Thomas P. Golden (86) is the Associate Director of the Employment and Disability Institute (EDI) in the ILR School at Cornell University and a professor in the area of disability studies. He has been on faculty since 1991 with his practice, research, teaching and publication focusing to date in four primary areas: social insurance policy and its relation to return to work and greater economic independence and self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities who receive public benefits and entitlements; national and global disability and employment policy; transition planning for secondary education students with disabilities to live, learn and earn in their communities; and, organizational development, transformation and systems change with an emphasis on facilitating diverse and inclusive communities.
Since 1993, Thomas has secured close to $20,000,000 in federal and state grant sponsorship at Cornell. He is a contributor to the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) at EDI focused on Employer Practice as well as past two RRTCs focused on Economic Research on Employment Policy for Persons with Disabilities as well as the Disability Statistics and Demographics Center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education’s, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Thomas has provided extensive training and organizational development support on expanding the usefulness of existing work incentive programs and collaborating more effectively with the current federal/state and private vocational rehabilitation community—receiving an award in 2004 from the Consortia of Administrators for Native American Rehabilitation (CANAR) in appreciation for devoted service to their mission to improve the quality of life for American Indians with disabilities.
On an international front, under the sponsorship of the Rockefeller Foundation and with the support of the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the U.S. Department of Labor, Thomas was a joint investigator on a comparative analysis of return to work policy and practice in the United Kingdom and United States which culminated in an International Symposium hosted by the G.W. Bush White House. He completed an international comparative study for the Government of Ireland’s Health Services Executive, and most recently he presented at the III Congresso Brasileiro de Pericia Médica Previdenciária. Continuing his collaborations with the ILO this past summer, he worked with the United Nations’ (UN) Inter-Agency Support Group for the Conference on the Rights of People with Disabilities to launch a distance learning program in Geneva, Switzerland to aid developing countries in transforming segregated services and supports to more inclusive practices for citizens with disabilities. On a U.S. policy front, Thomas completed three terms on the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Advisory Panel in Washington DC under appointment from both President William Jefferson Clinton and Senator William Frist. He has been called on multiple times to provide testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Social Security Subcommittee—his contributions in the area of social insurance resulting in him receiving three commendations from the Commissioner of Social Security. Thomas was also accepted into membership of the National Academy on Social Insurance in 2004.
From a public service perspective, Thomas is currently the President of the National Association of Benefits and Work Incentives Specialists, Board member of the Global Applied Disability Research Network (GLADNET) and an ENC Trustee, serving as Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee. Thomas and his wife, Janel (Haas, 89), currently direct corporate worship at Grace Church of the Nazarene in Horseheads, NY and served in the same capacity at the First Church of the Nazarene in Waverly, NY from 1990 to 2007. In the past Thomas has served on the Board of the U.S. International Disability Council, Board of the National Council on Rehabilitation Education, served as Past-President for the Association of Educators of Community Rehabilitation Personnel and served on the Upstate New York Church of the Nazarene District Advisory Council. From 2003-2010, Thomas served as a member of the New York State Rehabilitation Council—serving as Chairperson in the final two years. For his efforts, he received an award from the New York State Education Department for Outstanding Leadership in 2010. Thomas and Janel reside in Waverly, NY with their three children—Sophie (16), Kaleb (12), and Josiah (9). After receiving his BA degree in psychology from ENC, he completed his graduate work in Rehabilitation Counseling at Syracuse University. He is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and is completing a doctorate in Human and Organizational Learning at The George Washington University in Washington, DC.