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.

Brian Dean, Customized Employment Program Developer/Trainer

Brian Dean, MA, CRC

Brian is a Customized Employment Program Developer/Trainer.

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.

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.

Teresa Nguyen, Curriculum Developer/Trainer

Teresa Nguyen, MPH

Teresa is a curriculum developer/trainer specializing in transitioning youth, families, and healthcare and has lived experience as a woman with a disability.

Previously, she was a program officer at the US Department of Health and Human Services and served as a subject matter expert for disability and health care system initiatives.

Teresa enjoys traveling, being in nature with her dog Mylo, cooking and reading.

Deirdre Sage, Curriculum Developer/Trainer

Deirdre Sage, MSW, LSW

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.

Jennifer Stewart, Jennifer is a Department of Education Liaison/Contractor

Jennifer Stewart, MPP

Jennifer is a Department of Education Liaison/Contractor supporting the school system.

Previously, Jennifer was the statewide transition director for Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and has worked with young adults with disabilities over the past ten years providing vocational counseling, program development and evaluation.

Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family in Colorado and going on adventures with her husband, two kids, and dog.

Aryn Taylor, Grant Writer, Analyst, and Evaluator

Aryn Taylor, MA, CRC

Aryn is the Grant Writer, Analyst, and Evaluator.

Previously, Aryn was a training coordinator with the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation where she also worked as a rehabilitation counselor and counseling supervisor. 

She is a PhD candidate in Counselor Education and Supervision at the University of Arizona.

Outside of work, Aryn enjoys hiking and camping with her husband and their dog.

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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