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Curtis Richards is Director of the Center for Workforce Development at the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL). He is a nationally-recognized leader in the disability community and serves as the lead technical assistance provider for the National Collaborative on Workforce & Disability for Youth. Richards served three years under the Clinton Administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the U.S. Department of Education
Before trekking to Washington, Richards was Chief Consultant to the California State Assembly's Budget Committee, where he guided strategy for legislative discussion, modification, and adoption of a state-spending plan. As he did for several years, Richards held specific budget responsibilities for key programs and departments serving people with disabilities. And, from 1991 to 1995, he served as an Assistant Director for Consumer Affairs in the California Department of Rehabilitation.
Richards has been honored for his work in the disability field. Among his awards are: a 2000 Certificate of Appreciation from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, a 1999 Disability Rights Activist Award from the California Foundation of Independent Living Centers, and the 1997 Lanterman Award from the California Association of Postsecondary Education and the Disabled.