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FRIDAY, MAY 10, 2024
Education Service Center Region 11
1451 South Cherry Lane

Fort Worth, TX 76108
9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m.

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At our Job Fair, you'll have the opportunity to visit with a variety of employers who are seeking full-time, part-time, intern, and/or volunteer positions. In addition, we offer breakout sessions that cover job-related topics to ensure your employment success. You'll also have the chance to practice hands-on job sampling opportunities, with service organizations on hand to provide resources and materials for those who are unemployed or underemployed.


Complimentary lunch provided with advanced registration.  Register here.

We welcome you as an Employer at the CapeAbilities Job Fair and thank you for your commitment to an inclusive workforce! Register here.

9:00 a.m.
9:30 - 10:10 a.m.
Hiring Fair and 1st Breakout Session
10:20 - 11:00 a.m.
Hiring Fair and 2nd Breakout Session
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Hiring Fair
BREAKOUT SESSIONS (subject to change)
  • Job Readiness & Interviewing Skills:  This session will focus on preparing for employment, regarding Interviewing, employer expectations, and work rules Participants will learn the do’s and don’ts of interviewing and have an opportunity to answer common interview questions and receive immediate feedback. Presented by Ryan Appleton and Ryan Cole

  • Skills for the Future:  Both soft skills and independent living skills are the key to employment success. Participants will be able to identify essential skills needed to be successful in any workplace or home environment.  Exercises will be provided to engage participants in demonstrating appropriate work and independent living behaviors. Presented by Brad McDaniels

  • Looking for Employment: Participants will learn more about their inner circle, how to network and find jobs. Additionally, they will learn how to make a plan to get a job: who, when and how to contact potential employers. Presented by Lucy Gafford

  • Problem Solving on the Job:  Participants will discuss one of the most valuable assets that employers like to see in employees: problem-solving.  They will discover ways to improve their problem solving and how effective communication is key. Presented by Rachita Sharma

  • First Impressions Matter:  Learn about the importance of first impressions in professional and personal lives.  Attendees will practice skills such as introducing themselves, shaking hands and making small talk in ways that project a positive self-image.  Presented by Paula Fuller


  • Disclosure and Self-Advocacy:  To advocate for oneself, a person needs to understand their disability and what assistance they need to accomplish identified tasks.  This session will help with the participant understanding different types of disclosure, as well as determining what to disclose.  Presented by: Denise Catalano


Certificates of Attendance Available.


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Lucy Gafford


Lucy is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor with a master's degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from UNT. She was previously employed by the state VR agency in Texas for 11.5 years where she served as a transition vocational rehabilitation counselor, a unit program specialist, and an area manager. In her time with Vocational Rehabilitation, she participated in many committees and task forces including the DARS Transition Taskforce and the Texas DRS Leadership Academy. Currently, Lucy is the director of UNT WISE, a training and consultancy program housed in the College of Health and Public Service at UNT. Training and mentoring staff continues to be a passion, so she has served as an adjunct professor for the department of Rehabilitation and Health Services for the past decade. Lucy also enjoys working with businesses to improve diversity initiatives in relation to hiring people with disabilities and serving on the Advisory committee for UNT’s Neurodiversity initiative to improve post-secondary outcomes for neurodivergent students. 


Rachita Sharma

University of North Texas

Dr. Rachita Sharma is currently the Chair of the department of Rehabilitation and Health Services at the University of North Texas. As a Clinical Associate Professor and the Clinical Director of the UNTWELL clinic she supervises the clinical training of graduate and undergraduate students. She earned her Doctoral degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, her Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling Psychology from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and her Bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Psychology from the University of Texas at Dallas. As a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor in the state of Texas and a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Dr. Sharma has extensive experience working in the field of mental health and disability adjustment. Her research focuses primarily on areas addressing mental health, disparities and barriers in access to treatment services, and provision of culturally competent services and training. Dr. Sharma conducts numerous presentations annually in national and international conferences focusing primarily on ethics, self-care, and Mindfulness. 

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Denise Catalano

University of North Texas

Denise Catalano is an Associate Professor who has been at UNT since 2006. She is the Project Director for a Rehabilitation Services Administration Long-term Training in Rehabilitation Counseling grant, which provides scholarships to students interested in working for the federal/state vocational rehabilitation system. She’s been a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) since 2002 and worked for several years as a vocational rehabilitation counselor for the State of Wisconsin before obtaining her doctorate degree in Rehabilitation Psychology.

Her research has primarily involved exploring factors contributing to resilience among individuals with a significant disability but currently is involved in several projects designed to improve transition outcomes among individuals with intellectual / developmental disorders. She is a past- President of the National Council on Rehabilitation Education, and past-Chair of the University of North Texas Faculty Senate. Dr. Catalano is also the Director for the Health Sciences doctoral program in the Department of Rehabilitation and Health Services, and Coordinator of the Applied Aging and Rehabilitation Sciences concentration of the Health Sciences doctoral program.

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Ryan Cole

Ryan graduated from the University of North Texas with his master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling in August of 2012 and he is credentialed as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) and a Certified Employment Service Professional (CESP). Ryan strives to make a difference in other people’s lives. He is motivated and knowledgeable in helping people with disabilities achieve their vocational needs based off of their needs, skills, abilities, and interests. Ryan has a strong background assisting individuals with disabilities with employment services. He was previously a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), and he is well versed when it comes to networking with employers, developing partnerships with businesses, and providing disability training. He provided job placement and supported employment services for Quest Employment Services for over 5 years. Ryan was also a crucial part in the development and implementation of training programs for people with disabilities such as the Walgreens REDI program and Project Search.

Although Ryan is well versed with a variety of disabilities, Ryan’s true passion lies in his strong understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders from his time working at the DFW Center for Autism, Easter Seals North Texas, and the Autism Treatment Center. He looks forward to serving his community and assisting others in the pursuit of empowerment and independence.

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Ryan Appleton

Ryan graduated with his master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of North Texas and is credentialed as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC). Ryan comes to UNT WISE after working seven years as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the state VR agency. In his current role Ryan works as a Sr Trainer and Program Specialist working in developing summer programming and community engagement. Ryan enjoys teaching others and takes pride in his ability to bring people together for a common goal. His motivation is for every person to be able to share the same life experiences, no matter their ability.

Prior to his career in VR, Ryan worked in sales within the financial sector for various institutions including General Electric (GE).

Ryan and his wife, Stacey, live in Denton and have two boys, Charlie, and Jake.

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Brad McDaniels

Bradley McDaniels is an assistant professor and program coordinator for the Rehabilitation Studies program in the Department of Rehabilitation and Health Services at the University of North Texas. Brad earned his PhD from the University of Kentucky, and after graduating, completed a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in the School of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University focusing exclusively on Parkinson’s disease.

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Paula Fuller

Paula's idea of fun as a child was pretending to be "the teacher" with her four younger siblings. Little did she know this past time would grow to become a career path.

Paula Fuller is a Sr. Program Project Coordinator of the University of North Texas – Workplace Inclusion & Sustainable Employment program (UNT-WISE). With extensive experience in training, facilitation, and program development, Paula has been a professional educator and trainer for multiple years. Her specializations include utilizing data and instructional technology to drive program development.

Paula's passion for empowering neurodivergent and under-represented populations is a driving factor in her professional career. Even while serving as a consultant for educational and non-profit organizations, she strives to enlighten and empower individuals to pursue their highest goals with grit and tenacity.

All of Paula's higher education degrees and accolades are in education including her Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies and Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Prairie View A&M University and Doctor of Education in Adult Learning and Leadership from Kansas State University. One of her proudest accomplishments was assisting in producing an innovative type of degree in Texas– an Associates in Occupational Life Skills.

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Dylan Rafaty

Dylan M. Rafaty is a navigator, influencer, and disability rights activist committed to serving all people with disabilities in the cross-disability community. Because of his family roots, Dylan continues to devote his love for cultural diversity in communities since birth and is deeply well- connected across the globe due to his character, kindness, love for people, and passion.  He is a transformational leader, social entrepreneur, author, start-up executive who works across multiple industries and sectors in the United States and parts of the world to bridge alliances and collaborative partnerships. Dylan serves on many executive boards, including serving as Vice-Chair of the Texas Governor’s Committee for People with Disabilities and the Director of the United States International Council on Disabilities.  It’s because of these roles that he values the importance of lifting communities, organizations, businesses, academic and government entities thrive while opening doors of new opportunities including gaining access to services so all people can have an overall, better quality of life.

Dylan’s successes include bringing in new, innovative ideas to the table, merging organizations, mediating, and bringing communities together to create systemic change for a common goal, creating successful events and advocating on numerous fronts with key legislators while building and maintaining new relationships. Lastly, in 2020, Dylan was inducted into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame, named 2020 Oticon’s Focus on People Advocacy Award Winner, 2021 Dallas Business Journal’s Leaders in Diversity Award honoree, and 2021 Plano Chamber of Commerce’s Rising Star Award winner.  Dylan proudly works and a resident of Plano, Texas. Dylan is a special education graduate of Plano ISD, earned his A.A. degree at Collin College, B.S. degree in industrial and organizational psychology at the University of Phoenix, and the M.A. degree in dispute resolution program at Southern Methodist University.

Thank you to our Sponsors for supporting the CapeAbilities Job Fair!

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  • Amerigroup, An Anthem Company

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  • Cook Children's Health Plan

Presented by:

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(available day of event)
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