Georgia Employment First Council Members Named

November 2, 2018

(Atlanta) Several state leaders, disability community members, and other stakeholders today were named to Georgia’s Employment First Council, created in May 2018 when Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 831, the Employment First Act, into law. The legislation established employment as the first and preferred option for individuals with disabilities receiving public services who choose careers as a path to independence. Georgia joins a strong national movement that includes 45 other states with some form of Employment First initiative, legislation, or executive order.

The Employment First Council will ultimately be comprised of 14 individuals with disabilities, ties to the community, or roles in state agencies serving people with disabilities. In addition to the members named today, six individuals representing various state organizations have previously accepted spots on the council. Two additional members are expected to be appointed soon.

“Georgia is home to nearly 700,000 working-age individuals with disabilities and more than 28,000 people with disabilities entered our state’s workforce last year,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “These individuals bring value and unique talents to our places of work and enrich our local communities. Georgia’s Employment First Council aims to provide citizens with disabilities with greater opportunities to obtain meaningful employment and enjoy long-term success in the workplace. By supporting individuals with disabilities in their efforts to pursue careers of their choosing, we are helping to build a more competitive workforce and strengthening Georgia’s reputation as the No. 1 state for business.”

Chaired by Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency’s (GVRA) Executive Director, the role of the Council is to make recommendations to the Office of the Governor and the General Assembly for policies and legislation that align with inclusive, competitive employment for people with disabilities. Its leadership will also consist of a Vice Chair, who will be elected from the membership. The Council is to meet quarterly.

“Employment First is all about empowering people who want more opportunity,” GVRA Executive Director Sean T. Casey said today. “This Council will look at the structure of public services in the state to make innovative recommendations that ensure everyone who wants a career has every opportunity possible to achieve.”

Appointments:

Dr. Conrado Marion-Landais
Marion-Landais is the diversity and inclusion manager for Georgia Power. He is the founding chairperson of Disability:IN Greater Atlanta, an affiliate of Disability:IN. Marion-Landais is a member of the Atlanta Diversity Management Advocacy Group leadership board and the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta advisory council. He is a graduate of Leadership DeKalb and the American Institute for Managing Diversity’s Leadership Academy Program. Marion-Landais earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgia Tech and a master's degree and a doctoral degree from the University of South Florida. He and his wife, Melissa, have two children and live in Dunwoody.

James Stinchcomb
Stinchcomb is a graduation coach and part-time faculty member in the Department of Social Work and Human Services at Kennesaw State University (KSU). He is also the CEO of Baux Blue Consulting. Stinchcomb was previously the director of operations for the Cobb and Douglas Counties Community Services Boards. He is the vice president of Professional Development and Education for the National Organization for Human Services. Stinchcomb earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Services and a master’s degree in Public Administration from KSU and a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Georgia. He is a board-certified human resources practitioner and a certified nonprofit professional. Stinchcomb resides in Kennesaw.

David C. Ward
Ward is the President and CEO of the Tommy Nobis Center. He has more than 30 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, including leadership positions with the Wounded Warrior Project, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Best Buddies International. Ward previously worked with the Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities in Ohio. He sits on the board for the Georgia Association of Training, Employment and Supports. Ward was a nominee for the Turknett Leadership Group’s 2018 Leadership Character Award. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Bluffton University and a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University. Ward and his wife, Priscilla, have two children and live in Powder Springs.

John B. Wells III
Wells is the district manager for Colonial Insurance in Midwest Georgia. He is an ordained deacon in the Southern Baptist Church. Wells founded the East Kentucky Veterans Referral Center and served as mayor pro tem of the City of Paintsville for one term. He also taught history for the University of Kentucky Community College System and for Morehead State University. Wells is a former member of the committee to restore the Coweta County Courthouse and the board for the Newnan High School Football Touchdown Club. He served in both Kentucky and Georgia as a coach for Special Olympics. He is a former president of his Kiwanis Club. He and his wife, Terrie, have one child and reside in Newnan.

Todd Youngblood
Youngblood is the executive director of Kay Community Service Center in Fort Valley. He previously taught special education and coached football, basketball and baseball. Youngblood is the assistant softball coach at Crawford County High School. He is the sport manager for the 2019 Special Olympics USA Powerlifting World Games. Youngblood earned a bachelor’s degree in Interrelated Special Education from Georgia Southern University. He and his wife, Andrea, have three children and two grandchildren. They live in Fort Valley.

 

State Agency Representatives Previously Named:

Tim Evans, Georgia Department of Labor

Eric E. Jacobson, Georgia Counsel of Developmental Disabilities

Paula Poulicek, Georgia Department of Education

Amy R. Reidesel, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities

Rossany Rios, Technical College System of Georgia

Felita Williams, Board of Regents

 

About GVRA

GVRA is the state’s Vocational Rehabilitation organization.  It was established through legislative action in 2012 with the goal of helping every Georgian with a disability who wants a career to attain success. The organization incudes five programs: vocational rehabilitation, Roosevelt Warm Springs and Cave Spring Center, Georgia Industries for the Blind, the Business Enterprise Program and Disability Adjudication Services.  More information is available at gvs.ga.gov.

Communications@gvs.ga.gov