Updates from the TN Council on Developmental Disabilities
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month!
Expect Employment: Report to the Governor from the Employment First Task Force
On September 16th, Governor Haslam announced the completion of the Employment First Task Force report. The report provides an overview of progress made in expanding integrated and competitive employment for people with disabilities over the past year while outlining a set of goals to pursue over the next year. The task force members include representatives from the Departments of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Human Services/Vocational Rehabilitation, Labor and Workforce Development, Education, Mental Health, TennCare, the Council on Developmental Disabilities, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, Disability Law & Advocacy Center, service providers, family members and self advocates, and other disability advocacy groups.
*Check out our new issue of Breaking Ground!
Please also visit our Breaking Ground archive to view past issues of our publication
The TN Council and the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) were selected in 2013 to participate along with 6 other states in a national ‘Community of Practice’ to think, learn and strategize about the next generation of services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
Participating states/districts in the "Supporting Families Community of Practice:
As this project moves forward, the Council and DIDD will be working together to educate Tennesseans about this major intiative and priority in our state. It is a priority for us to hear from family members, individuals with disabilities, and other advocates to inform our activities and priorities of this project. We are asking families and self-advocates to help us learn about the following...
The Council and DIDD distribute a monthly e-newsletter highlighting different core values and concepts of the "Supporting Families" framework each month - you can sign up for that e-newsletter here or email email@example.com to be added to our mailing list.
More tools, resources and information related to the Supporting Families project:
You can also stay updated by "liking" the Supporting Families Facebook page, visiting the project's homepage and the Tennessee state page at supportstofamilies.org or contacting the Council at 615-532-5368 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Tennessee Employment First Leadership Academy
The Tennessee Employment First Leadership Academy was a 4-day training September 4 and 8, 2014, created by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) and the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities. This training was designed to train people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities to be leaders in advocating for better employment options and outcomes for people with disabilities in Tennessee. We believe that people with disabilities should have real jobs with real pay, just like workers without disabilities.
For more information, email email@example.com or call 615.532.6556.
Project SEARCH Launch in TN
The Council is launching 9 new Project SEARCH sites in each of the state's development districts over the next few years to promote early employment experiences for students with disabilities.
The state kickoff event was held in November 2013 in Murfreesboro with Vocational Rehabilitation staff, Local Education Agency staff and DIDD provider staff from each region proposed for the first year of this new program. As of summer 2014, Metro Nashville/Davidson county and Memphis/Shelby County sites are set to begin enrolling students for job training in the fall of 2015. Plans for developing this program in Rutherford county and two additional sites across the state (to be determined) are also currently underway.
The Council’s Project SEARCH initiative targets students with intellectual & developmental disabilities in their last year of high school. Between 90 and 100% of the participants complete the program and are offered a job. The investment in students as they finish high school makes the most efficient and effective use of the student’s education and fulfills a business need in our communities.
To learn more about Project SEARCH or to view videos of students participating in Project SEARCH job sites, visit www.projectsearch.us. For more information about Project SEARCH in TN, contact Alicia Cone at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-253-1105.
Special Report to the Community
View the Council's 2011-2012 Annual Report, which describes the purpose of the Council and the work that it does throughout Tennessee. Click here to view it as a PDF.
Click here for descriptions of the many projects and demonstrations supported by the Council on Developmental Disabilities.
The Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities is an independent office in state government funded through the federal Developmental Disabilities Act. The Council works to ensure that Tennesseans with developmental disabilities are independent, productive, and included in their communities.