Employment News

RETAIN Employer Seminar Series

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When asked about the RETAIN Employer First Seminar series, Kimberly Wickert figured she’d let a frequent attendee, Judiann Romeo, AVP at CareWorks, speak to the ...

Staff Spotlight: Lakyn Hollandsworth

Staff spotlight Lakyn Hollandsworth
Lakyn Hollandsworth has always believed in helping people where she can. “I grew up in a family where if someone needed something, you helped them,” ...

Staff Spotlight on Anthony Glenn

Anthony Glenn wearing red pants, red shirt, and a white hat standing in front of an old black car on a street
Anthony Glenn has had a wildly diverse career. Now, he’s a return-to-work coordinator on the RETAIN Kentucky project at HDI, but through the years, he’s ...

HDI Staff Spotlight on Adam Potter

Young man with fair skin and dark hair wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and tennis shoes
For much of his college career, Adam Potter struggled to find the right path. Despite being an avid musician, he didn’t feel like his initial ...

HDI staff spotlight on Carolyn Wheeler

Staff spotlight of Carolyn Wheeler
Carolyn Wheeler’s heart broke when she came across a book called Christmas in Purgatory on her mom’s bookshelf. The book was a photographic essay on ...

Making Connections

two people talking and laughing
As Executive Director Dr. Kathy Sheppard-Jones tells it, 2023 was a year of connections for the Human Development Institute. Connections, according to Sheppard-Jones, are a ...

Supporting People of Color in Employment

cover of supporting people of color in employment resource
The University of Kentucky Human Development Institute seeks to cultivate a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) with disability as its main focus. In ...

HDI Staff and Students Attend AUCD Annual Conference

six HDI staff and students standing in front of the AUCD conference banner
University of Kentucky Human Development Institute (HDI) staff and students attend the 2023 Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) conference. The theme of this ...

The State of HDI Episode 6: Employment First

HDI Podcast Logo
Description: Katie Wolf Whaley is in the studio to discuss Employment First, a policy stating competitive employment should be the first and primary option for ...

Coding a Brighter Future. A staff spotlight on Jay Hatcher

Staff photo Jay Hatcher on a dark blue background
There’s an alchemy to coding, a place where art meets science, a perfect fusion of technical know-how and creativity. Jay Hatcher has lived in that ...

Summer Leadership Experience 2023

Group picture of camp attendees at the UK Student Center steps
What comes next after you graduate high school? When students toss their caps in the air, a whole new world opens up and they’re faced ...

HDI Photo Library Available Now!

Four people smiling and laughing with their arms around each other. Trees are in the background.
Stock photography lacks disability representation. The photos are often staged and use models without disabilities resulting in misrepresentation and unnatural scenes. Staff from the University ...

Turner appointed to Kentucky Employment First Council by Governor Beshear

LEND Trainee Morgan Turner headshot
In 2020, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order to create the Kentucky Employment First Council, which helps people with disabilities find meaningful employment ...

Supported Employment Staff Earns Recognition

Supported Empoyment
Supported employment has changed a lot over the years. Both Lori Norton and Margaret Lopresto can attest to that. Both have been involved in the ...

Kentucky Employment First welcomes Katie Wolf Whaley as new Council Chair  

Katie Wolf Whaley Photo. she is wearing a grey dress and speaking using a microphone in front of a black background
On December 2nd, 2022, Kentucky welcomed Katie Wolf Whaley as the new chair of Kentucky’s Employment First Council.   Employment First practices the idea that ...

HDI’s new project aims to enhance photography of people with disabilities

table covered in photography supplies, like cameras, lenses, neck straps, and more
Stock photography is a common tool used by almost all businesses and organizations; however, stock photos featuring people with disabilities are often staged using models ...

ASL Team delivers services at Southeast Regional Institute on Deafness

ASL Team standing in front of SERID Conference poster
This past October, the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreting Team, housed at the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute, ...

RETAIN Kentucky Goes to the 2022 Kentucky State Fair

RETAIN Exhibit Table
The Retaining Employment and Talent After Injury/Illness Network (RETAIN KY) Team recently participated in the Kentucky State Fair to raise awareness about a Department of ...

DeaFestival 2022 features the Julie Beth Hayden Job Fair

4 women standing behind a conference table under a tent
Interpreters from Kentucky’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) Branch, in partnership with the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and ...

HDI Staff and Students Selected to present at National Conferences

microphone with chairs in the foreground
Congratulations to HDI Staff selected to present at the 2022 National Council on Rehabilitation Education Conference in San Diego, California in March. Evaluating the Stress-Appraisal-Coping ...

University of Kentucky Human Development Institute releases 2022-2023 Strategic Plan

University of Kentucky Human Development Institute releases 2022-2023 Strategic Plan
The University of Kentucky Human Development Institute (HDI) is pleased to announce the release of its 2022-2023 Strategic Plan. As Kentucky’s University Center on Disability, ...

Sheppard-Jones receives 2021 APSE Award

Woman with blond hair and fair skin is petting a dark brown horse that is standing in front of a black fence and green grass.
The University of Kentucky Human Development Institute - HDI congratulates Executive Director, Dr. Kathy Sheppard-Jones, recipient of the Kentucky APSE Willie Byrd Legislative Award 2021 ...

HDI Staff to Present at Annual AUCD Conference

AUCD Conference ad.
University of Kentucky Human Development Institute (HDI) staff are preparing to present sessions and posters at the 2021 Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) ...

HDI Launches Storytelling Website

Jacob Mason Tina Jackson Story video still with Jacob and Tina during the interview with the caption: "Who are you and why do you want to share your story?"
The University of Kentucky Human Development Institute Digital Storytelling Initiative highlights the stories and lived experiences of people with disabilities. By recording and collecting stories, the ...

Kentucky Supported Higher Education Partnership Launches Website

KSHEP Website Launch in white text on a dark blue background
The University of Kentucky (UK) Human Development Institute (HDI) launches the Kentucky Supported Higher Education Partnership’s (KSHEP) website. KSHEP is a network of institutions of ...

Addressing Education and Postsecondary Inequities for Kentucky Students with Intellectual Disabilities

Photo of Mineral Industries Building with UK blue overlay and UK HDI logo in white
On May 20, 2021, the University of Kentucky submitted application to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid to establish a Comprehensive ...

RETAIN Kentucky Receives Grant to Expand Services

two women and one man seated at a table with blue tablecloths on it. They are seated in front of the American and Kentucky flags. The woman on the left has blonde hair, is wearing a light blue top and sweater. The 2nd woman is wearing a navy blue dress; and the man is wearing a navy blue jacket and a yellow tie.
The UK Human Development Institute Executive Director, Dr. Kathy Sheppard-Jones joins Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman and UK President Eli Capilouto to announce the state has ...

HDI to pilot Professional Certification in Universal Design

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A University of Kentucky (UK) Human Development Institute (HDI) Fund for Excellence award has been given to Christina Espinosa Bard and Patti Singleton to offer ...

Morgan Turner leads presentation at the Dignity of Work International Forum

Morgan Turner wearing a UK blue t-shirt in a gym. He is smiling at the camera and has short, black hair.
HDI Program Education Assistant, Morgan Turner, recently presented at the Dignity of Work International Forum sponsored by the Institute on Community Integration. In his presentation, ...

The Rehabilitation Services Administration Funds Partnership to establish Technical Assistance Center on Quality Employment

Smiling woman with long brown hair.
In concert with the University of Wisconsin and other committed partners, the University of Kentucky (UK) Human Development Institute (HDI) is part of the new ...

Kentucky Post School Outcome Center Begins Data Collection

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The UK Human Development Institute (HDI) houses the Kentucky Post School Outcome Center (KyPSO) to increase the capacity of local school districts, teachers, parents, and ...

Kentucky Awarded Office of Disability Employment Policy VOICE Technical Assistance Grant

Kentucky Awarded Office of Disability Employment Policy VOICE Technical Assistance Grant
Kentucky has been awarded a Visionary Opportunities to Increase Competitive Employment (VOICE) Technical Assistance Grant by the US Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment ...

RETAIN Kentucky Helps Injured Workers Remain at or Return to Their Jobs

Man and woman lifting a box and woman grabbing back in pain.
When people leave the labor force because they become sick or have an injury, it can be detrimental—for them, their families, employers and the economy ...

Research Brief Spring 2019

Aerial view of UK campus.
Preliminary examination of return to work interests among unemployed individuals with multiple sclerosis by Rongxiu Wu, Amanda Corbin, Penina Goldstein, Chithra Adams, Phillip Rumrill, Malachy ...

Kentucky Workforce Landscape Holds Promise for People with Disabilities

Photo of Kentucky state capitol.
Employment is an expectation. Passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 furthered that expectation for people with disabilities across the country. In Kentucky, ...

Op-Ed | We should be more welcoming to workers with disabilities, Kentucky’s untapped workforce

Finish school and get a job—that’s the plan for most students from the time they start kindergarten. But for a significant portion of Kentucky’s young ...

Results from needs assessment for Kentuckians with developmental/intellectual disabilities

Results from needs assessment for Kentuckians with developmental/intellectual disabilities
Education and early intervention, self-advocacy, employment, housing, transportation, childcare, and community supports were all listed as areas of need by service providers, family members and ...

Employment for Youth with Disabilities: Seeing a Brighter Future, HDI Seminar Recap

Megan McCormick, 30-years-old with Down syndrome; Clay Carroll, 22 years-old with Williams syndrome; and Andy Meredith, 19 years old with Down syndrome
By Amanda Kelley Corbin What are your hopes and dreams for your son or daughter’s future? It’s something every parent has pondered. And while the ...

Kentucky Employment First Council Establishes Sub-Committees

Young black man with Down syndrome clearing dishes at a restaurant.
By Jeff White Noted self-advocate Robert M. Hensel is frequently quoted as stating, “There is no greater disability in society, than the inability to see ...

HB144 Employment Subcommittee

by Kellie McCain of the DD Council Kentucky’s Commission on Services and Supports for Individuals with Intellectual and Other Developmental Disabilities (also known as HB ...

Spring Seminar: Employment for Youth with Disabilities: Seeing a Brighter Future

Two men with Down syndrome working on their phones.
"As an employer, I've been fortunate to have employees with intellectual disabilities who meaningfully contribute to our programs, and as a mother, I have been ...

KentuckyWorks holds Community Conversation in Louisville

People sitting around a table at the community conversation.
by Amanda Kelley Corbin Self-advocates, families, and professionals gathered for a community conversation to discuss employment opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities on Monday, December ...

KentuckyWorks Louisville Employment Community Conversation

Young woman with a disability working at a computer.
Come join us on Monday, December 3 from 6:30-8:30pm at Down Syndrome of Louisville's Sublett Hall to engage in conversations about setting employment priorities for ...

Tracking Employment Progress in KY for Students with Disabilities

Man with Down syndrome working at a computer.
by Tony Lobianco, Principal Investigator / Project Director KentuckyPost School Outcomes Center KentuckyWorks tracks its progress through data from the Kentucky Post School Outcomes Center ...

Kentucky’s Employment First Council Launches First Meeting!

Kentucky's Employment First Council including about twenty people
Kentucky’s Employment First Council assembled for its first meeting on Thursday, October 4. The 27 member group is comprised of people with disabilities, family members, ...

KentuckyWorks featured at Regional Parent Summit on Autism

Photo of a conference room.
by Larry Taylor, Ed.D., Executive Director Kentucky Autism Training Center The Kentucky Autism Training Center and the Kentucky Office of Autism collaborated to offer the Regional Parent Summit ...

Perspectives on Youth and Family Engagement

Photo of Harold Kleinert, Stephanie Meredith, and Sean Roy
By Amanda Kelley Corbin Sean Roy (right), who is the Youth Employment Solutions (YES!) Center’s state liaison to Kentucky and a training associate with TransCen ...

KentuckyWorks Family and Youth Engagement Community Conversation

Community Conversattion flyer photo
Come join us on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 for youth with intellectual disabilities, families, and professionals to discuss what families and youth need to prepare ...

Governor Issues Executive Order Making Employment for People with Disabilities a Top Priority in Kentucky

Governor Bevin signing Executive Order about Employment First, including Katie Wolf Whaley
On May 15, 2018, Governor Matt Bevin signed Executive Order 2018-328 to add Kentucky to the growing list of states with Employment First policies for ...

Transportation Initiative Seeks to Find Solutions for Rural Kentucky

Photo of road
KentuckyWorks and Kentucky E3TC held a joint community conversation on March 20 in Jackson, Kentucky. The goal of the activity was to bring together a ...

KentuckyWorks Morehead Community Conversation Update

A Community Conversation held in Morehead, Kentucky on February 27, 2017 identified two major projects local volunteers determined would provide significant initiative to promote the ...

Employment for People with Intellectual Disabilities and KentuckyWorks Featured in the Lexington Herald-Leader

Photo of young woman with Down syndrome teaching reading to a child with Down syndrome.
Employment for people with intellectual disabilities and KentuckyWorks were recently featured in an article by Valarie Honeycutt Spears in the Lexington Herald-Leader. The article highlights the ...

KentuckyWorks Website and Learning Modules Empower Youth with Disabilities to Reach Their Potential!

Young woman with a disability working at a computer.
HDI has recently launched a new website and learning modules for teachers, people with disabilities, employers, families, and employment professionals at kentuckyworks.org. The purpose of this website ...

HDI Free Documentary Film Screening of “Bottom Dollars”

Film Description
A free screening of the Bottom Dollars film, an original documentary by Rooted in Rights about the work exploitation of nearly 250,000 people with disabilities, ...

Fall Seminar: Path to Employment for Veterans With and Without Disabilities

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“Today’s military has almost all the occupations found in the business community. With businesses struggling to find qualified employees, veterans with and without disabilities can ...