Philadelphia DBHIDS

This Year's Symposium,
Connecting Talent to Opportunities,
is Going Virtual!

What You Need to Know

The Virtual 20th Employment Supports Symposium kick-off is just around the corner! We also have some exciting news - Networks is collaborating with PA APSE to offer a Pre-Conference session with Colwin Williams, taking place September 25th from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. This session, "Arrested Development:, intersects poverty, violence, employment, and mental health. You won't want to miss this event, or any of the engaging content that continues from October 1st with the Philadelphia Employment First Stakeholder Event, and keynote by Laura Owens of TransCen, Inc. October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. What better way to celebrate than a month-long event recognizing the need for expanded opportunities for Philadelphia’s citizens with disabilities and celebrating people’s accomplishments. The excitement will continue with events occurring throughout the year! Presentations will typically occur on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, with Special Events occurring once a month. Check the Symposium At-A-Glance for specific dates and times.


During the Symposium, we will make every effort to meet individual needs so you can take full advantage of all this event has to offer. Captioning will be available for all sessions. Handouts will be provided for all sessions when available. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about any other accessibility requests, please contact us. For those with additional accommodations/accessibility concerns, please submit these requests by September 20, 2020 (or 10 days before the sessions you plan on attending) since some accommodations require up to a week to arrange.

If you plan to attend via phone, please contact us before the event. You can access Zoom phone options at In order to take advantage of all of Zoom's accessibility features we suggest ensuring you are using the most up to date version of Zoom. For a quick tutorial of Zoom, and to get familiar with its features, check out our Quick Tips for Zoom video.

Pre-Conference Session
In Collaboration with PA APSE


Colwin Williams
~ Cure Violence Philadelphia ~

September 25, 2020
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Arrested Development

Colwin Williams has had a difficult past, but he has not let his past predict his future. As a Supervisor of the Street Team for Cure Violence Philadelphia he has been working on crime prevention and community building with traditional law enforcement. During this session Colwin will share his personal perspective and experiences in working on the streets of Philadelphia, tying in the issues that lead to violence such as high unemployment, poverty, and unstructured time. His goal is to support people to de-escalate before trouble ensues, and lead people on the path of employment and sustainability.

Fall Offerings

October Symposium Sessions
National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Tuesday through Thursday,
(starts Thursday, October 1st, 2020 with the
Employment First Employment Stakeholder Event
This event is free to all attendees.)

November Symposium Sessions:
Nov. 4th, 10th, 17th, & 24th

December Symposium Session:
Dec. 3rd, 10th, & 17th

Special Events:
Oct. 7th, Nov. 18th, & Dec. 16th

Spring Offerings

March Symposium Sessions:
Mar. 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, & 30th

April Symposium Sessions:
Apr. 1st, 8th, 15th,22nd, & 29th

May Symposium Sessions:
May 4th, 11th, & 18th

Special Events:
Mar. 17th, Apr. 21st, & May 19th

More information coming soon for the Spring Symposium.

Symposium Highlights

Keynote Speaker:

  • Laura Owens, Executive Director (Transcen, Inc.)
    A Rally Cry for Employment for All!

Endnote Speaker:

  •  A. J. Nanayakkara, ADA and Accessibility Program Manager (John’s Hopkins Health System)
    Son Many Opportunities! Large Employers Need Your Talent!

Featured Speakers:

  • Karen Carr - PA Treasury Bureau of Savings Programs
  • Jim Donovan of "Sun King Warriors", founding member of 3-time platinum band, "Rusted Root"
  • Sean O'Grady - Strategic & Creative Director of Universum
  • William Toms - Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer of RecPhilly

Other speakers include representatives from Aramark, PA CareerLink®, United States DOL Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, PA Office of Developmental Programs, PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Mayor's Commission on People with Disabilities, School District of Philadelphia, United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and more...

Sessions focused on:

  • Leadership - Top Down Change to Improve Employment Outcomes
  • Business - Strategies for Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce
  • Entrepreneurship - Taking It to the Next Level
  • Job Seekers

Special Events:

Musical Performances, Watch Parties, Virtual Art Show, Virtual Scavenger Hunt, Monthly Bingo Events, and more...
Check the Fall Symposium At-A-Glance for specific dates and times.

Who Should Attend

This Symposium is for all those interested in developing and identifying strategies to create inclusive and diverse workspaces that truly welcome all! This includes business owners, HR Professionals, Employment Support Professionals, Education Professionals, people with disabilities, family members, administrators, Supports Coordinators / Case Managers and others. If you are interested in supporting people of all abilities in finding and maintaining competitive employment, as well as promoting the values and beliefs behind Philadelphia's employment initiative, "Connecting Talent to Opportunities", this Symposium is for you!