The TennesseeWorks Workgroups are a collaborative effort of the TennesseeWorks Partnership Members. Our mission aligns with the broader mission of the Governor’s Employment 1st Task Force.  Click here for more information on Employment 1st. The full list of Employment First Task Force members is located at the bottom of this page.

Read about the goals and contact person for each workgroup:

Agencies and Policymakers

  • Improve employment related policies to make competitive employment the first choice
  • Strengthen cross-agency connections, communication, and coordination
  • Refine and integrate state-level data systems related to employment

For information and questions about this workgroup, please contact:
Elise McMillan

Families and Youth

  • Identify effective approaches for raising parental expectations for competitive work
  • Elevate employment-related aspirations of children and adolescents with disabilities
  • Reduce reliance on disincentives to work
  • Ensure all project activities reflect principles of self-determination, inclusion, and person-centered planning

For information and questions about this workgroup, please contact:
Janet Shouse

Employer Leadership Committee and Community Providers

  • Increase positive attitudes, awareness, and knowledge of employers about hiring and effectively supporting young people with disabilities in their local communities
  • Share strategies for strengthening school-business and provider-business partnerships statewide
  • Raise the commitment of provider agencies to vigorously pursue competitive work
  • Identify and address key concerns and support needs of diverse employers across the state
  • Equip natural partners across communities to support youth employment and to foster community support for inclusive employment
  • Design a statewide awareness and social media campaign focused on employment

For information and questions about this workgroup, please contact:
Lynnette Henderson

Michelle Halman


  • Address the quality of career development and transition preparation within public school systems and post-secondary programs
  • Equip educators, administrators, and others with the knowledge, skills, and commitment to implement research-based transition practices

For information and questions about this workgroup, please contact:
Erik Carter

Governor’s Employment First Task Force Members

  • Elise McMillan – VKC/TennesseeWorks
  • Wanda Willis – Council on Developmental Disabilities
  • Bianca Knight – Disability Rights Tennessee
  • Amy Gonzalez – DIDD
  • Jordan Allen – DIDD (Chair)
  • Barbara DeBerry – DIDD
  • Carrie Hobbs-Guiden – The Arc
  • Cherrell Campbell-Street – Vocational Rehabilitation (Chair)
  • Yovancha Lewis-Brown – Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Stephanie Connell Cowherd – UT CLEE
  • Susie Bourque – Department of Labor/Workforce
  • Gayle Feltner – VR Transition
  • Alison Gauld – DOE
  • Blake Shearer – DOE
  • Doria Panvini – parent advocate
  • William McMillan – self advocate
  • Christina Jones – DIDD and self-advocate
  • Dwayne Webb – St. John’s
  • Sue Karber – Mental Health
  • Abigail Dowell – TennCare
  • Bob Nicholas – Project SEARCH & TennesseeWorks
  • Lauren Pearcy – TennCare
  • Donna Goodaker – Progress Inc.
  •  Erik Carter – VKC/TennesseeWorks
  • Lynnette Henderson – VKC/TennesseeWorks
  • Jeff Fladen –NAMI
  • Michelle M. Jernigan – TennCare
  • Janet Shouse – VKC/TennesseeWorks
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone