Melanie Phelan is a training specialist for the Illinois Center for Transition and Work through the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). She has 18 years of experience working with students and young adults with a range of disabilities in school and post-secondary education settings. Prior to becoming a training specialist, Melanie was principal for a transition program in the Valley View School District for three years. As principal, she also handled all Department of Rehabilitative Services (DRS) contracts and was the district representative for the Illinois STEP Advisory committee. In her earlier years, Melanie was a transition specialist for the STEP Campus in the Valley View School District, where she successfully started the program’s first school business enterprise. As a former administrator, special education teacher, and transition specialist, Melanie has worked extensively on creating work-based learning experiences and establishing paid employment opportunities for students with varying disabilities. Melanie is a member of the Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT), the Illinois Council for Exceptional Children (ICEC), and the Council of Administrators for Special Education (CASE). She is currently a working group member for the Center for Advancing Policy on Employment for Youth (CAPE-Youth).