Announcing the Fall Session of...

The 20th Employment Supports Symposium

Connecting Talent to Opportunities!


PhilaOnTheJob logo - connecting talent to opportunity

Fall Symposium

Spring Symposium
Line-Up Coming Soon!

Fall Symposium Events At-A-Glance

Inspiring Mindful Creativity

Jim Donovan

~ Jim Donovan, Sun King Warriors ~

"A Rally Cry: Employment For All!"

Photo of Laura Owens

~ Laura Owens, PhD, TransCen, Inc. ~


"Full Accessibility & Inclusion in the Workplace"

AJ Nanayakkara

~ A. J. Nanayakkara ~
Johns Hopkins Health System


To receive credit for attendance and to also receive your certificate of attendance for each session, you MUST name / identify yourself accordingly when using the ZOOM platform. Those using the phone to login can ask the moderator for assistance doing so. Those who attend, but do not do as requested above will not receive training hour credits and associated certificate.

Symposium Kick-Off!

October 1, 2020

Employment First Stakeholder Event (10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)
Opening With: Jim Donovan (Sun King Warriors)
Keynote: A Rally Cry for Employment for All! - Laura Owens, PhD (TransCen, Inc.)

Description:  What determines whether a movement will be a “flash in the pan” or a real catalyst for long term change? For example, why did Occupy Wall Street diminish in a matter of months, while the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights Movements continue (even resulting in landmark legislation)? The success of any movement requires agitators, innovators and orchestrators.  This presentation will review where we have been, where we are, where we have yet to go and how to get there. As Dr. Martin Luther King said, “We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now…This is a time for vigorous and positive action.” This is our time! We cannot be complacent, this is a time of action. We have a great opportunity before us to ensure that disability is no longer to be viewed as a barrier to employment!

Join us as we kick off the Employment Support Symposium a bit differently this year with our annual Employment First Stakeholder Event.  Jim Donovan of Sun King Warriors will start us off with an energizing opener.  Our opening keynote, Laura Owens, Executive Director of TransCen, will share on, “A Rally Cry for Employment For All”!   Each Philadelphia Employment First Workgroup will share current outcomes and projected plans for the next year.  Don’t miss this event to learn about what is happening around Employment First in Philadelphia and how you can be part of efforts to move employment forward!

October Symposium Offerings

10/6/2020      State of the State Panel (10:00 – 11:30 a.m.)
Panelists: Charlotte Brickhouse, PhD (School District of Philadelphia), Shari Brightful (Philadelphia OVR), Laura Cipriani (PA ODP), Kathy Fogel (Philadelphia OVR - BVRS), & Mary Anderson Hartley (446 Bridges)

Description:  No one will dispute, this has been one rough year!  The system we work within has been challenged in ways like never before.  Join us for a discussion where our panelists share updates on services and supports on both a state and city level.   

10/7/2020    How to Tell Stories That Open Hearts and Change the World  (1:00 – 2:30 p.m.)
Leah Lamb, Transformational Storyteller

Description:  Storytelling opens our minds to possibilities. It is an art that can be incredibly transformative.  Storytelling is also very personal and full of meaning, inspiration and awe for both ourselves as well as our listeners.  Are you ready to go beyond using formats and templates in writing and sharing stories and learn how to reach the place where authenticity and magic reside within us all as we walk a storytelling journey?  Do you want to learn how to activate your create spark and engage and command the presence and listening of your audience?  Join this session and plan to not only look inward, but also leave with creative tools and techniques that will make a difference as you share stories.

October 7, 2020
*** October Special Event ***
Fall Music Fest!! (6:00 – 8:00 p.m.)

Description: Join us for an evening spotlight with artists from a variety of genres (music, writing, and more). This event is free for all, but REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED.

10/8/2020      Facilitated Brainstorming & Graphic Facilitation (2:00 – 3:30 p.m.)
Allison Smale (KenCrest Services)

Description:  The human services field is bursting with opportunities to collaborate with internal and external partners, but how do you bring people together in positive, effective, and creative ways; ensuring full participation and buy-in? This interactive session will focus on how to utilize Facilitated Brainstorming and Graphic Facilitation in meetings and as planning tools, while supporting successful employment outcomes  You will have the opportunity to participate in a live facilitated brainstorming session and practice skills using these tools on your side of the virtual session screen. We encourage you to have some blank paper or a sketch pad on hand as well as a few markers in order to practice skills during the session.

10/13/2020    Building Future Leaders Panel Discussion (10:00 – 11:30 a.m.)
Panelists: Meghan Casey, Desmond Coates, Andrea Cosigny,  Chelsea Lutts, Natasha Nunez, & Alec Weinstein (SPIN, Inc.)
Facilitated by: Judy Dotzman (SPIN, Inc.)

DescriptionSPIN’s commitment to Employment First not only prioritizes that employment is the first and preferred outcome for people, but in addition, prioritizes leadership development at all levels of the organization by investing in the career and professional development of its employees.  SPIN assures that every position and every employee has the opportunity to avail themselves of education, training and development that will enable their leadership development, career pathing and advancement. Today's session will highlight the professional and career development opportunities at SPIN while sharing the personal and professional navigation experiences of the panel, which includes members of SPIN's Employment Services Team, facilitated by SPIN's Executive Director.

10/14/2020    In Our Own Voice (1:00 – 2:30 p.m.)
Amy Federer & Shadiqua Smith-Spann

Description:  This presentation will provide a personal perspective of mental health conditions, as leaders with lived experience talk openly about what it's like to have a mental health condition. NAMI's "In Our Own Voice" presentations change attitudes, assumptions, and ideas about people with mental health conditions.

10/20/2020    What I Wish I Knew In My Employment Journey  (10:00 – 11:30 a.m.)
Sandy Ho 

Description:  Coming soon...

10/21/2020    Visible vs. Invisible Disabilities - A Cross-Disability Look at Employment Disclosure (1:00 – 2:30 p.m.)
Panelists: Daniel Angelis (Advocate), Liz Humphrey (Advocate), Andrew Vizuete (Networks for Training and Development, Inc.)
Facilitated by: Suzanne Erb (Networks for Training and Development, Inc.)

Description: Disability disclosure has always been a hot topic for people with disabilities, whether it be on the job, in school, or just in everyday life. Join a panel of people with visible and invisible disabilities, as they share their thoughts and opinions about disability disclosure in the workplace and, possibly, beyond. The panelists will provide their own perspectives on all aspects of disability, and will share their opinions for workers with disabilities, employment professionals, and employers. There will also be time for your questions and comments.

10/22/2020    Best Practices & Collaboration in Secondary Transition (2:00 – 3:30 p.m.)
LaQuenta Montañez (School District of Philadelphia)

Description:  Collaboration with community agency partners results in opportunities to share ideas, resources, and information to improve post-school outcomes for transition-aged students with disabilities. This overview discusses the importance of effective collaboration, Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and agency involvement, and provides practical tips and resources for parents, educators, and students.

10/27/2020    Diversity in Business Panel Discussion (10:00 – 11:30 a.m.)
Panelists: Ed Rogers (Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs – OFCCP), Kaela Blanks (Aramark), Koert Wehberg, Esq. (Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities)
Facilitated by: Theresia Kody (Networks for Training and Development, Inc.)

DescriptionDiversity – A word that comes up in many conversations. It is not just a buzzword, a quota, or even a program. Dive deeper into the conversation as panelists share, explore, and question how businesses can do and be better. Continue to learn and navigate tough conversations in the workplace.

10/28/2020    My Person-Centered Journey (1:00 – 2:30 p.m.)
Elizabeth Humphrey (Advocate)

Description:  Person-centered planning has helped many people achieve a better life of their choosing. Liz Humphrey shares her achievement of a life of her choosing, and her personal experiences on her "Person-Centered Journey"!

ENDNOTE: Full Accessibility & Inclusion in the Workplace (1:00 – 2:30 p.m.)
AJ Nanayakkara (Johns Hopkins Health System - JHHS)

Description:  Advancing Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is a core value of many organizations.  Inclusion is incomplete without individuals with disabilities, but disability inclusion is often understated and sometimes ignored in D&I initiatives.  Through guidance specific to individuals with disabilities and broad cultural sensitivity best practices, this interactive discussion will show how disability concerns can be integrated into a broad diversity training.  Attendees will receive practical guidance for how organizations can foster cohesion of diverse individuals within teams, including supporting colleagues with disabilities.


November Symposium Offerings

11/4/2020      Confident Communicating (10:00 – 11:30 a.m.)
Sean O’Grady (O'Grady Consulting)

Description:  This session is an interactive public speaking seminar designed to give you an edge during job interviews, internships, networking events and professional interactions. The ultimate result is enhanced interpersonal connection and public speaking confidence. Join us and learn how to get noticed!

11/10/2020    Hashtags -> Dollar $igns: Using Social Media to Grow Your Businesss (10:00 – 11:30 a.m.)
William Toms (REC Philly)

Description:  This session explores how social media can help grow a business.  Join us as Will Toms discusses how social media users can evolve from arbitrary posting to a more strategic approach. This better approach involves more careful consideration of reasons to post, the importance of each post, and the value that posting can have for a business. Through various examples, including Will’s work at REC Philly, the audience will learn more about strategic social media use, brand-building, communicating with target audiences, and how social media connects to fundamental marketing principles.

11/17/2020    Using Music as a Self-Care Strategy for Mindfulness During Challenging Times
(10:00 – 11:30 a.m.)
Jim Donovan (Sun King Warriors)

Description:  This interactive presentation is filled with practical strategies you can use everyday to elicit calm, focus and mindfulness -especially during these challenging times. The active use of music is scientifically proven to improve your mood, relieve stress, increase mental focus and to support social. connections. Musical experience is not required and active participation is encouraged.

November 17, 2020
*** November Special Event ***
Virtual Art Fest!! (6:00 – 8:00 p.m.)
Curated by: Tieshka Smith

Description: Coming soon...

11/17/2020    Transitioning to Employment: Stories of Young Adults Transitioning to Employment
(10:00 – 11:30 a.m.)
Tracy Lapreziosa (Networks for Training and Development, Inc.)

DescriptionJoin us to hear the stories of  young adults transitioning to the world of employment with support of employment transition programs, employers and accommodations.  This session shares a framework for success on the job through matching talents, interests, accommodations and employment opportunities for success.


December Symposium Offerings

12/10/2020    Pre-Employment Transitional Services for the Juvenile Justice Population
(2:00 – 3:30 p.m.)
Jennifer Williams (Youth Advocate Programs, Inc.- YAP)

DescriptionYouth Advocate Programs have been providing pre- employment transition services (PETS) to young people in a  locked down detention center. This blends behavioral health, juvenile justice, and developmental disability programs together to teach pre-employment skills. Learn how to organize, plan, and conduct PETS for  nontraditional populations while honoring critical social justice considerations.

December 16, 2020
*** December Special Event ***
Film Fest!! (6:00 – 8:00 p.m.)

Description: Join in the fun! Let's get together, view a film, and share our thoughts! This event is free to all who wish to attend, but REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED.

12/17/2020   PA CareerLink® Philadelphia: What Can We Do For You? (2:00 – 3:30 p.m.)
Joe Cipolla (JEVS), Ed Drago, James Harris, & Joshua Shusterman (PA CareerLink®)

Description: Welcome to the PA CareerLink® in Philadelphia!!  This workshop will tell the story of transforming a large monolithic, bureaucratic entity into a welcoming, employment center dedicated to assisting each customer, regardless of barriers, experience a satisfying, individualized service.  JEVS Human Services of Phila, a 75 year old nonprofit, became the operator of the PA Careerlink® Suburban Station site in Center City Philadelphia in March 2015.  Capitalizing on its 45-year history helping people with disabilities find and retain employment, JEVS brought a fresh perspective to a much maligned state employment service. This panel discussion will offer an overview of the PA Careerlink® system and the wide array of services available to all job seekers, how it engages employers and how the PA CareerLink® Disability Navigator assists job seekers successfully complete the registration process and receive 1:1 attention



Fall Symposium Events: $60.00/person
(A limited number of scholarships are available
for self-advocates and their families.) 
Contact Jessica Stover  ( for information and questions around registration.

Early Bird Rate: $50.00/person
Register by midnight September 23, 2020

You will be sent links via email 24 hours before events you are registered for.

Recordings of sessions will be available to participants until October 1, 2021.

Special Events: Free, but registration IS required