Progressive Employment: Content Experts


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Content Experts


Meet the Progressive Employment Team

Housed at the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston and partnering entities, Progressive Employment (PE) experts have worked together to build the PE model from the ground up. Staff expertise includes vocational rehabilitation and employment service delivery, research and evaluation, training, technical assistance, knowledge translation, and instructional media.

Knowledge Translation Research & Evaluation VR Policy Expertise Instructional Media

Cecilia Gandolfo

Cecilia is a program director at the Institute for Community Inclusion, where she brings knowledge, skills, and experience to a wide range of local, regional, and national projects. She provides team leadership for the implementation of technical assistance and training projects focused on improving services to and employment opportunities, outcomes, and support for individuals with disabilities.


Julisa Cully

Julisa is the knowledge translation program director at the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI). She has over 15 years of experience developing, managing, and implementing disability programs.

Julisa has held leadership roles in direct service, program implementation, and research. At the ICI, she oversees research and technical assistance centers focused on the inclusion on people with disabilities and multiple barriers in employment.


Kelly Haines

Kelly Haines is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Community Inclusion. Her background is in providing direct services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and she is a trained social science researcher in the field of disability studies.

At the ICI, Kelly has worked on several federally funded national rehabilitation research, training, and technical assistance centers promoting employment for individuals with disabilities since 2009. She has managed quantitative and qualitative research efforts including secondary data analysis, case studies, focus groups, surveys, quasi-experimental studies, and randomized control trials in the field of vocational rehabilitation.


Linda Mock

Linda is a senior policy advisor and program specialist at the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI). She brings over 40 years of experience working in vocational rehabilitation (VR) and special education.

Linda spent the majority of her career working for the Oregon Commission for the Blind (OCB), beginning as a rehabilitation teacher and VR counselor, and serving as the agency administrator for her last 12 years there. At OCB, she was instrumental in developing an innovative transition program, placed a strong emphasis on employment, and implemented a computerized caseload management system. She also served as a member of Oregon’s Workforce Investment Board.


Russell Thelin

Russ is a senior policy fellow at the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI). He has 28+ years of experience working on the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in the workplace. This includes providing clinical counseling, executive leadership, and technical assistance within vocational rehabilitation (VR) and other organizations.

Russ is a past president of the National Rehabilitation Association of Rehabilitation Leadership. He also oversaw the Utah Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, and is a past member of the Utah Statewide Workforce Services Board.


Susan Foley

Dr. Susan Foley has focused her research activities on studying vocational rehabilitation practices and innovations in the improved employment outcomes of people with disabilities. She leads multiple national centers funded through the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She has worked with more than 30 state VR agencies and is currently active in identifying innovations happening within agencies, transporting them to other agencies, and testing for advances in outcomes.



  • Mathematica Policy Research
  • American Institutes for Research

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