What is TennesseeWorks?
TennesseeWorks is a dynamic partnership of multiple organizations and agencies in Tennessee committed to increasing competitive and integrated employment for young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Read all about TennesseeWorks here.
Who should use this site?
Anyone interested in strengthening employment opportunities and outcomes for young people with disabilities in Tennessee will find our site valuable. We have resources for young people, educators, employers, employment professionals (such as vocational rehabilitation counselors and job coaches), families, and community leaders.
Visit our Downloads page to see suggested resources for each of the above groups.
How can transition educators and disability professionals increase employment outcomes for young people with disabilities?
There is no one-size-fits all answer to this question. Many factors influence job opportunities. But research tells us certain steps make a real difference. These areas are listed below. Click on each one to learn more.
- Communicate high expectations from an early age
- Develop a thoughtful, person-centered transition plan
- Find and connect young people with disabilities to early work experiences
- Teach skills, behaviors, and attitudes that contribute to workplace success
- Draw upon natural supports and resources in the community
- Understand all financial and work incentives
- Design a high school transition program that reflects best practices
- Understand the system of organizations and agencies in Tennessee that help young people find and succeed in the workplace
- Help your communities value and support the contributions of young people with disabilities in the workplace
Does it make good business sense to hire people with disabilities?
Yes! People with disabilities can bring diversity and innovation to the workplace. Creating an inclusive workplace culture benefits all employees and a better bottom line.
Don’t just take our word for it. Check out these resources to learn why it makes good business sense to hire people with disabilities.
How can young people get early work experience?
Young people can gain exposure to the world of work through a variety of avenues. See some suggestions below and click here to read more.
- Participate in a short-term job shadowing experience
- Connect to a mentor in preferred profession
- Attend a job fair
- Secure a summer job
Who can help Tennesseans with disabilities find good jobs?
Numerous organizations and agencies in Tennessee provide some type of employment support to people with disabilities. The Arc of Tennessee has developed a comprehensive resource, The Arc Secondary Transition Handbook, that details postsecondary supports and how to best access those supports beginning on page 25. The handbook includes information on Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), Tennessee Career Centers, and the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD).
For more information on resources in our state, visit the Navigating Systems page.