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Guest Speaker Nancy Gurney

Nancy Gurney, President and CEO of Opportunity Services., LLC. Gurney started Opportunity Services about 30 years ago. Since then she’s grown the nonprofit organization into a three-state service provider, matching people with developmental disabilities to jobs in the private and public sectors. Besides providing leadership for her own organization, she is a consultant for the White Office Disabilities Outreach Team and the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor. Opportunity Services was Wy Spano’s client years ago, and he is working for them again. Gurney provided leadership in Minnesota 30 years ago for the movement to close the state hospitals which, in those days, was where persons with mental and physical developmental disabilities were sent. Gurney is now providing leadership nationally on a new wave of integration for developmentally disabled persons, the shift from “sheltered workshops” providing jobs for the developmentally disabled to integrated 8 long term employment where persons with disabilities are part of the regular work force and are not segregated. Gurney and Spano will discuss together what Opportunity Services wants to see happen in Minnesota and we’ll help the class understand the strategies behind making happen what they want to have happen. This is intended to provide students with a realistic window into how policy change and advocacy at the professional level works.