Nat’l Council on Disability Applauds Maria Town’s Appointment as Associate Director to the Office of Public Engagement at the White House

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WASHINGTON -- The National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency that advises the President, Congress and other federal agencies on disability policy, applauds the appointment of Maria Town to the post of Associate Director in the Office of Public Engagement at the White House. In this position, Town will manage the Office of Public Engagement's disability and Federal agency portfolios. Maria’s position will be permanent and is not a “detail” or temporary placement.

Prior to her appointment in the Executive Branch, Town was a Policy Advisor at U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). While at ODEP, Maria’s led or coordinated numerous efforts to improve employment outcomes for youth and young adults with disabilities. She has particular expertise in areas of youth development and leadership and promoting college and career readiness for all youth. In addition to her work within ODEP, throughout her public service Town has made significant contributions to coordinating youth efforts across the Federal government.  She began her tenure at ODEP in September 2010.

Before moving to Washington, DC to work in public service, Maria graduated from Emory University in Atlanta, GA with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology.  At Emory, Town was a Community and Diversity Fellow at the Emory University Office of the Provost where she aided in oversight, policy formulation, program development, and management of the Center for Women, the Office of Disability Services, the Office of University – Community Partnerships, and the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs.  She also served as the University-wide Student Government Association President.

In addition to her disability policy work, Maria is the creator of the popular “CP Shoes” blog where she regularly writes about fashion, design, and disability. She has spoken at a variety of national and international venues on disability topics, including: the Society for Disability Studies, Mobility International USA professional Exchange in Jordan and the American Councils for International Education. She hails from Louisiana, where her family still resides.

“The National Council on Disability applauds Maria’s appointment as Public Engagement Advisor for the Disability Community for the White House,” said Rebecca Cokley, NCD’s Executive Director.  “Maria’s track record on bolstering youth with disabilities as they transition into the workforce and her demonstrated skill crafting career development opportunities in classrooms, fostering leadership for young people with disabilities, and building opportunities for inclusive volunteerism will serve the existing efforts of the White House on behalf of Americans with disabilities well.  We look forward to working closely with her.”

About the National Council on Disability (NCD): First established as an advisory council within the Department of Education in 1978, NCD became an independent federal agency in 1984. In 1986, NCD recommended enactment of an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and drafted the first version of the bill which was introduced in the House and Senate in 1988. Since enactment of the ADA in 1990, NCD has continued to play a leading role in crafting disability policy, and advising the President, Congress and other federal agencies on disability policies, programs, and practices.