Meet the Team

Forward thinkers with diverse expertise and experience.
Patricia Henke Director

Patricia Henke, MS, CRC

Patricia is the Director of the Colorado Office of Employment First.

Previously, Patricia was the supported employment program manager at the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and has 25 years of direct and program management experience focused on employment of people with disabilities.

Outside of work, Patricia is likely to be found at the baseball fields, hiking, fishing, or skiing with her son. She also enjoys visiting her family in Louisiana.

Contact Patricia Henke at

Tiffany Cron Profile Picture

Tiffany D. Cron, PhD

Tiffany is a Data Analyst/Curriculum Developer/Trainer specializing in Person-Centered Thinking.

Previously, Tiffany was a program director at a program approved service agency in Northern Colorado and has over 14 years of experience providing services and support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Outside of work, Tiffany enjoys spending time with her husband and their two kids as well as baking cakes.

Contact Tiffany Cron at

Brian Dean, Customized Employment Program Developer/Trainer

Brian Dean, MA, CRC

Brian is a Program Developer/Trainer specializing in supported and customized employment.

Previously, Brian worked at DVR as a rehabilitation counselor and as a supported employment program coordinator and trainer.

Outside of work, Brian enjoys  trail running throughout the Colorado mountains and spending time with his family.

Contact Brian Dean at

Melanie Honsbruch, Curriculum Developer/Trainer

Melanie Honsbruch, CPWIC

Melanie is a Curriculum Developer/Trainer specializing in benefits counseling.

Melanie brings 16 years of experience as a Community Partner Work Incentive Coordinator providing information to service professionals and Coloradans with disabilities and their families about how work and various life choices interact with benefits.

Melanie is a kickboxing instructor, enjoys hiking and spending time with friends.

Contact Melanie Honsbruch at

Portrait of Vanessa Lehman

Vanessa Lehman

Vanessa is the Program Assistant.

Vanessa has six years of experience in the provider world with much of that experience as a Supported Employment Manager. She was also the Administrative Unit Supervisor for the department of Health Care Policy & Financing before coming to COEF.

Outside of work, Vanessa enjoys spending time with her husband and six-year-old son. You can find Vanessa and her family spending time outdoors with their two dogs, Aspen, and Laredo.

Contact Vanessa Lehman at

Deirdre Sage, Curriculum Developer/Trainer

Deirdre Sage, MSW, LCSW

Deirdre is a Curriculum Developer/Trainer specializing in Individual Placement and Support (IPS). 

Prior to joining the office, Deirdre worked as an IPS practitioner and supervisor and has 14 years of experience in the area of behavioral health supported employment.

Deirdre enjoys roller skating, performing with her band, and taking summer and fall road trips.

Contact Deirdre Sage at

Portrait of Joleen

Joleen Schaake, MBA

Joleen is the Associate Director of Finance and Accounting.

Joleen has been a finance and accounting professional for over 25 years in public education and state government. She has served as a Finance Director, Budget Director, and CFO in both school districts and BOCES. Most recently, she served as the Deputy Director of Finance for the Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Outside of work, Joleen enjoys hiking, going to the beach, and spending time with her two daughters and the newest member of her family, her grandson.

Contact Joleen Schaake at

We believe Colorado’s communities are strengthened when
all people are able to participate fully in the workforce.

A State and University Collaboration

COEF is a multi-year contract between JFK Partners and DVR.

JFK Partners

Corry Robinson Rosenberg, PhD, RN and Sandra Friedman, MD, MPH are the co-principal investigators for COEF.

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

COEF staff are housed with DVR at the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

The Colorado Office of Employment First sits under JFK Partners, the state’s University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, a program of the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Its creation was envisioned by Colorado Employment First Advisory Partnership (EFAP), a multi-state agency and stakeholder-led collaborative, and was made possible, in part, by funding from the Colorado Legislature and generously matched through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) at the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE).

© 2020 Colorado Office of Employment First. All Rights Reserved.

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