Center for Rehabilitation and Employment Research

The Center for Rehabilitation and Employment Research conducts research, educates and trains, and provides employment, career, and rehabilitation services geared towards enhancing the employment and career development opportunities for groups of individuals that have been chronically unemployed and under-employed. These individuals include persons with physical, mental, and/or emotional disabilities, minorities, women, recipients of financial assistance, and individuals who are living in poverty. The Center’s interdisciplinary research approach focuses on how social, psychological, organizational, cultural, economic, and medical factors impact the employment and career development of the groups identified above. In addition to research, the Center provides employment and career development services to individuals in the Memphis area who are chronically under-employed or unemployed.

Services Provided

The Center offers a broad array of services including career counseling, career and vocational assessment, job readiness preparation, job placement services, and assistive technology assessment and training. All services are confidential and are consistent with guidelines and ethical standards of the American Counseling Association and the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. Accommodations are available for persons with disabilities. Please see our Services link for detailed information on the services we provide; see our Contact Us link to see where we are located and for information on how to reach us.


The Center receives funding from the following agencies and organizations. See our Related Links page for further information about these organizations.


Dr. Daniel Lustig, Ph.D, CRC, is the Director for the Center for Rehabilitation and Employment Research, as well as Professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Research at the University of Memphis. Prior to his current employment he taught at Auburn University in the Department of Rehabilitation and Special Education, worked as a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist with the Veterans Administration, and as a vocational evaluator with the State of Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation and the Milwaukee Center for Independence. Dr. Lustig is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and continues to provide vocational expertise in a consulting capacity to several local and federal agencies. Dr. Lustig has published over fifty articles related to topics in rehabilitation counseling.

Dr. Stephan Zanskas, Ph.D., CRC, is the Co-Director the Center for Rehabilitation and Employment Research, as well as Associate Professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Research at the University of Memphis. He earned his Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Counselor Education from Michigan State University. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Michigan and Wisconsin and a nationally Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. Dr. Zanskas has extensive experience as a rehabilitation counselor in private for profit, non-profit, and public employment settings. He has held employment as a work adjustment specialist, vocational evaluator, job placement specialist, hospital based rehabilitation counselor, chemical dependency counselor, therapist, vocational rehabilitation counselor, clinical supervisor and administrator. His research interests include psychosocial adjustment to disability, disability management, ethics, and professional issues.

Dr. Lavonnie Perry Claybon, Ph.D. is Director of the Mid-South Access Center for Technology at the University of Memphis where she is responsible for implementing, coordinating, and evaluating a comprehensive Assistive Technology program that provides services to individuals of all ages with disabilities. She and her clinical and rehabilitation staff also help train teachers to differentiate instruction for students with disabilities in an inclusive classroom environment in traditional and online classrooms For over 32 years, Dr. Perry Claybon has worked as an expert in the fields of education, human development, budgetary management, assistive technology, and professional development and training. She has presented at local and national conferences in her various fields of experience. 

Mary Washington, M.A. CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist with over 25 years of experience in various settings, including public schools, hospitals, clinics, and early intervention. She maintains a professional membership in the American-Speech-Language Hearing Association and the Special Interest Division 12, Augmentative-Alternative Communication. Ms. Washington earned her Bachelor of Science Education and Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Memphis.


Career and Vocational Testing

The Center offers comprehensive career and vocational testing that facilitates individual career development. The test results provide individuals and referral sources with comprehensive information useful in the career development process. Trained counselors conduct career and vocational testing. Individuals are actively involved in developing assessment plans tailored to meet their specific needs. Areas assessed may include aptitude, achievement, interest, and career decision-making.

Employment Services

The Center offers employment services to individuals who receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) through our Employment Network. SSDI beneficiaries receive individualized assistance through the following strategies: (a) vocational counseling to determine appropriate job possibilities, (b) job seeking skill training, (c) resume development, and (d) assistance finding and keeping a job.