Nicole Jorwic

Nicole JorwicDirector, Rights Policy

Nicole has demonstrated a commitment to working toward systems change that will create equal access, improved supports, and full lives for all individuals with disabilities, which is in alignment with the mission of The Arc. Nicole has served in various roles to this end, including her appointment as a Senior Policy Advisor and Manager of the Employment First Initiative in Illinois, where she collaborated to draft a statewide strategic plan to make Employment First the reality in Illinois. Prior to that appointment, Nicole served as the CEO/President of the Institute on Public Policy for People with Disabilities where she continued the Institute’s mission to improve the lives of people with disabilities and assisted the leadership of the state of Illinois in developing public policy driven best practices.

Nicole is also an accomplished special education attorney and an advocate for students with disabilities. In addition, she has written several articles and developed trainings in areas such as transition services for individuals with disabilities, early intervention, special education law and policy, and first responder training for police officers responding to individuals with disabilities in crisis situations. Nicole has served as a public policy consultant with Autism Speaks, working on issues related to integrated housing and competitive employment.

Nicole has a brother Christopher, who is 25 years old and has autism. Chris has always motivated Nicole in her work. Nicole discovered her passion for influencing public policy by diligently working with legislators in Springfield, IL to educate them on issues that impact the lives of individuals with disabilities and encourage them to support permanent solutions and through her work with the Institute and the State of Illinois. Nicole has been trained in the field working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities; she has been trained in the law, focusing her studies on education and disability related issues; and, through her affiliations, has been trained on advocacy issues that affect the intellectual and developmental disability community.

Nicole received her JD and Child and Family Law Certificate, from Loyola University Chicago. She received her in Recreation, Sport and Tourism with Honors from the University of Illinois.