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Session on

"Human Resource Management/Vocational Rehabilitation in Disability Employment"

Session Objectives: • To understand how vocational rehabilitation agencies assist individuals with disabilities in obtaining and maintaining employment. • To understand the roles and functions of HR personnel in supporting the hiring of and providing accommodations for individuals with disabilities. • To identify the types and potential costs of possible accommodations for employees with disabilities.

Session on

"Operational Considerations in Disability Employment"

Session Objectives: • To understand the role of operations in implementing accommodations. • To understand how collaborative opportunities can be maximized between operations, human resources management, and vocational rehabilitation. • To examine the opportunities for inclusion provided by “automation.”

Session on

"All In - Disability Employment, and Corporate Social Responsibility"

Session Objectives: • To discuss the market impact of employing individuals with disabilities and how businesses can best market the products and services produced by employees with disabilities. • To discuss the importance of doing disability employment well by setting your company up for sucess and avoiding missteps. • To explore the benefits of employing people with disabilities (for the company, community, and society).

August 17th - Thursday 

8:00 - 8:30am: Registration / Networking / Continental Breakfast

8:30 - 8:50am: Inauguration / Welcome / Announcements - Speakers

  • Master of Ceremony: Beth Hammond; Managing Director, Center of Ethical & Socially Responsible Leadership and Sarah George; Director of Mission Initiatives, Peckham Inc

  • Dean John Hollenbeck; Associate Dean for Research, Eli Broad College of Business

  • Dean Jerlando F.L. Jackson; Dean, College of Education

  • Lisa Webb Sharpe; Chief Operating Officer, Peckham Inc.

  • Jenny Piatt; Bureau Division Director, Michigan Rehabilitation Services

  • Sriram Narayanan - AOFOW Conference Design and Format

8:50 - 9:05am: Setting the Tone on Disability Employment and the Labor Market

  • Stephanie Beckhorn; Director, Employment & Training, Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity 

9:05 - 9:30am: CSAVR and Impact on Business Community; Sharing the VR Vision

  • Kathy West Evans - Director of Business Relations; National Employment Team

9:30am - 12:00pm: Session One - Human Resource Management / Vocational Rehabilitation in Disability Employment

  • Moderator: Connie Sung, Professor, Michigan State University

  • 9:35 - 10:50am: Panel Discussion

    • Ethan Idzior, Software Developer, Dell Computers

    • Robin Jones, Project Director, Great Lakes ADA Center

    • Lisa Webb Sharpe, Chief Operating Officer, Peckham Inc.

    • Melissa Samaan, Sr. HR Coordinator, CVS Health

  • 10:50 - 11:25am: Focus group discussion of participants in round tables

  • 11:25am - 12:00pm: Report in of discussion from each round table  

12:00 - 12:45pm: Lunch & Networking

12:45 - 1:30pm: Keynote - Unaddressed accessibility barriers and  new opportunities for addressing them.

  • Professor Gregg Vanderheiden; University of Maryland

1:30 - 4:15pm: Session Two - Operational Considerations in Employing Workforce with Disabilities

  • Moderator: Sriram Narayanan, Professor, Michigan State University

  • 1:35 - 2:50pm: Panel Discussion

    • John Katona, Human Factors Engineer, General Motors

    • Bill Krieger, Assistant Director of Veteran and Family Services, VFW National Home

    • Kristian Ridley, HR Benefits Administrator, Blue Cross Blue Shield

    • Wes Tyler, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, SourceAmerica

    • Jennifer Zuniga, Director, Michigan Career and Technical Institute 

  • 2:50 - 3:35pm: Focus group discussion of participants in round tables

  • 3:35 - 4:15pm: Report in of discussion from each round table 

4:15 - 4:30pm: Summary of Days Deliberations

  • Hung Jen Kuo, Michigan State University, Department of Counseling, Education Psychology and Special Education

  • Stacy Hickox, Michigan State University, Department of Human Resources & Labor Relations


5:00 - 7:00pm: Cocktail Reception (Complimented by a Keynote and Networking)

  • Keith Sonderling, Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunities Commission

  • Kevin Fritz, Employment Counsel, Gusto 

August 18th - Friday

8:30 - 9:15am: Continental Breakfast

9:15 - 11:35am: Session Three - All In - Disability Employment and Corporate Social Responsibility

  • Moderator: Stacy Hickox, Michigan State University, Department of Human Resources & Labor Relations

  • 9:15 - 10:30am: Panel Discussion

    • Jason Allen, Catastrophe Regional Manager/Diverse Abilities ERG Lead, AAA - Auto Club Group

    • Sam Bills, Director, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

    • Diana Domenech, Disability Inclusion Advocate, Disability:IN

    • Alison Sutton Levy, Director, Office of Technical & Information Services at U.S. Access Board

  • 10:30- 11:05am: Focus group discussion of participants in round tables

  • 11:05 - 11:35am: Report in of discussion from each round table 

11:35 - 11:45am: Break to Grab Boxed Lunches

11:45am - 12:30pm: Keynote Speakers

  • James Thurston, Digital Accessibility Lead, Atos 

  • James Reid, Employment & Labor Attorney

12:30 - 1:00pm: Closing Remarks 

  • Brian Calley, CEO, Small Business Administration of Michigan 

1:00 - 1:15pm: Summarizing the Conference Takeaways

  • Nacsha Ealy, Michigan Rehabilitation Services, Office of Labor and Employment Opportunity

  • Sriram Narayanan, Michigan State University, Department of Supply Chain Management

2:00 - 4:00pm: Optional Tour of the MSU Facilities for Rare Isotope Beams

Note: All sessions are in panel format, followed by a participant round table (that provides participants the opportunity to debate and discuss issues within a session, and a report out)

Conference team will produce a white paper that summarizes the deliberations.

MSU Facilities for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB)

This conference includes an optional tour of MSU Facilities for Rare Isotope Beams. Visit for additional information.

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