Our mission at Shift New Jersey is to empower individuals. We help individuals of all ability levels maximize their potential through job placement, skills training, college support, and case management. We further aspire to do our best on a daily basis to make the world a better place: to fight against bureaucracy, to push the status quo, and see things not as they are, but as they should be. Shift New Jersey was founded in September of 2012 by a teacher of students with special needs, who noticed a huge decline in services for students after their high school graduation.
Meet The Team
Pam is our Director of Support Coordination. She has experience as a PACT program coordinator for individuals with mental health issues and a vocational rehabilitation specialist. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Montclair State University. She is also fluent in Spanish.
Daniel Peltz, CEO, has a Master's Degree in Special Education from Montclair State University. His previous experience includes running a case management/ transition agency that helps adults with disabilities obtain employment and independence, as well as teaching students with emotional special needs.
Melissa is our COO. She is a certified school counselor with a Master's Degree in School Counseling from Montclair State University. She has experience as a counselor in public schools in Bergen County. She is also our college support specialist and oversees all employment services.
Yasmine is our Chief eXperience Officer focusing on Support Coordination. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the University of Akron. She is an experienced support coordinator and direct support professional for individuals with special needs.
Alisha is a regional supervisor. She has her Bachelor's Degree in Family and Child Studies with a concentration in family services. She has worked with Autism Speaks and has been an advocate for individuals with disabilities.
Monica has a Master’s Degree in Special Education, and past experience as a paraprofessional. She is the founder of the Saddle Brook Angels Sports League for individuals with special needs, and a religious education program. She is fluent in Spanish.
Matt has been a supervisor in the support coordination field for over five years. He also has previous experience as a vocational counselor and behavioral assistant. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Religion and Business from Eastern Nazarene College.
Carly has a Master's Degree in Social Work from Fordham University. She has previous experience as a psychotherapist, ABA therapist, and teacher's assistant
Irina has a Master's Degree in Social Work from Fordham University. She has previous experience as a day program clinical coordinator, a staffing coordinator for a home health care company, and as a direct support professional. She is also fluent in Spanish.
Nora is our Chief eXperience officer focusing on Administration and Logistics. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from SUNY Binghamton. She has past experience as a crisis counselor in New York.
Mayra is a regional supervisor. She has a Bachelor's in Education and Public policy from Penn State University. She has previous experience mentoring individuals with Down Syndrome, and has been involved in programs that champion the causes of underprivileged youth. She is also fluent in Spanish.
Kelsey has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She has previous experience as a coach for the Special Olympics of NJ, and as an admissions counselor for a mental health organization.
Jaclyn has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from NYU, and is a Licensed Social Worker (LSW). She has past experience as a teacher’s aide, and as a peer facilitator.
Mushaheeda has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Kean University. She has previous experience as a manager at a DDD day program and a teacher's assistant.
Christine has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from William Patterson University. She has previous experience in applied behavioral analysis and is a registered behavior technician.
Nicole is our Chief eXperience Officer focusing on Supported Employment. She has her Master's Degree in School Counseling and is a certified counselor. She has prior experience working with individuals with disabilities in public schools in Essex County.
Janine is a regional supervisor. She has a Master's Degree in Public Welfare and Child Advocacy from Montclair State University. She has experience advocating for underprivileged populations in many settings including as a parent liaison, court appointed mentor, substance abuse advocate.
Karla is our north office manager and a job coach. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from William Patterson University. She has previously worked as a direct support for individuals with significant developmental disabilities.
Erica has a Master's Degree in Social Work from Monmouth University. She has previous experience as a behavioral support specialist, program supervisor, and leading social/emotional group therapy sessions.
Sabrina has a Bachelor's Degree in Family and Child Studies from Montclair State University. She has previous experience as a child advocate and teacher's aide. She also speaks Spanish.
Nicole has a Master's Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Rutger's University. She has previous experience as a direct support professional, behavioral health counselor, college mentor, and vocational counselor.
Heather has a Bachelor's Degree from Ramapo College. She has previous experience as an academic coach and a project manager.
Christina has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Montclair State University. She has previous experience as a mental health and crisis counselor.
Gabriella has a Bachelor's Degree in Human Development from Binghamton University. She has previous experience as a job coach for the visually impaired.
Vincent has a Bachelor's Degree in English from St. Thomas Aquinas College. He has previous experience as a teacher's assistant and job coach, as well as in professional writing.
"I’ve been working with Dan for about 5 months now. I still struggle with anxiety each day, and I still have many uncertainties about life. But I have now had a job for over 3 months, I just finished my Associate’s Degree, and am on course to finish my Bachelor’s Degree in the next 3 semesters. I finally feel confident enough and self-sufficient enough to move out and live on my own, and Dan is working with me now to make the process of finding a place less daunting." - TK
"Dan was a wellspring of positive energy. He worked with me to confront my fears and helped me to figure out what I needed to do to get back to living my life. He was a constant source of ideas and encouragement and helped me gain back confidence in myself. It was invaluable to have someone to lean on who was able to talk with me after even the worst of days and filter the experience into an action plan on how to get back on track." - JB
"When my son Michael graduated from high school in June 2012, my husband and I were understandably concerned about what he would do next. He is bright and funny, but has ADHD and spent almost his entire high school in a very supportive, but sheltered and highly structured environment. He had decided that he was not ready for college, but had no real idea of what he was ready for.
Shift Transition is a program that was exactly what he needed. The focus for Michael was basically, what to do next and how to do it. Teenagers frequently don’t heed parents’ advice and resist being directed, and Michael is no exception. Although as parents we realized that he needed to find a job, think about future educational plans, and learn to be self sufficient, helping him to realize these goals was, and continues to be, a major challenge. The Shift Program has been immensely helpful in moving him toward these goals.
The program has helped Michael in several areas. First he worked on identifying areas of difficulty in social interactions and plans and techniques for addressing these. This tied into his learning how to apply for a job and be interviewed by a prospective employer, including sample questions/responses and practice interviews. He also learned how to write a resume and letters thanking the interviewer. He, with the help of Mr. Peltz, applied for several positions and got a job as a delivery man for a restaurant, where he is still currently employed.
He was also assisted in exploring educational opportunities at Bergen Community College, introduced to the Special Services department and began to learn how to advocate for himself to get the assistance that he needs. He is currently enrolled part time and plans to continue taking courses on a part-time basis while working. Management of financial affairs was addressed in some detail, and Michael opened his own bank account and has a debit card that he is using responsibly. Exploration of the complexities of apartment hunting, leases and costs helped him to start understanding the responsibilities and financial commitments involved with living self sufficiently.
The program was individualized throughout to meet his specific needs, and Mr. Peltz made himself readily available to discuss questions that Michael had and offer advice and support in many instances. I feel that Shift Transition has helped my son tremendously through a very difficult transition that is still evolving, but now doesn’t seem nearly as frightening and daunting to him as it did when he first left high school. I would strongly recommend The Shift program to any young adult who feels that they could benefit from any of the aspects that are offered. I feel that one of the major strengths is that the program works with the individual, and this helps tremendously in developing their sense of self sufficiency, separate from the parents, which, after all, is what we all are hoping for." - Dr. J
Dear Shift NJ,
When we first started this journey with Alex last year, we where so overwhelmed and afraid of what it would be like after her graduation. We had heard such horror stories from other families about how it took months to get anything done, and how hard it was to connect with anyone. That it would be weeks between calls or emails. (Sadly, we are still hearing that from some people)
You have been, to coin Alex's favorite phrase, AWESOME. I was freaking out that we hadn't been assigned a support coordinator earlier. (we sent in our paperwork requesting Shift in Dec.) I thought for sure that when she graduated in June everything would still be up in the air and our lives would be insane. I have never been as happy to have been wrong!!!.
You listened to what we thought would be best for Alex, visited programs with us to see if they would be a good it. Spoke to the different program coordinators and got ALL the paperwork put in place in time for her to start her programs by the end of June (even transportation). And you return calls and emails more quickly than I do.
We are humbled and very thankful that you were assigned to us. You even turned the fact that you are new to this (as are we) into a positive. We love that you want to learn, and open to ideas and always willing to find the answers to our many questions. You care about our daughter, and that means the world to us. We have referred you to a family that lives close to us, and we are telling everyone about Shift.
We can't thank you enough for the care you have shown to Alex and Fred and I. You and Shift have made what we thought would be a nightmare, well I would like to say a dream :), but I will say into a pleasant experience.
If you ever need a reference for another family, call on us!!!.
Thank you again and have a wonderful rest of the summer.