About Marc Gold & Associates

Marc Gold & Associates (MG&A) is a network of training consultants who are disability professionals specializing in the area of employment and community participation for persons with significant disabilities. MG&A was founded in 1976 by Marc Gold, a professor at the University of Illinois. This organization has provided consultation, staff training and project management to systems, organizations, families and individuals with disabilities throughout the U.S. and Europe to scores of states, hundreds of agencies and thousands of individuals. In 1981, MG&A managed a state-wide employment project in Mississippi that was to become a critical component of our state's emerging supported employment services. Following Dr. Gold's death in late 1982, a group of employees purchased the company from his estate and have evolved into a dynamic network that continues to provide cutting-edge information and capacity to the disability field. MG&A has been a Mississippi-based organization since 1983. 

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MG&A's timeline of events

1976    MG&A was formed by Marc Gold at the request of Ed Roberts to do training in California.

           California Project was started in 1976 – two-year duration.

1978   Georgia Project was started – two-year duration.

1979   Ohio Project was started – four-year duration.

1980    Motorola Project was started in Austin, TX.  This was the first workplace implementation of Try Another Way.  Five additional large corporations joined this CETA-funded employment initiative between 1980 – 1982.

           Marc Gold contracts lymphoma and begins treatment.

1981    Mississippi Project was started – one-year CETA-funded employment project.

1982    Marc Gold dies on December 22, 1982.

1983    MG&A was purchased from Marc’s estate by eight former employees as a “C” corporation.

1987    The formal structure of MG&A was dissolved.  MG&A became the DBA for Michael Callahan.

           Getting Employed, Staying Employed was published by Brookes Publishing.

           Early work on the Vocational Profile Strategy was initiated.

          Michael Callahan and MG&A began a 13-year partnership with United Cerebral Palsy Associations, lasting until 2000.

1988    MG&A began using the term “Negotiated Supported Employment” and developed a process that would later be referred to as Customized Employment.

1992    Former trainers from the Ohio Project met in Columbus, OH, with MG&A and conceptualized the Seven Phase Sequence.

1996    MG&A coined the term “Discovery” to replace the phrase, “The Vocational Profile Strategy”.

2000    MG&A formed a non-profit entity, Employment for All. 

2010    Contracted by University of South Florida to develop a webinar-based certification for university students.

2012    Contracted by SourceAmerica to provide training and technical assistance for the Pathways to Careers initiative, a paid internship-to-work project focusing on Customized Employment outcomes.

           Developed an in-house performance-based certification program for Discovery.

2013    Began offering performance-based certification in Discovery in Pennsylvania contracted by the Arc of PA.

2014    Began offering performance-based certification in Customized Job Development in PA and in various locations across the US.

2015    Developed and began offering performance-based certification in Systematic Instruction and Job Site Supports in PA and various locations across the US.           

2016    Received a contract from WINTAC and Y-TAC technical assistance centers to develop a draft for the Essential Elements of Customized Employment.

           Received ACRE certification in Supported Employment.

2017    Delivered the draft Essential Elements of CE to WINTAC and Y-TAC.  The final version was presented to RSA in April.

           Held a MG&A gathering on Systematic Instruction in Urbana, IL.

2018    Held the 10th Annual Discovery Retreat in Ocean Springs, MS.

           Received ACRE certification in Customized Employment.

2019    Announced a 3 ½ year transition of ownership of MG&A from Michael Callahan to Therese Fimian. 


Our Organizational Capacity

Founded in 1976 by Dr. Marc Gold, MG&A has provided quality training, consulting, grant management and advocacy services designed to assure the complete community access of all individuals with disabilities. Upon seeing a training demonstration by Dr. Gold at a conference in Los Angeles, Ed Roberts, director of vocational rehabilitation services in California and later the founder of the World Institute on Disabilities, asked Marc to start an organization that could train human service throughout that state. This marked the origins of MG&A. Following statewide training projects in the late 1970's in California, Georgia, and Ohio, MG&A shifted its focus to employment. The organization, under Dr. Gold's guidance, joined other innovators to pioneer early examples of supported employment beginning in 1979 and continuing into the next decade. The primary areas of focus of MG&A over more than three decades have been on systematic instruction and employment. 

Marc Gold contracted lymphoma and died unexpectedly in late 1982. Eight members of the organization purchased the rights to the name and intellectual property of MG&A in 1983 and the next phase of the organization began with Michael Callahan as president. During the 1980's MG&A focused primarily on training an amended version of Dr. Gold's Try Another Way approach to systematic instruction that had been tailored to meet the need of persons in supported employment jobs in the community. In the late 80's MG&A shifted from a corporate structure to a sole proprietorship owned by Callahan. New associates were added as the employment field shifted from demand-based supported employment to negotiated customized employment. 

During the 1990's, MG&A forged new pathways to employment for individuals with the most significant impact of disabilities. Having developed the concept of the vocational profile while at Syracuse University in the '80's, Callahan and his colleagues conceived the Discovery process as an alternative to traditional comparative assessment procedures that often excluded individuals the significant disabilities from employment. Also during this time a process for developing negotiated, customized jobs in the community was developed. MG&A worked extensively in Texas to assist the state agency serving persons with intellectual disabilities to reform its employment services in anticipation of a state-wide Medicaid waiver. MG&A partnered with United Cerebral Palsy Associations to implement national initiatives in the areas of personal budgets, self-determination and utilizing the emerging workforce system as a viable source of support for employment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

The decade of 2000-2010 saw a continuing growth by MG&A of concepts designed to enhance access to employment for all persons with disabilities. In 2000, MG&A assisted in the formation of a sister, non-profit organization, Employment for All. New associates were added as a result of this partnership. In 2001, the newly formed Office of Disability Employment Policy of the US Department of Labor used strategies developed by MG&A to develop, officially, the strategy of Customized Employment. MG&A worked with the states of Alaska and Michigan to implement their projects funded by ODEP on Customized Employment as well as with numerous other sites as a technical assistance provider for the National Center on Workforce and Disability, the national technical assistance center for the ODEP CE projects. During the following years, MG&A emerged as a clear leader in developing and then training concepts that would enhance access to employment through CE. In 2003 the US Social Security Administration contacted the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services with an offer to fund a major Youth Transition Demonstration if MG&A would be included in both the management and technical assistance. This six year initiative allowed MG&A to embed customized employment and systematic instruction strategies within a nationally-significant transition projects for students with significant disabilities. 

Beginning in 2007, MG&A began to work with several states on their Medicaid Infrastructure Grants (MIG), particularly in Wisconsin and New York where statewide initiatives on Customized Employment have been developed with MG&A's assistance. Most recently, MG&A has joined the newly formed Southeast TACE to provide employment training and consultation to the state rehabilitation agencies in the eight states in the southeast region of the TACE network. In December of 2011 MG&A in coordination with South East TACE coordinate implemented a Transition Conference within the TASH conference. Due to the live streaming vocational rehabilitation staff, providers and families were able to attend both in person and virtually. MG&A for the last four years has sponsored a discovery retreat where people from across the country attend for four days to learn about discovery, customized employment and how to effectively implement the process. Each attendee leaves with relevant forms, power points and "how to guides" on a flash drive. This information allows attendee to effectively implement customize employment approaches when they return home in a consistent manner. 

In addition to the Discovery retreat MG&A consultants meet to review to all their training materials and discuss how to ensure that all information is presented in a cohesive and consistent manner. Throughout the decades, however, a common thread for MG&A's services has been systematic instruction based on Gold's Try another Way approach. This timeless strategy remains critical to the success of all employment efforts for persons with significant disabilities. MG&A is the lone steward of Marc's enduring work on instruction. The core concepts have been continually, but carefully, updated to reflect the most effective and respectful means to assist individuals with disabilities to perform critical tasks in a quality manner.