Archived Webcast Information

Photo of Ashlea Lantz

Ashlea Lantz

Photo of Jennifer Scilacci

Jennifer Scilacci

Photo of James O'Brien

James O'Brien

Policy Discussion with VR State Agencies

Presented By:
Ashlea Lantz, M.S., CRC, Senior Associate, Griffin-Hammis Associates

Jennifer Scilacci, Manager of Communications & Partnership Engagement & Statewide Self-Employment Program Coordinator, CO Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

James O'Brien, M.A., Vocational Rehabilitation Supervisor, Washington State DVR
June 28, 2022

This session will feature two Vocational Rehabilitation offices that have developed systems and structures around self-employment to increase self-employment outcomes and increase counselor comfort level to support VR customers with self-employment.  Hear from Jennifer Scilacci with Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services and James O’Brien from Washington State Vocational Rehabilitation Services.  Ashlea Lantz, Center staff will facilitate an engaging conversation with Jennifer and Jim on their work and recommendations for state VR offices on building internal support to increase self-employment outcomes.

In this webcast, you will:

1. Identify three key points of each state's self-employment model

2. Reflect on your state VR agency's self-employment policy and practices. Identify one opportunity and one barrier.

3. Describe how each of the state VR agencies made a change in their policy and how they made the change.



Ashlea Lantz, M.S., CRC - Ashlea serves as the Project Coordinator for The Center for Self-Employment. Ashlea’s passion for self-employment stems from her sister Emilea who due to the impact of her disability was destined for a lifetime of segregated work until she decided to leave the workshop to start her own business, Em’s Coffee Co. Ashlea not only has experience in supporting her sister to open her business, but also has experience in supporting people with disabilities in maintaining their business. Ashlea is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, a Certified Benefits Counselor, and has an M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling from Drake University. During her tenure with GHA, Ms. Lantz has served as the Project Director on multiple broad-scale initiatives including the Utah Partnership in Employment Grant Initiative and the Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services Customized Employment project. She has extensive experience in training VRCs and provider agencies and played a key role in the development of GHA’s current online curricula. Ashlea serves as ongoing consultant to Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services program, supporting them to redesign policy, restructure rates, and train VR Counselors in support of best-practice employment service delivery, including enacting quality assurance measures.

Jennifer Scilacci is happiest when collaborating with others to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities. She has worked for the CO Division of Vocational Rehabilitation for over 20 years in a variety of roles, including VR Counselor and various leadership positions. She is currently the Manager of Communications and Partnership Engagement as well as the Statewide Self-Employment Program Coordinator. She lives in Steamboat Springs with her husband and two dogs, taking advantage of all the amazing outdoor recreation activities Colorado offers.

James O'Brien, MA is the Vocational Rehabilitation Supervisor for the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. James has worked for Washington VR for 32 years and has led self-employment policy change, process implementation, staff training, and resource development for over two decades.