Tennessee Department of Human Services Celebrates Disability Employment Awareness Month

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 | 12:17pm

Events across the state highlight the abilities of people with disabilities in the workplace

NASHVILLE – This month the Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is joining others across the state and nation in recognizing National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Inclusion Works is the national theme of the 2016 National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which highlights the contributions, the diversity and the impact people with disabilities make in the workforce. 

“People with disabilities provide a great contribution to Tennessee’s workforce. They possess the drive, motivation, skills, and training that employers look for in job candidates,” said TDHS Commissioner Dr. Raquel Hatter. “We know that when our workplaces are more inclusive and diverse it creates a stronger, better, and more well-rounded workplace for everyone.”

Housed within TDHS, the Division of Rehabilitation Services offers several programs and services focused on employment success and independent living skills for people with disabilities. One of its programs, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), provides a variety of individualized services to persons with disabilities in preparation for their employment in the competitive labor market. The VR program partners with customers to reach employment outcomes that are consistent with their individual strengths, resources, abilities, and capabilities. In the last year the VR program has assisted more than 2,250 Tennesseans reach their employment goals.

“We are committed to maximizing opportunities of competitive integrated employment for people with disabilities,” said TDHS Chief Officer of Rehabilitation, Community and Social Services Cherrell Campbell Street. “They take the opportunity and run with it. They make a difference and inspire others along the way. We are honored to be a part of their journey.”

Vocational rehabilitation offices as well as the 17 Tennessee Rehabilitation Centers located in rural communities and the residential comprehensive Tennessee Rehabilitation Center in Smyrna provide numerous services to clients, including vocational training, physical or occupational therapy and transitional life skills.

TDHS, partner agencies and service providers will conduct events across the state and take part in social media campaigns to inform communities of the skills, talents, strengths and abilities people with disabilities bring to the workplace.

For more information on the Vocational Rehabilitation program and other disability services, please visit http://www.tn.gov/humanservices/section/disability-services.  For more information on National Disability Employment Awareness Month visit http://hiremystrengths.org/toolkit/ and/or https://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/ndeam/.

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CONTACT:  Devin Stone, 615-313-5786

Human Services