Created in 1997 to provide our Illinois residents with streamlined access to integrated services, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is one of Illinois' largest agencies, with more than 13,000 employees. IDHS is proud of its diversity, efficiency, and the services that the agency and its community partners provide to Illinois citizens. Secretary Grace Hou will provide an overview of IDHS and share the current state of the department and where we are going to go together. Following her address, Secretary Hou will take and answer questions from the audience.
Grace Hou serves as secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services. Hou previously served as the president of Woods Fund Chicago, a grant-making foundation that funds organizations that draw on the power of communities to fight the brutality of poverty and structural racism. From 2003 to 2012, she served as the assistant secretary at the Illinois Department of Human Services where she was responsible for the oversight of the agency's six program areas. During that time, she was a key leader in the creation and implementation of the state's nationally acclaimed Immigrant Integration New Americans Executive Order. Hou previously served as executive director of the Chinese Mutual Aid Association and has been a vocal advocate for immigrant rights. She received her Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Master of Public Administration from the University of Illinois Springfield.
Achieving competitive integrated employment continues to be a challenge facing youth with autism. Nevertheless, existing research demonstrates successful supports that enable individuals with autism to realize integrated employment. In this session, Dr. Carol Schall will present research on the impact of internships, supported employment, and customized employment on employment outcomes for youth with autism. She will also include a discussion of the behavioral methods used to support youth and young adults with autism in the transition from school to work.
Dr. Carol Schall is the co-director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Autism Center for Education and the principal investigator of the Virginia Autism Resource Center. Dr. Schall has over 35 years of experience supporting adolescents and adults with ASD as a teacher, group home supervisor, administrator, researcher, and consultant. In addition, she has provided service to the autism community as a consultant and advisor on numerous critical projects in the areas of transition to employment, including regular international consultation and training. She provided positive behavior support consultation and instructional technical assistance for the Project SEARCH Plus ASD Supports program for the past 12 years at Virginia Commonwealth University and Work Support in Eastern Australia. She developed the ASD Supports Model for Project Search and served as the research coordinator for this project. She also developed the Community Based Functional Skills Assessment with Autism Speaks.