The University of Vermont Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (CDCI) is located in Burlington, Vermont, and is a national leader in advancing inclusion of people with disabilities in all areas of life. CDCI plays a critical role in several education and employment initiatives, and has helped lawmakers in the state of Vermont develop pioneering policies and programs that U.S. disability rights advocates regard as models of excellence in promoting workforce inclusion. CDCI successfully advocated for Vermont to end sheltered, segregated employment in 2002, making it the first state in the nation todo so. The Fellows placed here had the opportunity to visit any of fifteen supported employment agencies in Vermont that are overseen by CDCI, and engaged with faculty and community partners to learn strategies that have broadened inclusive employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

CDCI, which has been providing technical and training assistance to supported employment programs in Vermont since 1980, has attained international recognition for its faculty’s expertise and involvement in disability rights initiatives in many countries around the world. CDCI has participated in U.S. Department of State-sponsored pro-inclusion educational exchange programs before, having trained and subsequently collaborated with an international Fellow from Brazil dedicated to inclusive education in 2017.

PFP-IDE Fellows, Victoria Lihiru and Sylivia Kalungi, were matched with CDCI and worked under the supervision of Bryan Dague. Dr. Dague is a Research Associate at University of Vermont- Center on Disability and Community Inclusion and provided guidance and mentorship to the Fellows as they learned about CDCI’s programs and designed their Fellowship projects.