Advancing Service Delivery in the VR Field for Deaf, Deafblind, & Late Deafened Consumers

Presentation with live Q&A
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In 2021, the newly formed Council on State Administrators for Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) Deaf Professionals Network (DPN), commissioned and completed an update to the Model State Plan (MSP) for Vocational Rehabilitation Services for Deaf People. Specifically, the MSP is a web-based platform that provides updated information on best practices in vocational rehabilitation service delivery for consumers that are Deaf, deafblind, and or late deafened.  Our presentation will include a brief overview of the MSP and current dissemination efforts, examples of implementation processes in a handful of states, and a discussion of strategies and resources that Public Vocational Rehabilitation agencies can use to support implementation in their own contexts. The presenters are Duane Mayes MS CRC CDMS CVE, Director with the Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation & Chair to the DPN as well as a former graduate from the University of Wisconsin Stout in 1982, David Hankinson MS, Program Manager for the Statewide Unit on Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services with Oklahoma Rehabilitation Services, and Stephanie Cawthon PhD, Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Consultant, & founding Director of the National Deaf Center.  These three leaders embrace the importance that public VR professionals have the necessary access to best practices in the field of deafness to increase employment opportunities for this population nationally

Meet the presenters:

Duane Mayesphoto of Duane
Duane Mayes, Director for the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, began his career in social services just out of high school when he took a job in a nursing home.  He found he loved the work, perhaps because he and his two siblings already had experience caring for their father, who had significant physical disabilities from polio.  Also, both his parents are deaf.  Mayes is fluent in American Sign Language, his first language.
Mayes went on to get a bachelor’s and master’s degree in vocational rehabilitation from the University of Wisconsin Stout graduating in 1982.  Mayes moved to Alaska in 1982, where he worked for many years with the Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.  He has 40 years of vocational rehabilitation experience, eight in the private sector and four as the owner of his own business.  He went on to work for three years as the Operations Director with the Governor's Council on Disabilities and Special Education and then assumed the position of Division Director from 2010 to 2018 for Senior and Disabilities Services with the Alaska Department of Health & Social Services.  Two years ago, Mayes made the decision to come back to the Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and is often saying this is where he truly belongs.  “Assisting Alaskans with disabilities in obtaining competitive and integrated employment is my passion.”

Mayes has conducted multiple presentations nationally, regionally, and locally on effective & genuine leadership.  Through his 40 years of leading, he firmly believes you are only as good as the people around you. Mayes will be presenting at the Youth Professional Summit on effective and genuine leadership and looks forward to the next generation of leaders making a difference for the great state of Alaska!

David Hankinson

photo of David

  • Programs Manager/Statewide Coordinator for the Deaf at Oklahoma State Department of Rehabilitation Services
  • Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from San Diego State University
  • Former Area Administrator of Washington State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Former Executive Director of Puget Sound Residential Services serving severely disabled adults including Deafblind
  • Former Director of Communication Action Network (Deaf Center) in Toledo, Ohio

Dr. Stephanie W. Cawthonphoto of Stephanie
Stephanie is a deaf researcher, author, and speaker who is a professor at The University of Texas at Austin in the Department of Educational Psychology, with a courtesy appointment in Special Education. 
She is an internationally renowned expert for her research that examines the multiple factors that affect how deaf and disabled people succeed in classrooms, at workplaces, and throughout their lives. She investigates issues of equity and access in education, explores accommodations and accessible learning environments, and challenges systemic standards that are holding people back. 
Stephanie is an inaugural affiliate of the Texas Center for Equity Promotion — it houses the Collaborative for Access and Equity, a joint project of Microsoft and UT Austin that Stephanie directs — and she founded the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes in 2017 with a $20 million federal grant. 
The author of three books, Stephanie is the first deaf editor of Perspectives on Deafness, an Oxford University Press international book series on the leading research and practices with deaf people.
She lives in Austin, Texas.