time to learn about gender and sexual diversity and taking the first step toward becoming inclusive and affirming in your practice (and beyond!) Learning about gender and sexual diversity is the first step in becoming an affirming ally. You are taking that step today and can continue in this educational journey through use of the resources and suggestions included in this presentation and toolkit.

ROCKBRIDGE room at 3:15
How to Support ME: the layers we miss of “job ready”
Donna Carpenter & Corinne Miller, Kentucky DeafBlind Project
Dissect the life of Alex with us – a DeafBlind young adult nearing graduation and navigating the journey to employment. First meeting Alex you think this is going to be easy! – he’ll get a job easy and be right on his way to that happy life.  Then, the more we work with Alex, we see all the concepts and skills that still need developed and we learn how to support him and those working with him. During this time together we’ll discuss all the layers that we can easily miss about an individual when we think they’re “job ready”.

STILL room at 3:15
*Codes of Ethics and Multicultural Considerations
Dr. Andrea Hampton Hall and Dr. Si-Yi Chao, University of Kentucky

This session aims to provide rehabilitation counselors and service providers with the principles of ethics and the updated codes of ethics adopted by Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) in January 2023. Additionally, multicultural considerations have been addressed throughout the codes of ethics (Cartwright & Fleming, 2010; Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification, 2022). It is essential for rehabilitation counselors and service providers to be aware of and apply ethical and culturally responsive practices during the supported employment service provision for people with disabilities from diverse cultural backgrounds. Finally, several case studies will be discussed to facilitate ethical decision making and resolve ethical dilemmas with multicultural competencies.   
*This session pre-approved for 1.25 hour of Ethics credit for CRCC

5:30 – 7:30 Meet & Greet in the Still Room 
Drop in for networking, relaxing, appetizers, and a cash bar!

Friday May 12th

8:30 – 9:45 Sessions:

BARN room at 8:30
Final Rule, Employment and Medicaid Waivers
Elizabeth Kries with Q&A: Jeff White, Lisa Carrico, India Hammond & Carolyn Wheeler, Division of Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities

This session will talk about employment as a tool in meeting the HCBS Final Rule. Why? Because Final Rule, and our services in general, are intended to help people build good lives. Lives filled with choices, opportunities, fun, joy, good health and peace. In order to have true choices, people need to know what opportunities are available to them and employment should be one of those opportunities. Kentucky is an Employment First state, which means employment is the first and primary option for service if someone desires to become employed.  We will talk about what providing supported employment looks like, how it works and how you can offer this option to better support people in lives of their own choosing.

BARRELL room at 8:30
ADA & Substance Abuse
Barry Whaley, Southeast ADA Center

The pandemic has led to sharp increases in alcohol and substance abuse in the U.S. and an increase in behavioral health disorders. More than 70% of individuals with alcohol or drug use continue to maintain employment. Over 22 million Americans are currently in recovery from alcohol and other drug use disorders. Individuals in recovery are often unaware of their civil rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA ensures that people with disabilities, including those with alcohol use disorder and substance use disorders, have the same rights and opportunities in the workplace. This session will discuss how the ADA applies to addiction in three phases of employment: pre-offer, post-offer, and employment and use scenarios to apply the ADA as it relates to alcohol, opioids, cocaine, and marijuana.

ROCKBRIDGE room at 8:30 
HKNC: Working with DeafBlind Job Seekers
Robert McLendon, Helen Keller National Center
An overview of working with DeafBlind job seekers with complex needs will be reviewed for participants, showing different communication strategies including communication cards and tactile calendar systems. Also presented will be videos showing novel job opportunities, as part of the Discovery process. A strong emphasis will be on the importance of building relationships and partnerships between the Helen Keller National Center, the state, and other agencies for assisting DeafBlind job seekers with long-term, meaningful, successful outcomes.


STILL room at 8:30 
Job Analysis
Michele Laur, UK – Human Development Institute/KY RETAIN

Conducting a job analysis provides a comprehensive approach to incorporating the physical, psychosocial, and cognitive demands of a job.  They can be used as a tool for employers to recruit, onboard, and retain workers and for work support professionals to match consumers to positions.  Job analysis will identify environmental considerations in the workplace impacting individuals like noise, lighting, extreme temperatures, and fumes. Environmental conditions are necessary for identifying if an individual can perform the essential functions of a job and allow them to make an informed decision about accepting a position or returning to work following an illness or injury. 

10:00 – 11:15 Sessions:

BARN room at 10:00
The Journey: Empowering Abilities
Ivan Garr, Wellspring

Ivan will share his life’s journey of living with disabilities and how he developed resiliency and determination to overcome stigma, discrimination, and limitations. He will share his journey of assisted self-discovery through the support of community partnerships and IPS Supported Employment as he discovered his values, strengths, abilities, and passions to be a productive member of the community. 

BARRELL room at 10:00
Communication and Social Skills for Neurotypical Colleagues
Bev Harp, UK – Human Development Institute/Innovative Supports for Autistic Workers

Most everyone agrees that communication is a two-way street. Yet, whenever there is a misunderstanding, it is  the autistic employee who is expected to learn better social skills and communicate more like neurotypical (NT) colleagues. Efforts to mask (pass as NT) can drain workers of energy needed for workplace activities. It is past time to stop placing the responsibility for communication misfits solely on the autistic person. This presentation will explore some key differences between autistic and non-autistic communication and will offer guidance on more equitable communication standards. 

ROCKBRIDGE room at 10:00
Plain Language Please – Resources To Support Your Best Work
Carolyn Wheeler, UK – Human Development Institute/Supported Employment Training Project

While PCEP, Career Profile, Discovery, Systematic Instruction, Job Development, Job Acquisition, Long Term Supports (what did I forget?) may have meaning for those of us who work in this arena, the terms can be VERY confusing for people who don’t.  This session will share information about a set of FREE resources that can launch meaningful conversations about employment using words that don’t require letters after a person’s name to understand.  Curious?  Check out    Come prepared to interact with these materials on behalf of yourself, a family member, job seeker, etc.  (Materials will be provided but bring something to write with!)

STILL room at 10:00
Investing in Supported Employment Team Structure
Amanda Owen, Puzzle Piece
The success of supported employment begins with an investment in your team. In this session you will learn strategies to help you build a cohesive team of employment specialists, using a top down approach and ensuring your passion and purpose are at your foundation. Discover how our supported employment division has become an example of success in our community and state.

11:30 – 12:45 Awards Luncheon in the Barn

1:00 – 2:15 Sessions

BARN room at 1:00
The enhancement of Supported Employment through the use of Pre-Vocational Services
Ashley Taylor and Trista Adwell, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

This session will identify ways that prevocational services can strengthen the Person-Centered Job Selection process and reinforce the PCEP and/or Career Profile.  We will also address ways that Pre-Vocational services can be used throughout the SE process and lead to successful outcomes.  This presentation will give perspectives of a past provider and OVR counselor. The presentation will include real life examples and scenarios as to when these services could and should be used. 

BARRELL room at 1:00
Breathing Life into APSE’s Ethical Guidelines for Professionals in Supported Employment
Julie Christensen, APSE

What does it mean to act ethically within the context of providing supported employment services? During this interactive session, participants will review APSE’s Ethical Guidelines within the context of new and emerging challenges in the field. Using real life examples, we’ll identify strategies to adapt to a changing world while remaining true to our professional responsibilities.

ROCKBRIDGE room at 1:00 – Better Than Sliced Bread!
Carolyn Wheeler, UK – Human Development Institute/Supported Employment Training Project

By the end of this session, participants should be able to say with confidence this website is the “best/greatest thing since sliced bread!” as it is so helpful.   With just a few clicks,, brings immediate factual information to your smart phone, tablet or computer to boost your confidence in talking and sharing information about this important topic.  Your smart phone is required for this session as you will let your “fingers do the walking” on the website which is mobile friendly.   Working in small groups, scenarios will be shared where the answers can be found on the website.  

STILL room at 1:00
Sometimes it gets Squirrely – Retention and Sustainability
Sheila Runyon

Retention, Sustainability, and Growth.  Moving through the process to keep Supported Employment going within the organization and community. 

2:30 – 4:00 Closing Session in the Barn

Who Are the Heroes?
Barry Whaley, Southeast ADA Center

This presentation will explore key moments and personalities of the disability rights movement over the past one hundred years.  Participants will learn about our heroes who, through their courage and conviction, fought for equality and laid the foundation of the four “pillars” of the ADA, full participation, independent living, equality of opportunity, and economic self-sufficiency. As a new generation of Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Support professionals enter the field, many are unaware of the histories and heroes of the disability rights movement who came before us.  For our seasoned professionals, this session will remind us, as David McCullough wrote, of where we have come from, what we have been through, the courage shown, the costs paid, to be where we are.

Door prizes will be given out just before 4:00; you must be present to win.