The LEAD Center national staff includes team members with decades of experience in delivering policy, employment, research & demonstration, economic advancement and communications strategies to advance individual and systems level change for people with disabilities and their families.
Senior Advisor/Financial Capability Subject Matter Expert
Elizabeth Jennings is Senior Advisor/Financial Capability Subject Matter Expert on the LEAD Center and is the Interim Executive Director of National Disability Institute. She was Assistant Director of the LEAD Center since 2012. Jennings is a national trainer on Social Security benefits, asset development strategies for persons with disabilities (including favorable tax provisions and the Earned Income Tax Credit, financial education, and protected savings opportunities), and the building of expanded relationships between the disability and asset building communities. Her varied experience includes spearheading asset development initiatives in Florida and New York to increase access to VITA, EITC and asset building opportunities for individuals with disabilities, creating collaborative agreements, building partnerships, executing grant allocations, providing technical assistance on federal disability policy and assisting individuals in job development and understanding the effect of work on Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare benefits. Jennings uses her expertise as Assistant Director and Training and Technical Assistance Team Lead for National Disability Institute’s LEAD Center. As Training and Technical Assistance Team Lead, Jennings works with LEAD team members, national partners and subject matter experts to implement the training and technical assistance necessary to foster individual and systems change across all LEAD Center initiatives, including creating the monthly LEAD Center webinar series. She also provides training on the impact of work on Social Security benefits and provides technical assistance to partners across the country on economic empowerment for individuals with disabilities receiving federal disability benefits. Jennings has a Bachelor’s of Art in Sociology and minors in Black Studies and Women’s Studies from Florida State University.
Laura Gleneck is Division Director, Employment Projects, National Disability Institute.In her role as Division Director, Laura serves as the lead director of employment project staff. Laura also serves as the co-Project Director for the ODEP-funded WIOA Policy Development Center/LEAD Center. She brings more than 19 years of demonstrated and dedicated experience in the areas of project management and project coordination of both small and large federally-funded contracts and more than 25 years of experience working with national disability organizations. Laura has served as the Project Manager for Training and Technical Assistance activities to help states implement U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) funded Work Incentive Grants, the Disability Program Navigator (DPN) initiative and currently serves in this role under the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI). She is the lead coordinator/supervisor of the key technical assistance staff focused on supporting disability and workforce state grantees, manages material development, coordinates all training and technical assistance directing capacity building efforts on WIOA from a disability perspective and works closely with the national DOL Program Office. Laura has expertise in facilitating cross-project/team activities to identify commonalities and build on interconnectedness with demonstrated outcomes. She holds a master’s degree in Child Study and Human Development from Tufts University.
Laura Aron is the Project Manager of the LEAD Center. A Senior Associate with Social Policy Research Associates for 19 years, Ms. Aron has substantial experience managing projects and providing culturally competent, strengths-based technical assistance to the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education, their grantees, and local American Job Center administrators and practitioners. She has particular interest and experience leading projects that serve underserved populations, including people with disabilities, and has expertise in career pathways, performance, reporting, and data systems. She also has expertise in translating evidence-based research into practical training and capacity building steps that lead to program and system improvements, and has developed a myriad of in-person and online trainings, webinars, videos, communities of practice, and other tools to support work in the field and at the policy level. Ms. Aron received a Master in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology from Emory University.
Mr. Koller, Social Policy Research Associate’s Senior Strategist for Capacity Building, is a national expert on U.S. career education and workforce policy and a thought leader in adapting a European dual professional education system for the U.S. As a Swiss-American dual national, he has deep understanding of the Swiss and the U.S. systems. Through project work for the U.S. Department of Labor, Education and Housing and Urban Development, he has also developed particular expertise in developing career pathway and apprenticeship programs, and improving reentry programs for ex-offenders in education and workforce development. Mr. Koller is project director of the Apprenticeship Inclusion Model (AIM) project and the Policy Development Center of the U.S. DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Both projects are identifying policy options for state and local governments to improve career opportunities for people with disabilities. He has also been supporting career education reform efforts in California through California’s Apprenticeship Initiative and other state-based and regional innovation projects.
Caleb van Docto
Caleb van Docto, an Associate at Social Policy Research Associates, serves as the Project Coordinator of the LEAD Center. Through more than a decade of experience working at the intersection of education and workforce services for people with disabilities, Mr. van Docto has become something of a purveyor of clever practices and contextualized innovations that make for a more inclusive world. Professionally, he has an affinity for helping national, regional, and local level experts get better at what they do through knowledge sharing, capacity building, and people-centered design. Additionally, he’s tinkered extensively with accessibility and universal design principles for both physical and learning environments. Prior to joining SPR, Mr. van Docto acquired a B.A. from University of California, Santa Barbara, an M.A. from San Francisco State University, and served as a senior-level director overseeing all programs, services, and public engagement for a community-based organization serving individuals with disabilities. Among other places, he might be found at Berkeley’s Center for Independent Living – the model for what is now more than 400 like centers codified in law throughout the U.S. – where he serves on the board.