Member Spotlight: Mary Cerretti
Meet Mary Cerretti. As a special education advocate, she firmly believes that all people with disabilities can work if given a chance. She has high hopes that a recent law that was passed will help fill the gap for people with disabilities looking for employment. When she’s not busy advocating, Mary enjoys playing games and vacationing with her family. We’re so fortunate to have her as a member of the Employment Network!
What kind of work do you do? Where do you work at?
Mary is an Advocacy Specialist at Disability Rights Wisconsin. She’s on the Schools and Civil Rights team where her primary role is a special education advocate. She attends IEP meetings to help students and families understand their rights. She also provides trainings and helps people with disabilities understand their right to vote.
Mary began advocating after learning special education law while advocating for her son and she began to help area families. Then while working in adult long-term care--particularly regarding employment--she felt there needed to be more opportunities for students during transition. She felt that with the right supports and services and increased peer interaction, students would have those experiences as well as the confidence to know they can do anything.
Tell us some good news: what’s the most exciting thing happening for you or for people with disabilities who want to work?
Mary feels there have been some big strides made with employment options for people with disabilities, and she is really hoping that the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) will help fill the gap for the high schoolers who want to work jobs like their peers.
What employment tip or resource would you like to share with people who want to work?
Mary encourages people to never allow anyone to tell you that "you can't" do something. “Whether it's continuing education or wanting a better job, or whatever your employment goal is...anything is possible,” she says.
What message would you like to share with the members of the Employment Network?
Mary says, “the most important thing to remember, regardless of role, is to stop limiting someone to jobs the rest of us don't want.” She points out that people with disabilities do amazing things when someone believes in them and gives them an opportunity. We need to make sure those opportunities are being given!
What’s your dream vacation?
Every couple of years, Mary’s parents take all six of their children, along with their spouses and kids, on vacation. “Wherever my family trip happens to be is where my dream vacation is,” she says.
What are some of your hobbies?
In her spare time, Mary enjoys doing things such as bowling, throwing bags, and playing Progressive Rummy with her family.
***We love hearing the views and opinions of Network members. We need to mention that the views and opinions expressed on this site are those of the person who is sharing them. They do not necessarily reflect InControl Wisconsin or any of our supporters and funders.