Working With Disability: Building a Truly Inclusive Vermont Labor Force

June 30, 2021 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Carra Cheslin

As we emerge from the pandemic, what are our opportunities to build a truly equitable workplace? The potential of people with disabilities to contribute fully in work and social life is unrealized, even after a half a century of pushing for access to employment and other civil and human rights.

Join VBSR, Sarah Launderville of Vermont Center for Independent Living, Julie Lowell of Public Assets Institute, Ben Wimett of the Center on Disability and Community Inclusion/Vermont Assistive Technology Program, and Jen Kimmich of The Alchemist as we discuss opportunities and challenges to realizing full inclusion in the workplace.

This interactive workshop will:

  • Detail what working with a disability looks like in Vermont, including the barriers and challenges that persist, grounded in research by Public Assets Institute and stories of employers and employees with lived experience. Read the Working With Disability Report here.
  • Create inclusion. Workshop participants will share what inclusion practices their businesses already have in place, and what practices need to be implemented to create full inclusion. Conversations will be moderated by members of the disability advocacy community.

Registration for this workshop is free for both VBSR members and non-members to attend.

Closed captioning via live transcription will be available during this workshop. The workshop will take place virtually, and the details to join the workshop will be sent via email to all who register, in advance of the event.

Questions? Please reach out to VBSR Education & Events Manager, Carra Cheslin, at


Meet Our Workshop Presenters:

Julie Lowell, Ph.D.
Policy Analyst, Public Assets Institute

Dr. Julie Lowell came to Public Assets after working at Vermont Works for Women for four years, as both a program evaluator and a direct service provider. She has worked directly with survivors of domestic violence, families experiencing homelessness, and women exiting correctional settings, informing her advocacy at the state level to positively impact policy for individuals living in poverty.

Julie has a PhD in Social Policy from Brandeis University, with a focus on asset distribution and inequality. Her research examined the impact of federal and local housing policy on family well-being for families living in poverty. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Women Studies and Health and Society from University of Rochester. Julie currently lives in South Burlington and loves spending time with her husband and two kids, her large extended family, baking, being outdoors, and playing ice hockey.


Sarah Launderville
Executive Director, Vermont Center for Independent Living

Sarah Launderville is the executive director for the Vermont Center for Independent Living and the president of the Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights.






Benjamin Wimmett

Ben Wimett
Assistive Technology Specialist, University of Vermont

Benjamin is passionate about human services related work especially pertaining to working with those with disabilities and those who experience poverty and come from broken homes. Benjamin can connect with anybody from kindergarten to retirement age to help them achieve their goals and overcome barriers and boundaries with a little work.

Benjamin also has a passion and a wide variety of knowledge in various aspects of the IT industry and has a small business out of his home optimizing and fixing primarily software related issues on both Windows and Macs.


Jen Kimmich

Jen Kimmich
Co-Founder and CEO, The Alchemist

Jen Kimmich is co-founder and CEO of the Alchemist Brewery, a certified B Corporation. With her husband John, she founded The Alchemist as a Waterbury brewpub in 2003. Building on the wild success of the pub and their beers, the team began canning Heady Topper in Waterbury in 2011, and opened their Stowe brewery in 2016, where it serves as a model of sustainable water use in brewing. In July, 2020, The Alchemist released their action plan to dismantle systemic racism in their business and community (

Jen founded and serves as board chair of the Alchemist Foundation, which is a place-based nonprofit focused on expanding economic and educational opportunity for young Vermonters.

Jen is extremely active in public policy and a passionate advocate for working Vermonters and the environment. She has frequently testified in Montpelier and on Capitol Hill. She has served on a wide variety of boards and committees, including VBSR’s Public Policy Committee & Clean Water Advisory Council, Vermont’s Workforce Development Board, the Vermont Council on Rural Development, VPIRG and Main Street Alliance Vermont.