DIDD’s councils collaborate on issues affecting not only the department but providers, families, and advocates. They play an important role in the development and improvement of DIDD programs and policies.
Through their collaboration, the councils have put together several resources that could be useful to persons supported, families, providers, and others in the IDD community. While these are not required to be used, we hope the information and tools found within this page can be used as a resource for Tennesseans with disabilities and our provider community.
Tennessee Disability Pathfinder
Tennessee Disability Pathfinder (“Pathfinder”) helps people with disabilities, their family members, educators, and other professionals find and access resources, support, and services available to meet their needs.
The Tennessee Disability Pathfinder website has valuable information with resources covering a wide range of relevant topics including financial assistance, legal matters, direct care and much more. Through the website, users can tailor their search to be as broad or as narrow as they’d like using criteria such as Stage of Life, Topic of Interest, Diagnosis, Benefit/Payment Options and Service Area.
Visit tnpathfinder.org for more information and to find disability resources.
Resources for Families and People Supported
A manual created by the West Tennessee Planning and Policy Council to help families, Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), and people with disabilities understand what residential support options there are and what quality indicators they need to look for in residential supports.
A toolkit created by the West Tennessee Planning and Policy Council to assist Tennesseans with disabilities living in West Tennessee find reliable transportation.
Resources for Providers and Staff
Toolkit created by the East Tennessee Planning and Policy Council with resources for people considering a career supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as a Direct Support Professional. It also includes resources for current DSPs and leadership.
Training created by the TEIS Early Intervention Resource Agency Advisory Council for EIRAs onboarding new employees.
The TEIS EIRA Training is not required by the department but we hope EIRAs across the state find it as a useful resource as they onboard new employees.
Resources for Employers
National Statistics on the Employment of People with Disabilities
• Conclusion: People with disabilities are a largely untapped resource to meet employer workforce needs.
Benefits of Hiring People with Disabilities
• A 2020 study by Accenture reports that companies led by executives who are focused on disability engagement are growing sales (2.9x) and profits (4.1x) faster than their peers.
Employer Tax Incentives
• Tennesseeworks Fact Sheet on Section 503 non-discrimination regulations and regulation requiring Federal contractors to have 7% of their workforce be people with disabilities.
• Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)
• Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Resources to Assist Employers to Recruit, Train and Retain Employees with Disabilities
• Tennessee American Jobs Centers (Disability Resource Coordinators)
Tennessee has a network of centers across the state, simultaneously servicing both employers and job seekers alike. Companies find ideal workers while candidates receive vital career information and services. All 95 Tennessee counties are served by an American Job Center with qualified staff.
• Tennessee Department of Human Services Vocational Rehabilitation Program
Connect with a local Business Employment Consultant (BEC) to customize recruitment efforts for your position vacancies. These staff work directly with businesses throughout Tennessee, but are locally based, and will offer the following services to address your specific recruitment needs
• University of Tennessee, Center for Literacy, Education & Employment
Services from CLEE to businesses include: resources to enhance diversity in the workplace, information on business tax incentives, disability Awareness Training, marketing business job announcements, referral of qualified job candidates, assistance with job accommodations.
• Windmills: Harness the Power of Inclusion
The Windmills disability awareness training program equips business leaders with the knowledge, skills, and tools to create an inclusive workplace where all employees have the opportunity to thrive. The interactive training modules address real-world situations faced by businesses every day. This training is offered at no cost to businesses and organizations. To schedule a training, please email DIDD.Employment1st@tn.gov
• Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
• You may search for DIDD Employment Services Providers here: DIDD Provider Directory
• Employment and Community First CHOICES
Stephanie Potter, Employment Specialist
Tina Jones, Employment Specialist
o United Health Care
John Camperlino, Statewide Employment Manager
• Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN)
• Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
• Knoxville Area Employment Consortium (KAEC)
• Chattanooga Area Employment Consortium (CAEC)
• Workplace Initiative
Examples of Successful Partnerships in Tennessee to Support Employers to Recruit, Train and Retain Employees with Disabilities
• Project SEARCH Transition and Adult Programs
o TennesseeWorks Fact Sheet on Project SEARCH Adult Program at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and the University of TN Medical Center
o Project SEARCH Knoxville Video
o Tennesseeworks Fact Sheet on the Transition Project SEARCH program at Embassy Suites Hotel in Murfreesboro
o Project SEARCH site at Blue Cross Blue Shield TN, Chattanooga
Hear from Jobseekers and Employees with Disabilities
Resources for Public Servants and Emergency Responders
As a part of the Exit Plan in the People First of Tennessee, et al., v. Clover Bottom Developmental Center, et al. lawsuit, DIDD developed informational materials for law enforcement officers. The materials are designed as an introduction to intellectual and developmental disabilities and the role of the Protection From Harm Investigations Unit.
Topics covered include: prevalence of intellectual disabilities, recognizing a disability, positional and aspirational asphyxiation, as well as specific strategies for law enforcement officers to use when encountering people with intellectual disabilities who might not respond like a typical person would. Another section of the materials details how DIDD investigators conduct investigations and interact with law enforcement. The informational material is the basis for presentations to officers, supervisors, and investigators at gatherings across the state.
You can watch the presentation on the department's YouTube channel at this link.
You can download and read a PDF version of the informational materials at this link.