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VGS Announces Three New Staff Members


Jessica Hardesty
Vocational Guidance Services
Director of Communications & Engagement | 216-881-6008


Vocational Guidance Services Welcomes Three New Members to Leadership Team

(Cleveland, Ohio, April 11, 2024) Vocational Guidance Services (VGS) is pleased to announce three additions to the organization’s leadership team. Susie Barragate, VGS President & CEO notes that each of these appointments are central to VGS’ strategic initiatives, “VGS has been supporting individuals with disabilities for more than a century, that history is only possible because we have been able to innovate. We are excited to have new members of our team who will help lead VGS as we continue to transform, diversify and strengthen our programming.”

Ellen Cherry has been named VGS’ Director of Development. She comes to VGS with 14 years of fundraising and donor management experience. Ellen will lead VGS’ efforts to diversify our donor base, build strong relationships with Cleveland’s philanthropic community, and strengthen the future of the organization.

Gretchen Millard will serve as Director of Vocational Services. Gretchen’s career in Vocational Rehabilitation services is vast, with experience in service delivery, program management, and data analysis. Gretchen will be an essential asset to the VGS Team, focusing on the provision of innovative and evidence-based programming and staff development.

Jason Weppelman joins VGS as Director of Program Development and Grants. Jason has worked extensively in workforce development for individuals with disabilities and comes with proven success in meaningfully engaging with corporate and employer partners. In his role, Jason will be a leader as VGS broadens and innovates our service model and programming.

Ms. Barragate added “We could not be more thrilled to have Ellen, Gretchen, and Jason on our team. In 2023, VGS served more than 900 individuals with disabilities in our own locations and with dozens of employers across Ohio – it’s exciting to think of what we will achieve in the future with new additions to our leadership team.”

About Vocational Guidance Services

VGS has a 134-year legacy of service to individuals with disabilities. Founded in 1890 to provide support to children bedridden at Cleveland’s Lakeside Hospital, VGS’ has provided education, vocational rehabilitation, job training, paid work opportunities, job placement and day programming to countless individuals in need of support.

The VGS mission is “Creating Pathways for individuals with disabilities to engage in the community, achieve greater independence, and attain employment.” VGS offers a comprehensive range of programming to meet the social, vocational, and employment goals of each person we serve. Our participants represent a wide array of disabilities, including cognitive, intellectual, physical, and developmental. The disability diversity of VGS’ participants requires VGS to operate responsive, flexible programming that helps participants meet their specific goals. All of VGS’ services and programs are provided at no cost to the individuals we serve and consider the individual goals and needs of each person. VGS’ Vision is for an inclusive community where each person with a disability reaches their full potential – which guides the organization’s staff, programming, and partnerships.

Learn more about VGS at