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Commitment to Employment for People with Disabilities: Nashville, TN

ARC of Tennessee - WorkFORCE Action Grant

The WORKgroup, a state-wide advisory group made up of over 30 members representing state agencies, advocacy and consumer groups, faith-based and community organizations, family members and people with disabilities, acts as the advisory group for the TN WorkFORCE project. With this group's assistance, the project has proposed the Employment First Initiative.

The Employment First Initiative states that individuals receiving services through the Division of Mental Retardation (DMRS) should be offered employment as the first "day service" option. While it is still possible to receive other services, employment will become the new primary service, rather than day habilitation, day treatment, community participation or personal assistance.

This is a strong movement to force the system to focus on employment, and discuss employment with all individuals entering the DMRS system. This movement will require that DMRS work in partnership with the TN Division of Rehabilitation Services and other stakeholders to develop information regarding resources for employment and disseminate it across the state. The projected outcome is that more individuals in the DMRS system will become employed in the community and have access to the supports they need to be successful.

For more information on the TN Employment First Initiative please contact the WorkFORCE project manager, Julie Huber, at

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