Cyber.org requested and received a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to create cyber curriculum for students with disabilities in order to even the playing field for career opportunities in cyber! Project Access will bring opportunities to students in a number of Cyber pathways. Virginia DBVI began a partnership with Dr. Chuck Gardner and Tommy Gober of Cyber.org in 2017 with the creation of fully accessible curriculum for Robotics. Since 2017 Virginia has been joined by Nebraska, Maine, Vermont and Arkansas who have welcomed cyber.org to their states for Robotics or Linux academies. Although we speak to the impact on our students, at DBVI we believe the impact was even greater for Cyber.org. Once Cyber.org realized the potential of students with disabilities and heard the stories of missed or no opportunities to explore cyber, they took action and the result: Project Access!
Meet the Presenters:
Tish Harris brings a diverse array of business, higher education, workforce and non-profit experience to her role as the Pre-Employment Transitions Services and Career Pathways Coordinator for the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI). Previous to this position, Tish served at the Career Pathways for Individuals with Disabilities Coordinator for Virginia DBVI. As the Director of Operations for her family business, Tish oversaw the expansion and operation of a family business from one location to 15 business locations, employing over 500 people, as well as an expansion into commercial properties. She continued to serve on the Board of Directors of the family business while she turned her efforts to youth non-profits and higher education, where she specialized in resource development and volunteer outreach. Tish moved into Workforce Development, serving as a Grant Director and Director of Operations for the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board, and as a Program Manager for Blue Ridge Community College’s Workforce and Continuing Education group. Tish has taught Business at the college level for 22 years. As a member of the CPID team and now as the Pre-ETS Coordinator at DBVI, Tish has delivered innovative programs and partnerships, piloting a number of successful and sustainable events and academies.
Megan O'Tool Hall, MS CRC
Megan is currently serving as the Director of Vocational Rehabilitation and Workforce Services for the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI). Her current position involves responsibility for overseeing the Pre-Employment Transition Service program development, staff training, program support, case management reviews, budgeting, contracting and the provision of the use of the 15% Pre-Employment Transition Service set aside. Prior to that, she served as the Assistant Director of Vocational Rehabilitation, also with DBVI. Hall has been employed in both the public and private sectors of Vocational Rehabilitation for 20 years. Hall received her B.A. in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the University of Southern Mississippi, her Masters in Counseling with a Rehabilitation emphasis from Mississippi State University, and most recently obtained a Post-Masters Certification in Transition Studies from Utah State University. Hall is currently enrolled in the National Rehabilitation Leadership Institute through San Diego State University with an anticipated completion date of December 2022.
Chuck Gardner serves as the Senior Director of Government and Non-Profit Engagement for CYBER.ORG, the academic initiative of the Cyber Innovation Center. He has more than 10 years of classroom experience and holds an EdD (Educational Leadership) and an MBA (Marketing) from the University of Phoenix and a BS (Marine Transportation) from the United States Merchant Marine Academy. After leaving the maritime industry in 2006 he became a career-changing educator, first teaching algebra and geometry in middle school, then moving to a high school robotics and cyber classroom, where he first encountered CYBER.ORG and wrote content for them. Moving from a curriculum development specialist, to the director of curriculum, to the Associate Director, he oversaw all aspects of content development and the delivery of professional development workshops to teachers from across the country. As a Senior Director, he now oversees much of the federal and state-based outreach and national support for standards adoption, pathway development, and education/workforce development initiatives.
You can reach Chuck at firstname.lastname@example.org or (318) 759-1600