Archived Webcast Information

Photo of Jason Krause

Jason Krause

Photo of Gina Kraus

Gina Kraus

Photo of Billy Kraus

Billy Kraus

Photo of Kara Leavell

Kara Leavell

Photo of Ciara Ladroma

Ciara Ladroma

Perspectives of Customized Employment Self-Employment

Presented By:
Jason Krause

Gina Kraus

Billy Kraus

Kara Leavell

Ciara Ladroma, Senior Associate, Griffin-Hammis Associates
June 27, 2024

This session will feature an employment seeker and team located in Virginia actively working through the Customized Employment process. Jason aka “J” Krause has found his talent and niche in public speaking and is in the planning process of starting his business as a Disability Advocate and Accessibility Consultant. In this session, you will learn from J and his team members as they share their experiences, perspectives, and advice in navigating self-employment and Customized Employment. 

Learning Objectives:

1. Learn the perspectives of Customized Employment Self-Employment from an employment seeker, parent, Employment Specialist, and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor.

2. Reflect on the information and skills found through the Discovery process. 

3. Learn and identify the support that “J” and his team need for him to be successful as an entrepreneur. 


Jason “J” Krause, Disability Advocate and Accessibility Consultant

Jason Krause is 24 years old, and is from Chesapeake, VA. He loves his family, independence, baseball, vintage cars, music, traveling, and is a resident foodie. Jason is developing his own business as a person with a disability, look out Shark Tank!  What makes Jason special is his smile, wicked sense of humor and his passion to be purposeful.  Jason is working to be not only an active member of his community but to help others see him as a person and not his disability. Jason is non-speaking and uses a wheelchair for mobility and to control his AAC device that he uses to communicate. Jason wants to help everyone understand that while he may not communicate like others, that he still has a voice. The voices not just to advocate for himself but his community. He participates in many activities and wants to share his experiences to help others. With some assistance from his team, Jason can accomplish much more than what people may perceive of him. Jason is pursuing Customized Employment options. HOW CAN JASON HELP YOU?

Gina Krause

Gina Krause is many things. First and foremost, one of Jason's biggest champions. As Jason's Bonus mom, Co-guardian with Jason's Dad, Kipp, the Krause's help Jason be the best version of himself.

Gina is Co-founder of a digital media company based in Kalispell, MT and works with Adults with Disabilities in Chesapeake, VA, she is a proud graduate of Washington State University, Go Cougs!, music nerd, and so much more.  Gina has held positions on the Board of Directors for several educational organizations such as the National Media Market, CCUMC (Consortium of College and University Media Centers), The Chesapeake SEAC (Special Education Advising Committee). She has run a data center, and thanks to viewers like you, she worked in Boston for PBS at WGBH. They produce This Old House, Antique Roadshow, NOVA, Masterpiece Theatre, American Experience, Frontline, and  Zoom.

Billy Kraus, Lead Vocational Counselor, The Choice Group

Billy Kraus is a dedicated Vocational Counselor with a passion for empowering individuals with disabilities to discover and thrive in meaningful employment. With a background in Special Education and Pastoral Ministry, Billy combines empathy and expertise to guide clients through the process of identifying their strengths, skills, and career goals. Committed to fostering inclusive workplaces, Billy collaborates with employers to create opportunities that match the unique abilities of each individual. With a focus on building confidence and independence, Billy strives to make a positive impact in the lives of those he serves, ensuring they not only find employment but also maintain fulfilling careers.

Kara Leavell, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, VA DARS

Kara Leavell is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with the Portsmouth, Virginia DARS office. Kara has been employed with DARS for over ten years assisting  individuals with Substance Abuse, Serious Mental Illness population and the Pre-ETS population with their vocational goals. Through Kara’s tenure with DARS, she has partnered with many community providers to reduce barriers that would hinder employment opportunities. Prior to joining DARS, Kara worked for Goodwill Industries as a Career Counselor in Lexington, KY and Nashville, TN serving individuals with disabilities and disadvantages. Kara works tirelessly to break barriers and look for solution-focused results.

Ciara Ladroma, Facilitator

Ciara has served the employment and entrepreneurial industries for the last 12 years with a focus on serving people with disabilities, women, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ individuals. She has supported small business owners nationwide to create, launch, and grow their businesses. Ciara began her career in Supported Employment as an Employment Specialist and has since carried these unique skills and traits to all areas of her career. Previously serving as a Career Coach at Des Moines Area Community College and as the Director of the Iowa Women’s Business Center, Ciara has found ways to elevate communities by guiding people’s success through business ownership and career navigation. As an entrepreneur herself, she is able to take her own experiences and challenges to help others navigate their entrepreneurial hurdles. Ciara provides technical assistance and trainings of best-practices regarding employment service delivery with a focus on Customized Employment and Self-Employment.