Disability Mentoring Day Provides Career-Building Experiences for Delaware Students

NEW CASTLE (Oct. 14, 2019) – Nearly two dozen students with disabilities, including clients of the Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Developmental Disabilities Services and the Division for the Visually Impaired, will participate in career-building experiences during the University of Delaware’s Disability Mentoring Day on Wednesday, Oct. 16, at various locations in New Castle County.

The day will begin at the Courtyard Marriott-University of Delaware in Newark as 15 students from UD’s Career & Life Studies Certificate (CLSC) program and six from the Spectrum Scholars program will gather for a welcome breakfast and morning speaker. The students will hear from Anthony Pacilio, Vice President at JPMorgan Chase and Program Manager for JPMorgan’s Autism at Work program. JPMorgan Chase launched Autism at Work in July 2015 as a four-person pilot program to employ people on the autism spectrum. Since then, it’s grown to more than 150 employees in eight countries.

In September 2018, JPMorgan Chase partnered with UD and provided a 10-year grant to start the Spectrum Scholars program, which is administered by UD’s Center for Disabilities Studies. This is the first year the Spectrum Scholars students are participating in Disability Mentoring Day.

“The opportunity that Disability Mentoring Day provides these students to experience possible career paths and explore beyond a classroom is incredibly valuable,” said Governor John Carney. “As the students consider what is next for them, it’s important they have the chance to discover for themselves what their calling is, and just as importantly, what it isn’t, as they look to their future.”

Following the morning session, participants will take part in job shadowing experiences with employers in New Castle County before returning to the hotel for lunch and reflections on their experiences.

“Disability Mentoring Day gives our students a great opportunity to work with employers to learn the day-to-day responsibilities of particular positions and what education and experiences will help them prepare for a career in their chosen fields,” said James Sellers, Program Manager, Career and Life Studies Certificate program at the UD Center for Disabilities Studies.

Work sites that will provide job shadowing for the CLSC students are VCA Newark Animal Hospital, Early Learning Center at UD, Winterthur Museum and Library, Delaware Museum of Natural History, The College School, Short Order Productions Teakettica Graphic Design, Passport Health, Embassy Suites, You’ve Been Framed and DelDOT Canal District Terminal. The Spectrum Scholars students will be shadowing at UD Prosthetics Laboratory, Predictive Analytics Group and JPMorgan Chase.

“The benefits to the students, the businesses and mentors taking part in Disability Mentoring Day are countless,” said Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Cabinet Secretary for Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services. “Not only do the students get a feel for the employment options available to them when they are ready, the employers get a chance to see the potential benefits of having a diverse workforce.”

Disability Mentoring Day is a national program usually held in October during National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The University of Delaware Center for Disabilities Studies started the first Disability Mentoring Day in Delaware 10 years ago. Today, a collaboration of agencies have joined the center, including the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), the Department of Labor’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Department of Education, the New Castle County Transition Committee, DisabilityIN: Delaware and Easterseals of Delaware & Maryland Eastern Shore, in planning events.

The group is co-chaired by two young people with disabilities – Alyssa Cowin, an operations support specialist with DHSS, and Julia Hensley, who is working through Easterseals at Victory Fellowship Church.

In a change from recent years, the Disability Mentoring Day event for a group of Delaware high schools will be held in November instead of October to allow more time after the start of the school year for planning the event. Several New Castle County school districts will host their third annual Career Development Day on Nov. 20 at the Siegel Jewish Community Center in Talleyville.

About 70 students from Appoquinimink, Brandywine, Christina, Colonial, Red Clay and New Castle County Vo-Tech school districts, as well as the Delaware School for the Deaf and Independent Resources, Inc., usually participate in the Career Development Day. Past sessions have included how to be a self-advocate under the Americans with Disabilities Act, work readiness, Q&A sessions with people from various careers and social media matters.

DNREC showcases Delaware’s coastal and natural resources on Oct. 6 at Coast Day in Lewes

LEWES – Delaware’s coastal and natural resources will be featured from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 6 at DNREC’s Coast Day education tent between the Smith and Cannon buildings on the campus of the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment at 700 Pilottown Road, Lewes, DE 19958.

Coast Day is the university’s annual outreach event that attracts thousands of visitors from Delaware and throughout the region to showcase the latest in ocean science and conservation.

“Coast Day celebrates Delaware’s coastal resources and brings together partners who are committed to preserving our beaches, waterways, tidal marshes, farmland, upland forests, bay, and ocean for future generations,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “Coast Day visitors will get a close-up look into the science and technology that is being used and developed to help make important decisions about our natural resources in Delaware and around the globe.”

DNREC’s tent features the agency’s diverse programs that help conserve and protect Delaware’s natural resources and encourages public participation through hands-on activities and educational games that appeal to both adults and children. DNREC has exhibited at Coast Day since the event’s inception in 1976.

This year, a variety of DNREC exhibits with games and giveaways will highlight Delaware’s coastal and natural resources, including:
Shoreline and Waterway Management Section’s Dune Sign Contest winners display, floodplain mapping tool, and dredging survey

  • The Delaware Bayshore Initiative’s mini-theater and DuPont Nature Center’s touch tank
  • DNREC volunteer opportunities at the EcoCafe
  • The Delaware Shorebird Project
  • DNREC Recycling Program information and sorting activity
  • Outdoor Delaware magazine
  • Cape Henlopen State Park Nature Center and Fort Miles programs
  • Resources for the public on ocean science from Delaware Coastal Programs
  • Air quality monitoring equipment demonstrations
  • Information on bats and white-nose syndrome with audio of bat calls and videos from the Species Conservation & Management Program
  • Mosquito Control Section‘s tips for knocking out pests
  • Wetlands conservation activities for the whole family
  • DNREC’s Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances will provide information on Brownfields Development and Heating Fuel Underground Storage Tank Closure Assistance programs.

For more information on the event, visit https://www.deseagrant.org/coast-day.

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 49, No. 241

State wins federal grant to start special education administrator certification program

The Delaware Department of Education and the University of Delaware will launch a certification program for special education administrators as part of the state’s development of administrator pipelines.


The department won a federal grant worth almost $1 million over five years from the U.S. Department of Education to support the development of the Delaware’s Special Education Administrative Leadership (SEAL) Program. The shortage of appropriately trained special education leaders is problematic nationwide but even more acute in Delaware. Although a special education director certificate exists in Delaware code, only 42 percent of current directors hold the certificate.


“With no existing certification program in Delaware, we know this is critically needed in Delaware to prepare the state’s special education leaders for their ever-evolving roles and responsibilities,” Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said.


SEAL will be an alternate route to certification program for special education administrators that will be implemented and evaluated by the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Delaware. The program will reflect national standards for both educational leadership and special education administration. In parallel with the launch of the training program, the department will seek to revise the Delaware regulations to align the language to the competencies and expectations associated with the new SEAL Program.


The first cohort will begin in Spring 2020.


The approach to developing special education leaders combines general leadership training with very specialized training in the range of knowledge and skills required to be an effective special education administrator, with a particular focus on the application of knowledge through numerous experiential learning opportunities and ongoing professional development post-completion.


The project has four fundamental goals:

  • To design a special education leadership program that affords participants opportunities to deepen their knowledge and skills relative to both leadership and special education issues and administration;
  • To implement the program with four successive cohorts (totaling 55 participants);
  • To support program completers in providing leadership in special education contexts;
  • To measure the impact of the program on program participants, students and families, and educational systems.


Media contact: Alison May, alison.may@doe.k12.de.us, 302-735-4006

University of Delaware Provost Dr. Robin Morgan honored for service to agriculture

Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse presents Dr. Robin Morgan with the 2019 Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service to Delaware Agriculture.

Dover, Del. – Dr. Robin Morgan was recognized Thursday evening at the 48th Delaware Agricultural Industry Dinner with the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service to Delaware Agriculture for her commitment to agriculture through education, research, and encouraging the next generation of agriculturalists.

“I didn’t always understand agriculture. I was a molecular biologist,” said University of Delaware Provost Dr. Robin Morgan. “Somewhere along the way, I started caring so much about the people who raise food and the people who think about what this country needs and what the world needs. I got changed. I thought about what it really means to feed people and that we are what we eat and we are what we drink, and the value of all the things people do.”

Dr. Morgan was noted as encouraging the next generation of agriculturalists. She has made a difference in the lives of young people from 4-H to middle and high school agrscience students to the college students who she interacts with on a daily basis. She has earned numerous awards reflecting her commitment to youth, including the Honorary American Degree awarded by the National FFA Organization.

Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse recalled when Delmarva had the misfortune of having avian influenza in 2004 – a poultry disease never seen before in the United States. “Dr. Morgan asked what we were going to need to eradicate the virus, knowing what the economic impact of this devastating disease would mean to agriculture. I laid out everything we needed to combat it and she was ready to help,” said Scuse. “I remember asking Robin if she needed to get permission first [from the University]. She didn’t quiver in her offer and told me that she would worry about that later, let’s get done what we need to do.” Scuse attributed her can-do attitude and quick action as the main reason the disease was quickly squashed and did not spread to other farms, setting an example for national and international response to avian influenza.

U.S. Senator Tom Carper, Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse, and U.S. Senator Chris Coons congratulate Dr. Robin Morgan on her award.

There have been many changes in the agriculture industry since Dr. Morgan joined the University of Delaware as an assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences. Farmers are producing more food with less land. Computers have gotten smaller and precision agriculture is assisting farmers with production. Students are no longer going to college to learn husbandry and crop production – they are learning skills to use in brand-new careers in agriculture that did not even exist when Morgan began her career in 1985.

From her time as an assistant professor to full professor to dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources to now serving as the provost, Dr. Morgan has been able to witness these changes. She has been instrumental in moving education forward at UD in order to help students be employable after graduation in an agriculture-related field.

Morgan shared that even with all the positions she has taken on at the University, “that my heart is still in agriculture.”

The Agricultural Industry Dinner, in its 48th year, was attended by more than 400 people, including farmers, business leaders and elected officials. It is sponsored by the Delaware Council of Farm Organizations.

Past recipients of the Secretary’s Award include: Fifer Orchards (2018); brothers Richard and Keith Carlisle of Greenwood (2017); former MidAtlantic Farm Credit senior vice-president Kenny Bounds (2016); Farm Service Agency official Robin Talley (2015); Schiff Farms of Harrington (2015); farmers Laura Hill of Lewes and Barbara Sapp of Milton (2014); dairy farmer Walter C. Hopkins Sr. of Lewes (2013); then U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Michael Scuse, a former Delaware secretary of agriculture (2012); Delmarva Farmer Senior Editor Bruce Hotchkiss (2012); James Baxter of Georgetown (2011); brothers David, Ed and Robert Baker of Middletown (2010); Bill Vanderwende of Bridgeville (2009); and Ed Kee of Lincoln (2008).


Media Contact: Stacey Hofmann, (302) 698-4542, Stacey.Hofmann@delaware.gov

Governor Carney Signs Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act

New law will limit access to firearms for those considered a danger to themselves or others

NEWARK, Del. – On Monday, Governor John Carney signed the Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act alongside Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, Ashley Biden, Representative David Bentz, legislators, and gun safety advocates at the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware.

The Beau Biden Act, passed unanimously by the General Assembly, will help restrict access to firearms for those who mental health professionals believe present a danger to themselves or others. The Act, which takes effect six months after its signing, mirrors legislation championed by former Attorney General Beau Biden in 2013.

“I am honored to sign this legislation, and to help carry on Beau’s legacy and his commitment to protecting Delawareans,” said Governor Carney. “The Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act is important, common sense legislation – and one piece in a package of comprehensive gun safety reform that will help make our state safer. This law will ensure that law enforcement and health professionals are working more closely together to confront the issue of gun violence and mental health. And it will help keep firearms away from those who may pose a danger to themselves or others, while protecting due process rights, and ensuring continued access to important mental health services.”

“My son Beau always believed that there was room for common sense gun safety legislation. It is something he supported and worked for his whole professional career, including championing a nearly identical bill as Attorney General,” said Vice President Joe Biden. “While that bill came up short of passage before we lost Beau, he was always confident that we would move in the right direction. This bill will make the state of Delaware safer while safeguarding every Delawarean’s rights to due process. It is a fitting tribute to Beau’s legacy.”

“Delaware has taken a substantial step forward in addressing mental health and gun safety with this thoughtful, consensus-driven piece of legislation. The Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act balances due process and public safety in the ultimate effort to prevent senseless gun violence by keeping guns out of the hands of those who present a danger to themselves or others,” said Representative David Bentz. “It was an honor to stand with Vice President Joe Biden as Governor Carney signed legislation addressing an issue that meant so much to the Vice President’s son. I hope this legislation serves as a model for other states as they work through gun safety policies.”

“Delaware has a responsibility to take action on the gun violence epidemic. Today, we’re upholding that responsibility,” said Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry. “As policymakers, we have to have a good faith conversation about mental health and gun safety, but we also need to make sure that we protect due process and that we don’t perpetuate the harmful, stigmatizing myth that people with mental illness are dangerous. Two unanimous votes show that Representative Bentz struck that balance. His work on gun safety will save lives, and he deserves real praise for that.”

“The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence is grateful to those legislators on both sides of the aisle who were willing to work together to craft this important piece of legislation. This was a bipartisan effort that will protect people in our state who might pose a threat to themselves or others,” said Dennis Greenhouse, Chairman of the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence. “The fight against gun violence is not a partisan issue, and it does not stop here. As we continue into the final months of this session, we are optimistic that legislators will approach other common-sense gun violence bills before them with a similar commitment to action and willingness to work together to get things done.”


The Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act adds the following individuals to the list of persons prohibited from owning a firearm:

  • Any person who has been committed to a hospital for treatment of a mental condition.
  • Perpetrators of violent crimes who have been found:
    • Not guilty by reason of insanity;
    • Guilty but mentally ill;
    • Mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Those individuals have not been prohibited from owning firearms under Delaware law. The new law also requires health professionals to report to law enforcement anyone they believe presents a danger to themselves or others. Appropriate law enforcement agencies must then investigate – and may seek a court order to require individuals to relinquish firearms, if they are found to present a danger. The law, which takes effect six months after its signing, also allows affected individuals to appeal orders to the Supreme Court, and petition to have their firearms returned.

Click here to learn more about Governor Carney’s call for comprehensive gun safety reform.

Click here to watch the bill signing.

Click here for photos from the bill signing.