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LEAD PEOPLE Marie Parker, Program Manager for TransCen, Inc.

June 30, 2015

Marie Parker wears many hats. Ms. Parker, a Subject Matter Expert working with LEAD Center through TransCen, Inc., is the Program Manager and County Liaison for the Montgomery County Customized Employment Public Intern Project (MCPIP), in partnership with the Montgomery County (MD) Government and MontgomeryWorks, Montgomery County's  American Job Center. As the County Liaison for MCPIP, Ms. Parker identifies and creates part-time positions in County government based on a department's need. She then recruits qualified individuals with significant disabilities for the position, based on their interests, skills and competencies, ensuring that any necessary supports are in place. Ms. Parker also oversees the efforts for a local Workforce Investment Act (WIA) In-School Youth with Disabilities Project (YWD), assisting youth in their last year of school to find employment opportunities based on their interests, skills and abilities. In the same vein, Ms. Parker also manages a Summer Youth Employment Project (SYE) in partnership with the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS), the Maryland's vocational rehabilitation agency. Through this project, referred youth with significant disabilities participate in a six week paid internship at a local business with workforce needs that match the skills, interests and abilities of the youth.  Youth receive on-site job coaching and follow up services. Her collaboration with DORS continued through her work as a co-facilitator for a Guided Group Discovery pilot project at MontgomeryWorks. Participants of the project were guided through a curriculum focused on Discovery, with the goal of assisting and teaching job seekers a different way to generate an individualized career plan as they seek employment.

"It's important to know yourself before you get the job you want," Ms. Parker said. "The Guided Group Discovery pilot project was valuable for individuals with disabilities because it connected them to a support network, gave them more confidence to not only find a job, but the right job for them -- and to be able to find it on their own." 

Ms. Parker was a key staff member in the implementation of the Maryland Customized Employment Partnership, a project recognized nationally for its leading edge approach to creating customized employment opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities through collaboration with employment service entities. Her expertise includes working with people who have a wide variety of disabilities, as well as other significant barriers to employment. Ms. Parker also facilitates workshops and training sessions locally, nationally and internationally, for disability employment service practitioners who assist job seekers with disabilities. She is a graduate of Hampton University and the Arizona School of Professional Psychology, with Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Sport-Exercise Psychology, with an emphasis on counseling and career transition.