October - November 2020

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month
This year marks 75 years of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, as well as the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This year's theme is "Increasing Access and Opportunity."

Visit the Initiatives page on the Office of Disability Employment Policy website for more information, as well as these additional resources:

Illinois Center for Specialized Professional Support and Illinois State Board of Education
Illinois Center for Specialized Professional Support and Illinois Community College Board
Illinois Center for Specialized Professional Support
Secondary and Postsecondary Super Strategies for Special Populations

ICSPS in conjunction with ISBE and ICCB developed resources to help you recruit and support special populations (as defined by Perkins) for secondary and postsecondary CTE programs. These documents are full of creative ideas and strategies that will help you succeed in recruiting, and help students succeed in their programs!
Strategies to Support Special Populations
Webinar Series

Join ICSPS as we take a deeper dive into our Super Strategies for Perkins V Special Populations. Each webinar will share support strategies and services that can be utilized by secondary and postsecondary systems. Methods for recruiting and informing students about CTE programs will also be discussed. Webinars will occur twice a month and focus on a single Special Population.

Super Strategies for Students Experiencing Homelessness
November 10, 2020 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Super Strategies for Students with Military Parents
November 19, 2020 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Wednesday Webinars

October Double Feature!

Local Impact of COVID-19 Dislocation: Strategic Information Products
October 28, 2020 10 am - 11:30 am

Illinois workNet Online Tools: Employment 101
October 28, 2020 12 pm - 1:30 pm

Illinois Innovations to Boost Equitable Digital Skills Access and Acquisition
November 4, 2020 10:00 am - 11:30 am
ICSPS Welcomes Two New Team Members -
Carissa Melody and Molly Cook
Carissa Melody is the new Access and Transition Coordinator, joining the team the first of October. Carissa was raised in Streator, Illinois and received her B.S. Learning Behavior Specialist I from Illinois State University and her M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis from Arizona State University. Her most recent position was as a Special Education teacher at the Easterseals Learning Academy. She shares her Germantown Hills home with husband Mark, her two sons (ages 17 and 14), two cats, and two Labrador retrievers. Her daughter Ashly (age 19) lives in California, where she is involved in community outreach. Carissa’s favorite things to do in her free time are attending her sons’ baseball and football games and taking their pontoon boat out for a cruise. Carissa’s passion for building relationships is what brought her to the ICSPS team, “I have worked with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder for over 10 years. These individuals work so hard for everything they have accomplished in life. I love discovering ways we can help people who are challenged improve and grow their abilities.”
Molly Cook also joined the team earlier this month as the new Workforce Training Coordinator. A Michigan native, she has a B.A. from Aquinas College in Sociology and Theology and received her master’s in Sociology from Illinois State University. Molly’s most recent position was as the Development Director for Haven House, a homeless shelter in East Lansing, Michigan. Aside from planning her June wedding, she spends her free time baking, running and biking, volunteering, and doting on her golden doodle, Ellie. As for why she’s excited to be part of the ICSPS team, Molly says, “I am passionate about equity in workforce development! I gained this passion at ISU as a graduate student, and I am so excited to take all that I learned and combine it with my experience working in a homeless shelter and bring that to ICSPS!”
Deerfield-based Walgreens has earned national recognition as a Best Place to Work on the 2020 Disability Equality Index. This is the fourth consecutive year that Walgreens has received a top score of 100% on the 2020 Disability Equality Index. Learn more about Walgreen's Retail Employees with Disabilities Program (REDI) here.