Al Condeluci, PhD

Al Condeluci, PhD

Keynote – Change, Challenge, and Opportunity

The notion of change is always present. Whether we want, need or must change, once we come to a point of frustration, we then find ourselves at the locus of change. Yet, the majority of services we currently offer have become systems unto themselves, or our personal patterns of behavior have become so deeply rooted in the existing paradigm, they are often resistant to change. This interactive presentation will look at the challenge of change, explore its elements and introduce a framework for managing the change process.

Al Condeluci has been an advocate, a catalyst for building community capacities, and leader in understanding social culture since 1970. Born and raised in the steel town of Pittsburgh, PA, still making his home there, Al received his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Youngstown State University, his Masters in Social Work and Ph.D. in Education from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1970, he worked as an attendant, caseworker, advocate, planner, program director and finally, CEO of Community Living and Support Services (CLASS) until his retirement in late 2018. CLASS is dedicated to its mission – working toward a community where each belongs. CLASS, under the 47 years of Al’s leadership, grew to become the third largest disability specific agency in Southwestern PA with a budget of $16 million and a staff and payroll complement of 400. CLASS was listed in the 50 “Best Places to Work” in Allegheny County, PA in 2007 and 2011.

Retiring from CLASS in 2018, Al is still associated with the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work and School of Health and Rehabilitation Science. In these academic roles Al teaches, supervises students, and serves as adviser and consultant.

Al has emerged as a national leader and consultant on human services and community issues. He speaks annually to national and international audiences reaching some 15,000 people each year. His books can be found here and have won praises and awards for their thoughtful approach to culture and community and are now used at many colleges, universities and in-service settings.

In 2008, Al organized the Interdependence Network (IN) when working on publishing a special issue in the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation. The article explored the impact of social capital and hypothesized how to address the high rate of social isolation among people with disabilities. IN is a collaborative effort between disability-based human service organizations from around the United States and Canada. The network was formed to explore the concept of social capital and community engagement and their role in the field of rehabilitation and in the lives of people with disabilities. Its purpose is to provide the rehabilitation community with a central repository of information in order to research, develop, evaluate and disseminate successful ways that the Interdependent paradigm of social capital can be embraced.

Over the years, the Interdependence Network has continued to regularly meet, research, and develop new and innovative approaches to include social capital building into services and supports. The IN member agencies have shifted their emphasis from a traditional rehabilitation approach, which relies heavily on teaching functional and adaptive skills (The Medical Model) to building and fostering social capital and social inclusion within communities (the Interdependent Model) as the primary strategy for enabling people with disabilities to become full members of society.

Along with his professional activities, Al is involved in a variety of civic volunteer roles. He is on the board of the Southwest PA Partnership for Aging, and other various community based groups. In 2018, Al received the Key to the City of Pittsburgh from Mayor William Peduto, the highest civilian honor that can be given to a citizen.

Al has lived his entire life on the family homestead of “Condeluci Hill.” Settled in 1917 by his grandfather, Antonio and honed by his father, mother, uncles, and aunts, “Condeluci Hill” is still home to many Condeluci families and was featured in LIFE MAGAZINE (Aug, 1996). Al still lives on the “hill” with his wife Liz. They have 3 grown children Dante (Heather), Gianna (Marc) and Santino (Valentina), and 2 grandchildren, Connor and Cameron.