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Equipping Leaders to Better Prepare Children & Youth for College, Careers, & Citizenship

Jennifer Thomas

Jennifer Thomas

Youth Development Specialist

Headshot: Jennifer ThomasJennifer joined IEL in 2013 as a youth development specialist for the IEL-led National Collaborative for Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth). She is responsible for coordinating NCWD/Youth’s youth development and leadership efforts. Her primary focus is steering the Youth Action Council on Transition (YouthACT), a national project geared toward getting more youth with disabilities and their allies involved as leaders who partner with adults and organizations to improve opportunities for youth to succeed in life. Jennifer provides support to these teams of youth leaders, adult partners, and sponsoring organizations who work together to improve transition outcomes for youth.

Prior to joining IEL, Jennifer was the project director for National Kids As Self-Advocates (KASA), a project of National Family Voices, Incorporated, where she provided support to youth advocates across the country.  She has served on KASA’s National Advisory Board and is an alumna of the 2012 Mobility International U.S.A.’s U.S./Jordan: Young Women with Disabilities Leadership Exchange Program, where she had the opportunity to share ideas and strategies with professional women from both the United States and Jordan on improving the lives of women and young girls with disabilities in Amman, Jordan. Jennifer is a former educator for Montgomery Public Schools of Alabama and was also the very first State Youth Consultant for Children’s Rehabilitation Service, a division of the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services. She was appointed to the State Rehabilitation Council of Alabama and served on the steering committee for the Alabama Governor’s Youth Leadership Forum for High School Students with Disabilities, as well as several other committees and task forces.

Jennifer has a congenital disability and was first formally introduced to self-advocacy as a delegate for the Alabama Governor’s Youth Leadership Forum for High School Students with Disabilities in 2001.
Jennifer earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Alabama State University, December 2005.