Research Associate

Areas of work: Direct support workforce, Employment, Families, Long-term supports and services, Person-centered planning and practice, Positive support, Self-advocacy, Social inclusion

Contact information

phone: +1 612-626-7322

Inst on Community Integration Room 214A PtH 150 Pillsbury Dr SE Minneapolis, MN 55455


Kelly Nye-Lengerman, PhD, is a Research Associate at the University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration (ICI). Kelly's work is focused on making public policies and systems work for people through research, training, technical assistance and advocacy. Her work supports the full inclusion of individuals with disabilities in community life. Some of Kelly's current research projects include Promoting Readiness in Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) TA Center, Think Work, Learn the Signs Act Early (LTSAE) initiatives, and the College of Direct Support (CDS). She is also involved in a number of other community and research projects as part of the Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC/CL) focused on workforce development, person centered practices, and evaluation.

Kelly speaks nationally at conferences and events promoting a vision of inclusion and community for all citizens, and has published a number of journal articles, technical reports, and book chapters. She is the co-author of a soon to be published book titled: Community for All: Community Living and Participation for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental. Recently, Kelly served as an expert wittiness and testified before the U.S. Senate's Special Committee on Aging on "Supporting economic stability and self-sufficiency as Americans with disabilities and their families as they age."

Kelly has extensive experience in program and workforce development, employment services and supports, and program evaluation. Kelly has broad range of professional experience working for disability provider organizations in both community and facility based employment programs. Her interests include inclusive employment practices and policy, interdisciplinary collaborations, early screening and identification disabilities, poverty, and Autism. Kelly is the past president of the MN Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE), and currently serves as the Treasurer. She also recently joined the National APSE Board of Directors. Kelly is involved with the MN Employment First Coalition, and MN Employment Learning Community. She is also a licensed graduate social worker (LGSW) in Minnesota.

Kelly received her PhD and MSW from the University of Minnesota's School of Social Work. Her dissertation focused on Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) service usage and employment outcomes for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Kelly is a graduate of the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities. In 2016, Kelly was the recipient of the Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) young professional award and APSE's "Got Mike" Educational Leadership Award.




Offers a suite of competency-based, online curricula for professionals providing services to people with intellectual, developmental, physical, and psychiatric disabilities, and to older adults....

In collaboration with: Center for Personal Assistance Services, University of California, San Francisco, Elsevier, Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts Boston, Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion for Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities [Philadelphia, PA]


PROMISE Technical Assistance Center

Implements and completes the evaluation activities for the AUCD PROMISE (Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income) Technical Assistance Center, including evaluation...


"Learn the Signs, Act Early" Outreach Work

Develops and expands on the MN Help Me Grow and the Institute's Act Early work in culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Act Early is building a national network of agencies,...

In collaboration with: MN Help Me Grow, St. Mary's Health Clinics, Consulate of Mexico in St. Paul, United States, Ecuadorian Consulate General in Minneapolis, United States, Minnesota LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities) Program


ThinkWork: Research and Training Center on Advancing Employment with IDD

Defines an evidence-based integrated model for employment support of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities (IDD) that incorporates research and practice on effective practices and includes...

In collaboration with: Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts Boston


Twin Cities and Zambia Disability Connection (2016-18) [Archived]

Builds upon the earlier work of Twin Cities and Zambia Disability Connection (2008-2009), expanding and developing knowledge of disability services and supports across academic, provider, and...

In collaboration with: Fraser [Minneapolis, MN], Opportunity Partners [Minnetonka, MN], St. David's Center for Child & Family Development [Minnetonka, MN], The Arc Greater Twin Cities


ICI Engaged Department Grant Program [Archived]

Creates an infrastructure to grow and develop ongoing community engagement, and to facilitate new initiatives and promote engaged learning on community based action research. In doing so, ICI hopes...


Waiver Reimagine

Conducts focus groups among stakeholders in Minnesota about Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) and disparities among underrepresented groups in HCBS. The resulting information will lead to...


Effects of Competency-Based Training for Direct Support Professionals on Organizations, Learners, and Service Recipients [Archived]

Uses a standardized competency-based training program to assess the extent to which training directly linked to validated skills and knowledge needed by Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) affects...


Review of Effective Measures, Instruments and Programs for Research on Inclusion, Self-Determination and Well-Being of Persons With Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (ID/DD) [Archived]

Assessed current measures and instruments on participation and community living. It provided comprehensive identification, review, and assessment measures related to participation and community...


Multi-Site Study of Employment Interventions [Archived]

Assessed the relationship between employment customization strategies and vocational outcomes. It also validated a training and mentorship approach for improving the skills of Direct Support...

In collaboration with: Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts Boston


Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC-CL)

Conducts a wide range of research, training, and technical assistance and dissemination projects related to community supports under its center grant and related project funding. The RTC-CL is...

In collaboration with: Center on Human Policy, Syracuse University, Human Services Research Institute, Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts Boston, National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services


Twin Cities and Zambia Disability Connection (2008-2009) [Archived]

Provided advanced leadership training in disability advocacy, policy, and services for a delegation of nine government officials, missionaries, educators, and advocates from Zambia in southern...

In collaboration with: The Arc Greater Twin Cities, Fraser [Minneapolis, MN], Opportunity Partners [Minnetonka, MN]


Minnesota Employment, Training, and Technical Assistance Project (MN TAP)

This is a project funded by the Minnesota Department of Human Services designed to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities. As part of the project, the Institute for Community...

In collaboration with: Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts Boston


LEND Brief: ASD and Culture

Formats: PDFPublished: Spring 2015