Connie Willoughby was promoted to Vocational Manager at The Arc Southern Maryland. In her new role, Connie is furthering The Arc’s mission in Charles County to “create opportunities for independence and personal success for individuals with different abilities in inclusive communities.” Connie manages a team of vocational staff who dedicate themselves to finding employment and volunteer opportunities for the 200+ people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) whom The Arc supports.
Connie began working at The Arc in 2009 as an Employment Team Specialist. She has since developed a passion for advocacy and she leads The Arc’s People on the Go (POG) group – comprised of individuals with IDD – to facilitate their self-advocacy efforts. POG of Calvert has since become active with their members in legislative sessions in Annapolis, advocating for the ABLE Act, IDD training for law enforcement, and raising wages for direct care workers.
The Arc has recognized Connie’s work and passion for advocacy. “Connie has the innate ability to identify the strengths of her team and the people she supports. This enables her to attain the highest level of success,” says Director Ron Mould. In 2011, Connie received a Humanitarian Award, followed by a Meritorious Service Award in 2013. Connie successfully completed Virginia Commonwealth University’s eight week course focusing on customized employment. Connie also participated in The Arc’s leadership training, graduating from the program in 2014.
In 2016, Connie became a certified instructor through Maryland’s Police and Correctional Training Commission to teach law enforcement officers “Understanding Core Characteristics of IDD” with self-advocates. She has since taught over 230 law enforcement and corrections officers about interacting appropriately with individuals with IDD in a variety of scenarios. Because of this program’s success, The Arc SOMD is now meeting requests from throughout the state of Maryland to implement this training in other regions.
Connie holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Coastal Carolina University.