Jessica Queener, Ed.D., joined IEL as a senior program associate for the Center for Workforce Development in 2017. For the past 16 years, in Tennessee and D.C., Jessica has collaborated with key stakeholders in assisting youth and young adults with disabilities transition to adult life. Prior to coming to IEL, Jessica managed the communications and outreach and assisted in programmatic activities for the Youth Transitions Collaborative (YTC) at The HSC Foundation. The YTC brings together multiple organizations (50+) that focus on transition-related services, research, policies, and best practices to help young people with disabilities transition from adolescence to adulthood and school to work.
Before joining The HSC Foundation, Jessica was the project director research associate of The George Washington University’s HEATH Resource Center in Washington, D.C. The HEATH Resource Center has served as an online national clearinghouse on postsecondary education for individuals with disabilities. Jessica’s role focused on ensuring that the website and its publications were high quality and relevant to youth and young adults with disabilities, their families, and the professionals serving them. In 2015, Jessica graduated from the doctoral Special Education and Neuroscience Excellence program at The George Washington University. She concentrated her research in the area of youth transition related to postsecondary education for students with disabilities. Her dissertation examined the post-school outcomes (e.g., education, employment, and independent living) for students with learning disabilities who participated in a tiered transition program focused on career development in Washington, DC. She earned a M.A. in Transition Special Education from The George Washington University and a B.A. from The University of Tennessee.
Jessica began her career as the self-determination coordinator at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she provided technical assistance to general education and special education teachers and transition coordinators to implement the self-determination curriculum and career-planning approach in sixteen counties. Depending on the school system, the technical assistance ranged from staff development trainings to intensive interventions with data collection. She collaborated closely with transition coordinators and special educators from the pilot stage until the transition program was self-sustaining.