Rebecca Salon is Co-Project Director for the LEAD Center, and was Project Director of the LEAD Center since 2013. Dr. Salon is a recognized national leader in policy and program development with an emphasis on cutting edge demonstrations that promote employment and economic self- sufficiency for individuals with significant disabilities. She has more than twenty years of experience with management of federally funded projects and has over thirty-five years of experience working with people across the spectrum of disabilities. Her doctorate degree is in special education with studies and research geared toward disability policy studies. Salon also is working at the District of Columbia Department on Disability Services (DDS), where she is the lead for DC’s Employment First program initiatives.
Over the past 6 years, Salon has worked in DC government focusing on program, policy and partnership development to promote Employment First systems change, in addition to other initiatives through DDS’s developmental disabilities and vocational rehabilitation administrations. This work has included creating and supporting Communities of Practice to promote and implement Customized Employment; coordinating Project SEARCH partnerships and programs within the Federal government; overseeing and coordinating the activities of DDS’s Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG); fostering a collaboration between the workforce and vocational rehabilitation system on universal design practices in their respective roles; and working on multiple partnerships designed to promote employment for youth and young adults with disabilities. Almost all of her energies have been focused on creating opportunities for employment, community inclusion, and economic self-sufficiency for youth and adults in the District of Columbia. She is actively engaged with the State Employment Leadership Network’s work in DC and was instrumental in creating an Administrative Employment Network (EN) at DDS to expand the job retention support that can be available to people with disabilities through the Ticket to Work program.
Salon previously was Executive Director of the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute, where she worked for 20 years in positions that spanned all of its programs and projects. Since 1988, Salon has been an advisor to Project ACTION!, a DC-based state-wide self-advocacy coalition run by adults with developmental disabilities, and has worked with a number of family advocacy coalitions in DC and Maryland. Her Master’s and Doctorate are from Syracuse University. She also previously worked at their Center on Human Policy and in a number of other non-profit management positions.