ICI Staffers at the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) Conference

Community Inclusion
3 min readJun 21, 2023


Earlier this June, researchers, policymakers, advocates, and practitioners convened in Pittsburgh for the 147th annual American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) Conference. ICI staffers Alberto Migliore, Staci Jones, Suzzanne Freeze, and Jean Winsor presented plenaries, breakout sessions, and posters on Employment First, community life engagement, supported employment, ending subminimum wage, and the economic status of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Alberto Migliore and Danielle Mahoehney from the University of Minnesota presented about supporting employment consultants during a breakout session about finding and maintaining employment. Their presentation, Supporting Employment Consultants to Implement Supported and Customized Employment, talked about the importance of implementing supported and customized employment with fidelity and the positive impact that this can have both on job seekers’ employment outcomes and on the morale of the employment consultants. They described how ES-Coach enables teams of employment consultants to visualize their implementation of supported and customized employment support practices, reflect, set goals, and identify actions for continuous quality improvement.

Staci Jones also presented with Danielle Mahoehney from University of Minnesota in a breakout session about the employment landscape in Minnesota along with colleagues from The Arc of Minnesota and Phase, a provider organization engaging in transformation, as part of the Minnesota Transformation Initiative (MTI). MTI is designed to help organizations move away from upholding employment that pays subminimum wage. In this session, A Statewide Approach to Supporting Providers to End Subminimum Wage, Staci shared data, tools, and strategies that ICI uses when supporting organizations with transformation, including the 10 Essential Elements of Organizational Transformation and the Community Life Engagement Toolkit.

Six presenters of various genders, races, and disabilities pose in front of the presentation projector screen, smiling.
MTI Transforming the Employment Landscape in Minnesota presentation. From left: Denise Johnson, PHASE-Industries; Danielle Mahoehney, University of Minnesota; Staci Jones, ICI; Dupree Edwards, The Arc Minnesota; Olivia Lape, The Arc Minnesota; Tim Schmutzer, PHASE-Industries.

Staci presented during a breakout session with ICI’s Suzzanne Freeze titled, The Intersection of Community Life Engagement and Employment, which provided an opportunity to emphasize how community-based experiences can lay the groundwork for future employment options. Former ICI staffer Jen Sulewski and Karen Lee of SEEC in Maryland presented during this breakout session as well. The session provided insights on Community Life Engagement from the research, provider, and family perspectives.

Suzzanne Freeze moderated a plenary session with partners from Ohio titled The Ohio Employment First Experience. Panel members included Keith Banner and Nathan Turner from Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), Christine Brown from The Ohio State University, and Scott Marks from Ohio Provider Resource Association (OPRA). The panel took a very animated approach to answering audience questions about experiences with Employment First, necessary and successful collaborations, and overcoming challenges.

Wednesday morning plenary, The Ohio Employment First Experience. From left: Scott Marks, Ohio Provider Resource Association (OPRA); Keith Banner, Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD); Suzzanne Freeze, ICI; Nathan Turner, DODD; Christine Brown, The Ohio State University.

Suzzanne also presented with Jean Winsor in breakout sessions about Bringing Employment First to Scale. Suzzanne shared about the State Employment Leadership Network’s (SELN) High Performing States framework and how it is used to guide strategic activities for employment systems change. Jean presented about the High Performing States Model as it relates to employment systems partners and integrated employment.

Jean also presented on a panel The Future of Employment for People With IDD, where she and co-panelists Pamela Grider-Cross, David Mank, and Derek Nord shared how changes in employment policy and practice will impact employment outcomes for people with IDD for years to come.

During the poster session, Jean shared research she co-authored with John Butterworth about the Economic Status of Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. The poster focused on the gains in economic self-sufficiency people with IDD have begun to experience and how the COVID-19 public health emergency has impacted the provision of employment and day services.

a white woman poses smiling by the poster she is presenting
Jean Winsor by her poster, Economic Status of Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, during the poster session.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Setting New Norms for Integrated and Competitive Employment: Challenges, Opportunities, Strategies”. Over 550 registrants from 11 different countries attended. Read the full program from AAIDD!



Community Inclusion

The Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities in school, work, health care and community activities.