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Tennessee: The Power of Partnership

Highlights from the December 2011 Meeting of the Tennessee Employment Consortium

Jim Henry, Commissioner of the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD), outlines how DIDD will coordinate with the Disability Employment Initiative.

Susie Bourque, Assistant Administrator of Employment and Workforce Development at the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, provides an overview of the new $2.9 million grant.

Cherrell Campbell-Street, Assistant Commissioner of the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS), speaks about the Division's role in this statewide collaboration.

On December 14, people from across Tennessee gathered at the Northfield Workforce Development & Conference Center to learn about the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI), the new three year grant of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD). Hosted by the South Central Tennessee Workforce Alliance at Northfield, a center that attests to the results of innovative alliances between the private and public sectors, the day highlighted the strength and potential of Tennessee's partnerships.

Susie Bourque, TDLWD's Assistant Administrator of Employment and Workforce Development, educated the audience about the grant's goals and objectives. Presentations from DIDD Commissioner Henry and DRS Assistant Commissioner Campbell-Street provided insight into how both agencies will coordinate efforts with the project. Three of the five Local Workforce Investment Areas (LWIAs) that will receive DEI funding shared their perspectives on this new opportunity to bridge the gap between people with disabilities and employment.

Advocates, workforce experts and providers showcased best practices and real-world solutions. Presentations ranged the gamut from Benefits to Work to coordinating employment resources to braided/blended funding strategies. The message of the day was clear, "Together, let's get Tennessee to work!"