Maine APSE and State Department of Labor to Host Conference Featuring National Experts Bookmark and Share

May 22, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 22, 2014 CONTACT: Julie Rabinowitz 621-5009

Event focuses on employment and career advancement for people with disabilities

AUGUSTA—The Maine Department of Labor’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services is again collaborating with Maine APSE and the New England Technical Assistance Center (NETACE) on its biannual conference. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Partnerships.” APSE is the state chapter of a national organization with an exclusive focus on integrated employment and career advancement opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

“Maine’s workforce needs to be inclusive of all our citizens,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “The Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services have made it a priority to help people realize their full potential by looking at what they can do instead of what they can’t. Everyone has something to contribute to our workforce, and everyone—workers, employers and communities—benefits from the positive relationships generated by working toward a career and having a job.”

The conference will be held at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, on June 11, 2014, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost for APSE members is $25 and for non-APSE members is $35. To register, visit http://www.syntiro.org/index.php/events/242-2014-apse-conference-celebrating-partnerships .

Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette and Gail Fanjoy, president of Maine APSE, will welcome participants to the conference. The opening plenary session, “The Future of Vocational Rehabilitation,” will be presented by Janet LaBreck, commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Education. Although Commissioner LaBreck lost her vision by the age of ten, she has never let her disability get in the way of her dreams. She is a strong proponent of collaboration among partner agencies so that people with disabilities have the supports they need to allow them to live and work within their communities.

The featured keynote address, “Prison to Paycheck: Community Release, Employment Re-Entry and Impacted Recidivism for Offenders with Disabilities,” will be made by Gordon Swensen and Randall Loss. Swensen is the director of statewide strategic alliances for the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation in Salt Lake City. Loss is an offender workforce development specialist and offender employment retention specialist with 20 years in employment services and is currently a vocational rehabilitation specialist with the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. He is the agency liaison with Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections, Board of Probation and Parole, and Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.

The Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) works to bring about full access to employment, independence and community integration for people with disabilities. Maine job seekers with disabilities are encouraged to access Maine’s network of CareerCenters, as well as the Bureau of Rehabilitation services at http://www.maine.gov/rehab/index.shtml . In general, people are eligible for services if they have a significant impairment that impedes their ability to work and if they require vocational rehabilitation services to attain or maintain employment. Additional information may be found by visiting http://www.employmentforme.org .

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