CareerACCESS Newsletter- Fall 2016

Photo of Vilissa ThompsonWe are excited to welcome our new Projects Coordinator Vilissa Thompson!

September was highlighted by the hiring of Vilissa Thompson, the first CareerACCESS Projects Coordinator! Vilissa is a proud disabled advocate who established her own online platform called Ramp Your Voice that addresses the intersectionality of race, gender, and disability. Being in this position has afforded her the opportunity to become a prominent leader in discussing and educating the public about the plight of disabled women of color.

Vilissa received her B.A. in Psychology and her Masters in Social Work (MSW) from Winthrop University. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) in the state of South Carolina. Vilissa currently resides in Winnsboro, SC.

We are excited to have her join the team starting December 1st as we move CareerACCESS to the next stage!


The Disability Financial Management App to be built by financial institution(s)

Financial institutions, including Wells Fargo, are considering building a Disability Financial Management App – a technology platform to serve the financial planning needs of people with disabilities who live independently and work in their communities. The next step will be participating in an on-site planning meeting with the Wells Fargo IT staff.


CareerACCESS continues to garner support from leading agencies nationwide

As the CareerACCESS initiative continues to take steps forward, closer to implementation, more agencies are expressing support and want to get involved. On a recent trip to Washington, DC, Neil Jacobson and Barbara Butz met with several leading individuals agencies to discuss CareerACCESS’s next steps. They met with Bob Williams, Annette Shea, Rabbi Jonah Pesner (Executive Director of The Union for Reform Judaism – Religious Action Center), Michael Morris (NDI’s Executive Director), and Steve Waskiewicz, (Policy Staffer to Congressman Tom Cole).

In the past months, members of the CareerACCESS team continued to meet with Executive Directors of various supporting agencies, which include:

  • Joe Xavier (California the Department of Rehabilitation)
  • Kelly Buckland (National Council on Independent Living)
  • Rebecca Cokely (National Council on Disability)
  • Jennifer Mizrahi (RespectAbility)
  • TJ Sutcliffe (The Arc)

As we engage various stakeholders and agencies in moving CareerACCESS forward, we are also giving young adults with disabilities the opportunity to be included in the conversation by holding biweekly conference calls run by Daniel Mellenthin, a CareerACCESS Core Group member.


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