Community Work Incentives Coordinators (CWIC)
Paul Connair, CWIC
Region*: Androscoggin, Oxford, Franklin
Paul was born and raised in southwestern New Hampshire. He has lived and worked in Portland since 2003. He initially joined DVS as an Employment Specialist in December 2013 to work for the grant-funded ASPIRE Vocational Assessment Project. When the grant ended in August of 2016, Paul left briefly but came back as a CWIC in February of 2017. He earned his B.A. in theology from Gordon College in 2001 and hopes to earn his MSW by 2029. He is passionate about seeing people live their best life and work in a career they love. When he is not working, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Carlie, and 2 dogs, Luther and Reesa.
Marissa Gianino, CWIC
Regions*: Knox,York and Cumberland Counties
Marissa joined Vocational Services in 2015 to satisfy her passion to empower people and influence social justice issues. Marissa graduated from University of Massachusetts Lowell in 2015 with an M.A. in Community Psychology and from University of Southern Maine in 2012 with a B.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in Communication.
Marita Leach, CWIC
Marita, an attorney by trade, joined MMC Department of Vocational Services as a Community Work Incentives Coordinator in September 2016. She graduated from the University of Southern Maine in 2008 with a double major in Political Science and Psychology. Marita earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Maine School of Law in 2011. She came to MMC with 5 years of experience working for a Social Security Disability Law Firm where she specialized in legal writing and research.
In her spare time, Marita enjoys spending time with her friends and family, traveling, reading, listening to podcasts, yoga, spin class, scrapbooking, and going to concerts.
Diane Luce, CWIC
Regions*: Penobscot, Piscataquis Counties
Diane Luce joined the WIPA team at MMC in January 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Southern Maine. Diane began her career as an In-Home Counselor in the Family Builders Program through the Aroostook Mental Health Center, working as a member of a 2-person team to provide short-term intensive services to families in crisis. During this time she also taught Parenting Effectiveness Training (PET) classes and worked closely with area agencies and school systems to coordinate services. Diane has also provided respite care services to families who have children with special needs.
Diane also worked for a number of years in the affordable housing industry as a Site Manager and Program Auditor. She wrote the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Compliance Manual for a nationally known and recognized property management company. During this time she also provided training to new staff, assisted the elderly and people with disabilities in securing housing and services, and received certification as an Occupancy Specialist, Senior Housing Specialist and Certified Assisted Housing Manager. Diane completed the Social Security Administration's required Community Work Incentives Coordinator training in February 2009.
Ken Nelson, CWIC
Regions*: Cumberland County
Ken joined the MMC Benefits Planning, Assistance and Outreach team and completed BPAO training by Cornell University for the Social Security Administration in 2005. In addition, Ken also obtained Community Work Incentives Coordinator certification in May 2008. Ken earned his Bachelor's Degree in history from the University of Maine - Machias.
Before arriving at MMC, he was a Claims Representative for the Social Security Administration. Prior to that, he worked as a Senate Staff Assistant for Senator Bill Cohen and for Senator Susan Collins for 9 years specializing in Immigration, State Department and Social Security issues. Ken is also the owner/operator of cottages on Lovejoy Pond in central Maine, a business that has been in his family for 60 years.
*Other Regions Served:
We serve the entire State of Maine.
Aroostook, Hancock, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Somerset, Waldo and Washington Counties are all served on a rotating basis by our expert team of CWICs.
Jennifer, a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, has worked in the field of supported employment since 1996. After obtaining her Master's degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Boston University, she worked as a clubhouse worker, supported employment and education specialist, and job developer. Recognizing the importance of housing assistance for people with disabilities, she then worked for three years in the field of public housing, managing self-sufficiency programs at a nonprofit housing agency.
Jennifer has managed Benefits Counseling Services at MMC's Department of Vocational Services since 2003. She has been trained in Benefits Planning by Cornell University and is a member of the Maine State Workforce Investment Board's Commission on Disability and Employment.
BCS Program Coordinator
Stephanie, a Licensed Social Worker, joined MMC Department of Vocational Services as a Community Work Incentives Coordinator in 2007. She completed the Social Security Administration's required Work Incentives Planning and Assistance training and developed a strong knowledge of work-related MaineCare rules and policy for people with disabilities. In 2014, Stephanie was promoted to Benefits Counseling Program Coordinator, taking on a quality assurance role on the team.
Stephanie has a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Management from the USM Muskie School of Public Service and a B.A. in Social Work from the University of New Hampshire. After graduating from UNH, Stephanie served two years in the AmeriCorps*National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), a volunteer program that sends teams of young adults around the United States to communities in need. Following NCCC, she spent two years developing and coordinating volunteer opportunities for students at Lafayette College.
Information & Referral CWIC
Noreen joined MMC Vocational Services in 2007 working first as an Administrative Associate supporting the work of Employment Specialists, then in September of 2011 joined the Benefits Counseling Team as the BCS Project Specialist. In February of 2017 Noreen became the Information & Referral CWIC. Noreen is the first point of contact for all new BCS clients and offers benefit counseling services to individuals who are not working but considering employment. Born and raised in Portland, Noreen has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and enjoys helping individuals achieve their goals.