updated Beach NW EF

ANNOUNCING THE 2018 PNW EMPLOYMENT FORUM PRESENTATIONS. We had an excellent response from proposers and look forward to sharing their expertise with you!

KEYNOTE PRESENTERS – This year’s conference theme is “Flourishing Leadership”. Hear this year’s dynamic keynote speakers who demonstrate the power of mentoring leadership.


  • “Leadership in a Changing World”
  •  Sara Gelser, State Senator, Corvallis, OR.


  • “Visioning Employment with Passion”
  • Jonathan Chase, Advocate, Musician, Author, Portland.Jonathan


  • “True Inclusion in the Workplace”
  • Ivanova Smith, Advocate, Tacoma, WA.

Ivanova 2


  • “Between the Edges: Working While Autistic (aka How I Balance the Need for Support with the Need for Independence)”
  • NIko Boskovic, Advocate, High School Student, Portland, OR.



Session Presentations

# Strand / Sub-Topic Title Description Time


Working Together to Get a Job! I didn’t feel that I could get a job. Some of my former employment team were not helpful because they told people that I had already lost two jobs and that I was not a hard worker. I was discouraged and needed some good news to help me feel that I could get a job. When I met JJ, who was a Peer Mentor, he was positive and upbeat.   He talked about his job and his life and he inspired me. This APSE talk is about how Peer and Peer Mentors work together to build self-confidence and skills for getting a job. TBD
31 APSE TALKS The Arc Of Lane County World of Work Come explore innovative solutions to preparing transition age youth for employment. The Arc of Lane County World of Work program will share how to implement a summer vocational program for youth ages 10-21.   Topics covered are funding sources, referral sources, internship development, community inclusion, community outreach, and tracking outcomes. TBD
32 APSE TALKS Supports on the job after Job Coaching fades After job coaching supports fade, people may still need assistance on the job that is unrelated to their job duties, such as assistance with medication, meal times, or mobility. The person and their team will need to plan how to provide those supports after fading occurs. TBD
33 APSE TALKS My Employment Journey OSAC members will provide brief testimony on their own employment experiences and how those challenges and successes have helped them engage and become leaders in the community. TBD
2 Conversations that Matter Oh What You Can Do with an Idea! This workshop will help you connect with others in the field and engage in action to help your community improve what they have to offer people with DD/IDD who want/have employment services. Hear stories and examples from three leaders in the field with over 50 years of combined experience on how innovative collaborative ideas have turned into real JOBS in their local communities. Leave the workshop with ideas for next steps in your own community, as well as connections with others to put those steps into action. Come prepared to create. TBD
3 Transition from School to Work Career and Technical Education: Driving Relevance and Success Research and experience suggest that contextualizing learning within “real world” activities and experiences helps students prepare for career, college, and community engagement. Career and Technical Education is a popular, effective approach to applied learning that leverages learning to provide rigorous content that aligns with the knowledge and skills needed for success in education and the workplace. In this interactive session, learn how Career and Technical Education can be a powerful tool for student success. Leave with a roadmap for connecting youth to opportunity through Career and Technical Education. TBD
5 Transition from School to Work Regional Job Club: Job Exploration for Youth in Transition Regional job club brings schools, agencies, Employment First teams, and businesses together county-wide from remote/rural areas. They rally around a work theme so students can tour sites and hear employers. Strong networks form with businesses and employers when they host a tour or present to students. Survey data collected on event days help to inform IEP’s, CDP’s and IPE’s. This session will explain the background, model, and provide resources to help replicate a RJC in your region. TBD
7 Transition from School to Work Maximizing Work Potential Through Collaborative Transition Services; An Employment Provider Perspective This presentation will focus on common issues that present themselves as barriers with transitioning students, to ensure that students are maximizing their work potential and exiting school services with significant employment opportunities. Primary focuses will be, history of the transition model and changing landscape of transition services, barriers to increased hours of employment, and how to work collaboratively to ensure transitioning students have more opportunities in the future. TBD
16 Transition from School to Work Sustainable, Individualized, Paid Internships with Pre-ETS Dollars


Students who complete meaningful paid internships during college have better employment outcomes after graduation. We can make this possible by partnering with Vocational Rehabilitation to access Pre-ETS funding. Internships in students’ specific career interest areas help them gather important information that helps inform their educational and career choices; they also offer opportunities to gain relevant experience that will help them land the right job as they transition from college to their career. Also, paid internships through Pre-ETS allow community businesses of all sizes to welcome interns who are passionate about their work and eager to learn. TBD
22 Transition from School to Work 1. Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation and Transition Aged Youth


A deeper look in to how the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act is creating new opportunities for youth in Oregon. Find out how to access professionals and programs in your area that support youth, learn how to identify Pre-Employment Transition Service work happening in your area, realize how Pre-Employment Transition Service (Pre-ETS) Coordinators can support youth in your region, and explore the ever expanding services that are currently available through Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Services. TBD
27 Transition from School to Work Person-centered planning: Discovery or not Discovery, this is the question Person centered planning is commonly thought as being a singular activity or even a singular type. However, there are multiple types of person-centered plans as well as multiple ways this type of planning can support an individual along their employment path. This session will provide enlightenment around the types of person-centered planning options that are available, and how to determine the best fit. This session will also explore the differences between Discovery and person-centered plans, how they can work together, and how to know when Discovery might not be needed. TBD
4 Leadership for the Future Then and Now: A Look at Integrated Employment in the Pacific Northwest This session will provide an analysis of state-level data related to integrated employment in Washington and Oregon across the years. The experience in the Pacific Northwest will be compared with other states. Discussion will include the factors that have assisted or impeded growth of integrated employment, and prioritization of next steps for improving outcomes. TBD
8 Leadership for the Future Shifting Away from Sheltered Workshops: Building Peer to Peer Supports Oregon has taken proactive steps to change employment services and move away from sheltered workshop placements. However, many people who receive these services and their families are confused about these changes and do not have the information to make decisions for themselves. To improve the delivery of information, we developed a peer mentoring project based on the principle that people are the experts in their own lives. Come join us to hear more about the progress of our project to help people find and keep “Real Jobs at Real Pay!” TBD
10 Leadership for the Future Sustainability in a Fee for Service Business Model Business sustainability in the current fee for service system has left many Employment Service Providers scratching their heads. Having a mission-driven heart with a business mindset is a challenging combination. Evolving your team’s understanding of revenue realities and department costs is vital to survival. Quality service delivery and changing lives through jobs are at the center of the work we do. BUT, without business sustainability, our mission is threatened. It must be prioritized. In this session we will share the business tools and processes that the Job Launch team at PCL has adopted after 3 years of trial and error. TBD
11 Leadership for the Future Cultivating Intentional Culture: Fostering a Welcoming Workplace


Organizational culture can present itself both formally and informally, and it is common for organizations to have difficulty actively reflecting on their own cultural norms. This session will focus on effective leadership techniques to cultivate and support diverse teams. Individuals at all levels of an organization can affect culture by the ways in which they interact with their teams. Participants will be given tools to examine and reflect upon their own organizational culture. TBD
14 Leadership for the Future Do you know what keeps people at your organization?


Do you want to help create and maintain a resilient, affirming, and effective work culture within your agency? Join us as we share how we are using stay interviews at our organization. Stay interviews have been used effectively in many industries to understand what employees value about the organization and what could increase satisfaction. During our session we will talk about how we designed the interviews, how we engage leadership in analyzing the results, and how stay interviews fit into other staff development and engagement strategies our agency has in place. You will leave with tools to conduct your own stay interviews and strategies for using the res TBD
24 Leadership for the Future Lens that Frame our World and How it Impacts the Workforce Today.


This interactive workshop provides a clear understanding of what diversity is and what it isn’t, raises a greater awareness and sensitivity to diversity issues that go well beyond the assumed categories and provides behavioral tools for fostering a more cohesive workplace. TBD
25 Leadership for the Future The Coaching Game: Teaching with Play


Teams looking for creative and engaging ways to approach soft skill training should consider playing games. In this session participants will learn to play an original role-playing game (think Dungeons and Dragons!) that presents coaching challenges and asks that players collaborate to find solutions.

After playing the game, participants will learn to host their own game sessions and see inside the tool. We’ll look at how to guide players through gameplay so that teams can use the experience to reflect on real-life coaching challenges. Participants will leave with the skills and materials they need to bring this game to their teams.

The goals of the game include: nurturing coaches’ willingness to think critically about their own soft skills, sharpening communication and assessment tools, teambuilding, and starting conversations about the role of a job coach.

26 Leadership for the Future Transformation: We Already Made the Mistakes for You!


Transformation is a large undertaking that requires commitments and change from agency staff, funding partners, families, and other stakeholders. We have both failed and succeeded along the way, but we’ve learned a few things: Creating effective communication plans, instilling a sense of urgency, and promoting core values & principles can go a long way in achieving competitive, integrated employment outcomes. This presentation combines three large providers who are transforming and are already seeing massive, positive changes; as well as two consulting and training agencies who provide support to these transformation agencies. The objective of this presentation aims to empower all stakeholders to identify their abilities and talents to join a wave of meaningful change. TBD
29 Leadership for the Future Diversity Partners: Creating an Employment First Culture Diversity Partners is an innovative, business-driven, national initiative that offers an array of web-based learning modules for employment service professionals looking to build stronger relationships with businesses. This workshop will focus on the importance of “doing it right” with employers. This session will highlight the difference between what employers want, versus what they often get. The presenters will share tips and tools for creating partnerships that are mutually beneficial to businesses, providers, VR, workforce development, and educators. The session also will offer an introduction to the Diversity Partners Leadership Toolbox, which contains resources, tools, and planning guides to help organizations create an “Employment First” culture: One that supports frontline staff in their efforts to develop effective business engagement strategies.  
6 Innovative Approaches Team Approach to Job Coaching


As more people with disabilities are successfully placed in integrated jobs, employment agencies experience challenges that require creativity and innovation to provide quality and consistent long-term job coaching services. Our agency has found the solution to be a team approach in job coaching. This has allowed us to provide consistency for the business and customer, flexibility in scheduling multiple work sites, coverage for staff planned and unexpected absences, and allows employment specialists to serve new clients in job development. The unexpected benefits have been greater team collaboration and connection, creative problem solving, and staff retention.  
9 Innovative Approaches Starfish – What they tell us about team communication


We all want to reach the best possible outcomes for the people we support. Even with our best intentions, we still may set up unclear roles and expectations within our teams. Whether we are creating goals someone and their support team, facilitating natural supports, or communicating with internal teams, we can always utilize additional strategies in effective communication. Communication is an all-important skill that can be learned, developed, and refined. In this session, we will discuss the largest barriers to team collaboration and gives tips on ways to better streamline communication, get consensus on goals, and build positive, collaborative teams.  
12 Innovative Approaches Your Guide to Choosing an Employment Provider


The Oregon Self Advocacy Coalition (OSAC) and the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities (OCDD) have been working together to support people with disabilities and their families members to understand changes to employment services in Oregon through a peer mentor employment project. Recently, ODDS reached out to continue to develop this vision by creating a new “Selecting an Employment Provider Guide.” We have now completed a project based on the experience of people with disabilities who have navigated hiring an employment provider. They will speak to their peers through advocacy tips, storytelling and a strong visual component that puts people with disabilities in the driver’s seat of determining how they want to be supported to achieve their employment goals.  
13 Innovative Approaches Robots are taking over! Assistive Technology Employment Supports


Though smart speakers and robots are not the answer to all of life’s challenges, there are very practical ways we all use technology to be more independent in our lives and in our work. This session will support participants to think about assistive technology when supporting people to reach independence on their employment pathway. Come explore the various types of easy-to-use mobile technology tools employment professionals are using in the field. The good news? You are already doing a lot of the work. The next step is to build your toolbox by exploring assistive technology available now. Join the conversation around exciting, emerging technologies and hear stories of how technology is being used throughout the employment process. Attendees will receive an electronic copy of an Assistive Apps lists highlighting mobile apps used on multiple platforms.  
15 Innovative Approaches Employment Law Rights for Supported Individuals A person’s right to reasonable workplace accommodations presents numerous common questions. A firm grasp of legal rights & practical application of reasonable accommodations in the work place contributes to giving an individual a strong basis when choosing and determining their career path. There are questions and issues which arise frequently for employees finding work or on a job search path and are engaged with Employment First principles, policies and practices.  
17 Innovative Approaches DIY Rural Job Development


This hands-on, practical, and action-packed session aims to provide tools that are immediately relevant to those seeking jobs for individuals in both rural and semi-urban communities. Whether you’re relatively new to job development or are looking for a tune up, this session will provide the inspiration as well as a selection of strategies you’ll find thought-provoking. Let’s boost your performance out in the trenches. Come join us!  
18 Innovative Approaches Creating an Innovative Employer Engagement Program


Employment First seeks to expand employment outcomes for individuals with I/DD; yet employers are often unaware about the importance of this initiative and are not equipped with the knowledge of how to access and be inclusive of this talented labor pool. Conversely, the job development community often lacks consistent messaging and methodology to effectively inspire, engage and equip employers to overcome these barriers. This session addresses both topics by describing an innovative, replicable employer engagement program entitled, Amplify! Hear about the program design and outcomes. Attendees will be challenged to brainstorm how to shift their job placement paradigm from one placement-at-a-time to creating a sustainable network of employers.  
19 Innovative Approaches Engaging Families: “Start Now” and “Next” Individuals and families need three things as they navigate systems and change: A vision, and roadmap and connection. Come and learn about two innovative program models that help families and individuals work through an interactive process that prepares them for future community employment. “Start Now” is a program designed for middle and high school students and their families to get ready for transition. “Next” is targeted to individuals and their caregivers who are preparing to exit sheltered workshops and join the community workforce. You will learn about the curriculums and how they are being used in Oregon and Washington.  
20 Innovative Approaches Bold Moves! The Story of Andy Owens


This session outlines the story of how Andy Owens, a person with significant disabilities worked at Powells Bookstore for 16 years . Through the use of Person Centered planning , Andy and his support team created a blue print for locating his job and the development of innovative technology and partnerships to sustain it.He was also a leader and inspirational advocate for employment speaking at conferences to families , people with disabilities and employment professionals. He remained a dedicated Powells worker until his untimely death due to illness in October 2017. Oregon APSE , SDRI and the Owens family wish to honor his work as an inspirational Pioneer of Supported Employment and to carry on his memory with a Memorial Award to be given annually to people with disabilities seeking to enter the work force. Come celebrate his story , life and an excellent example of supported employment!  
21 Innovative Approaches Fade Plans: A tool for Success


What is a Fade Plan and how can it help increase independence? This discussion will focus on the creation of a fade plan that outlines ways to help people learn to become independent on the job  
23 Innovative Approaches Hire Ability Spokane: A Modern Take on Employment


Spokane County and Wise will be sharing how Spokane County is utilizing an innovative approach through Hire Ability Spokane to generate employment outcomes. This approach includes business to business networking and presentations, connecting to local government, taking advantage of media and collaborating with local employment vendors.  
28 Innovative Approaches Transition and University Students as Innovators This session will feature the Wise Work Study employment specialist program. This program has been running for over 10 years and annually places 20 -25 college students into employment support positions in high school transition programs and employment organizations. This program provides a mutual benefit to the people with disabilities who are seeking employment and the college students who support them. Come hear the latest stories and challenge us to grow this great opportunity for career advancement for all!  




  • 7:15-8:45                REGISTRATION / BREAKFAST BUFFET
  • 8:45-10:15              OPENING, WELCOME KEYNOTES
  • 10:30-11:45           SESSION 1
  • 1:30-2:45                SESSION 2 (EXHIBITORS SET UP)
  • 3:00-4:00                ANNUAL MEETINGS / EXHIBITORS HALL OPEN
  • 4:15-5:30                SESSION 3
  • 5:30-7:30                OPENING RECEPTION / EXHIBITORS HALL OPEN


  • 8:45-10:00              WELCOME STUDENTS FOR APSE, KEYNOTE
  • 10:15-11:30            SESSION 4
  • 11:30-1:00              PLATED LUNCH – ODE/ KEYNOTE / AWARDS
  • 1:15-2:30                SESSION 5 (EXHIBITORS TAKE DOWN)
  • 2:30- 3:15               CLOSING SESSION / MUSIC

Click Here to View the Sessions AT A Glance