Who We Are
Advancing Employment is Georgia’s Technical Assistance Center for Best Practices in Employment Supports
Advancing Employment is managed by the Institute on Human Development and Disability at the University of Georgia. Since 1965, IHDD has been a Georgia University Center for Excellence in Disability Research, Education and Service (UCEDD), and ranks as one of UGA’s oldest continuously-funded federal programs. The IHDD works with people who have disabilities and others, to ensure that all people can achieve their highest capacity and quality of life. Through UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS), IHDD applies the vast resources, research, and scholarship of the university on behalf of people with disabilities. Future leaders in all disciplines can be certified in disability issues through IHDD. Nationally-known faculty and staff support local, regional, state, national and international efforts. As a member of the Association
of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), IHDD collaborates with some 60 universities and teaching hospitals around the nation. All of the programs at IHDD are funded solely through grant funds and donations from private entities and friends.
About the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities: The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) is the State’s leader in advancing public policy on behalf of persons with developmental disabilities. Its mission is to bring about social and policy changes that promote opportunities for persons with developmental disabilities and their families to live, learn, work, play, and worship in Georgia communities.
Advancing Employment is staff by individuals highly knowledgeable about advancing the employment of people with disabilities.
Doug Crandell, MFA has worked for decades in the field of community-based employment practices. He works with providers, stakeholders and employers to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Mr. Crandell is a public service faculty member within FACS at IHDD. He provides training and technical assistance to Georgia's supported employment providers, both through webinars and on-site mentoring. In addition, he has provided hands-on, real-time training to organizations across the country. Crandell has been the Project Director for a number of demonstration grants funded through the U.S. Department of Labor, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Social Security Administration (SSA). He is a Subject Matter Expert with the Employment First Leadership State Mentoring Program at the Office of Disability Employment Policy.
Resources and Outreach Manager
Tracy Rackensperger, Ph.D. has worked with people with developmental disabilities for nearly 20 years. Dr. Rackensperger holds a public service faculty position within FACS at IHDD. Dr. Rackensperger has provided user-friendly and timely information to stakeholders via an online platform, assisted in developing forum topics for discussions, and led discussion on identified topics via online venues. She was the Program Assistant for a customized employment project called Jobs for All: An Olmstead Initiative. In this role, she scheduled activities, managed communication between staff, providers, and subcontractors, provided technical assistance and support via online mediums. She has expertise in overseeing the development and implementation of community education and outreach activities, developing and conducting training materials, providing technical assistance, and preparing articles for research publication.
Technical Assistance Coordinator
Paige Tidwell, CRC, CVE. LPC. PVE, Ed.S. has expertise in person-centered assessment, evaluation and consumer satisfaction.. Ms. Tidwell has her specialist degree in Special Education and Transition, her Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and bachelor’s degree in psychology. Tidwell is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Certified Vocational Evaluator, Licensed Professional Counselor and is a registered Professional Vocational Evaluator. Tidwell has been the in counseling field for over 25 years, with eleven years with the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA), where she worked as a rehabilitation counselor and evaluator, unit manager, and statewide coordinator for VR services and Program Evaluation. In June of 2015, Tidwell joined the Institute on Human Development and Disability (IHDD) at University of Georgia where she is providing technical assistance and consulting related to transition and Employment to professionals and agencies within the state. Additionally, Tidwell serves as a Vocational Expert for SSA’s Office of Disability Adjudication.
Hamida Jinnah, Ph.D. is the Director of the Research and Evaluation Unit (REU) at IHDD and holds a research faculty position within the University. She has expertise and experience evaluating a wide variety of programs. She uses a multi-method approach to evaluation and has experience in both randomized control evaluations using large data sets and qualitative focus groups and interviews. She has expertise in developing logic models, conducting strategic planning, needs assessment, formative (process) and summative (outcome) evaluations for organizations.