Articles and Events

Congratulations to Will Johnson!

Please join HDC CAC coordinator Lauren Griffiths in congratulating fellow CAC member Will Johnson on becoming a Storyteller who will advocate for the right to work for people with disabilities! Will was selected as one of three winners of the Rooted in Rights’ Storytellers 2018 competition. You can also see the announcement on Rooted in Rights Facebook page. Thanks to all of you voted during the voting period.

Rose Angelocci Named 2018 Rehabilitation Counselor of the Year

Rose Angelocci

Rose Angelocci was the recipient of the 2018 Rehabilitation Counselor of the Year Award given by the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association (ARCA), a division of the American Counseling Association (ACA). This award is given to a rehabilitation counselor who has gone above and beyond serving clients. Rose was presented with the award on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at the ARCA reception at the ACA annual conference, which was held in Atlanta, Georgia this year.

Time Limited Funding Opportunity for Jefferson Parish Residents

Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority (JPHSA) has Individual and Family Support (IFS) funds available for individuals and families with developmental disabilities residing in Jefferson Parish. Funds must be spent by 6/30/18.

Families and individuals with developmental disabilities can apply for IFS funds to help with one time unmet needs not covered by other sources (e.g., insurance, Medicaid). Funds can be used for a variety of needs such as diapers, specialized clothing, specialized bed, therapy (if not covered by insurance), insurance copays, summer camp, gym membership for an adult with DD, dance lessons, specialized bike, communication devices, weighted blankets, noise-canceling headphones, etc.

Call Kelly Smith or Trenetta Randall at JPHSA, 504-838-5424, to apply.


Please Vote for Will’s Storytellers Video!

Former PAY Check student and current CAC member Will Johnson’s video has made it to the final round of the Rooted in Rights’ Storytellers competition! In his video, Will discusses why all people, including those with disabilities, have the right to work. If Will receives the most votes, Rooted in Rights will support him in making an official Storytellers video in which he will advocate for the employment rights of people with disabilities. Please take just a short moment to support him and vote for his video at the link below. Deadline is May 2, 2018, 10:59 PM (11:59 PM ET).


WHEN: Wednesday, May 02, 2018, 10:59 PM

AUCD Emerging Leaders Map

The AUCD Emerging Leaders Map highlights diverse trainees and early career leaders across AUCD’s network. Each person was selected for inclusion on the map based on their contributions to the network, how they have demonstrated leadership, and their values and commitment to diversity, inclusion, and respect for others.

The Map provides an opportunity for you to explore and learn more about each trainee and early career leader. When clicking on a pin from a Program/Center, you’ll learn more about each trainee about their passions, how they have leveraged their traineeship, how they are emerging as leaders, and advice for individuals who are interested in joining a traineeship.

HDC LEND Trainee Gregoria Rosa-DiStefano is on the 2018 AUCD Emerging Leaders Map.

To read more and view the map, click here.

To link and scroll directly to Gregoria’s bio, click here.


Nutrition Is For Everyone April 2018

Nutrition is for Everyone Louisiana (NIFE LA) project wrapped up its 8-week pilot program with Special Olympics Louisiana (SOLA) this month called the Unified Fitness Club. Each week, athletes and their families participated in a 30-mintue physical activity session and a 30-minute interactive nutrition lesson developed by the NIFE LA team. Nutrition lessons are currently being compiled into a user-friendly instructor’s manual that will be disseminated to SOLA organizations across the state. Read more…


Genetic Testing for Acadian/Cajun Families with Hearing Loss


The Louisiana Deafblind Project for Children and Youth in collaboration with the Department of Genetics, LSU School of Medicine and the Calcasieu Parish School System Special Education Department, will be providing free genetic testing in Lake Charles, Wednesday  April 11th from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Approximately 40% of the students identified with deafblindness in Louisiana’s schools results from hereditary syndromes/disorders with Usher Syndrome occurring in Louisiana at a rate six times greater than elsewhere in the United States. All interested individuals are encouraged to attend.

Click here for more information.

WHEN: Saturday, April 07, 2018, 3:00–5:00 PM

WHERE: CPSB Elementary Department of Special Services, 1015 6th Avenue, Lake Charles, LA 70601

Small Victories and Hard Work Lead to PAY Check Student SUCCESS!

Jordan began his first semester with the PAY Check program in January 2018. Prior to enrolling in our pilot, Jordan was receiving instruction in a self-contained classroom with four to ten other students. When he arrived at Delgado Community College in January, he was intimidated by the Delgado workload. This was the first time Jordan had done work outside of class.

Jordan has put in the effort to step outside his comfort zone and his hard work is paying off.  Currently, Jordan is thriving in a fully-inclusive program and taking college level classes. On his most recent midterm he received a 94% and his GPA is now 3.14!  Jordan is proud of his progress and the Pay Check Specialists are all very proud to see Jordan’s growth in just a few short months.


Governor John Bel Edwards Signed State as Model Employer Executive Order

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has signed an Executive Order this Monday creating  the State as a Model Employer Taskforce, which will develop policies and strategies to improve within state government the rate of hiring, recruitment and retention of Louisianans with disabilities.

The State as a Model Employer Task Force will have the following duties:

  • Develop policies, strategies and services designed to achieve the seven percent employment target.
  • Establish a five-year plan with annual goals that will enable the state workforce to reach parity with the percentage of working age people with disabilities in Louisiana.
  • Provide guidance and other support to agencies and institutions of higher education of higher education on recruitment, retention, accommodation and accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Click here to read the governor’s executive order.

Over the past year the Governor’s Office of Disability Affairs have held workgroups, roundtables, and other events in collaboration with diverse and varied stakeholders about Employment First, which is an initiative of stakeholders designed to address barriers to employment and improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities. Due to those efforts, in collaboration with diverse and varied stakeholders, Louisiana has been selected to receive Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) as a Vision Quest (VQ) State for the 2018 fiscal year under the United States Department of Labor’s, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (EFSLMP). This technical assistance will further the efforts to increase competitive, integrated employment outcomes for all individuals with disabilities.

Also, in the Governor’s Office, they know employing people with disabilities is great for businesses, communities, and Louisiana. If you are a person with a disability, they want to hear your story about where you work and what you do. There are so many positive employment stories which need to be shared, and we would like to publicly highlight our hard working citizens and their employers. Please go to the following link and complete the form with your information and story:

Louisiana State Parks Now Hiring Persons with Disabilities


The Louisiana Office of State Parks is currently hiring throughout Louisiana.


  • 82 seasonal openings available
  • Custodian, Groundskeeper and Front Desk
  • Personnel positions
  • Schedule: 24 hours/week throughout the summer
  • Salary: $8.50/hour

Applications are available at each state park location.

HOW TO APPLY:  For a full listing of state park locations, please visit

For more information about Louisiana Rehabilitation Services,

visit http://Louisiana Workforce Commission