TN Employment First Inclusive Employer Award

The purpose of this annual award is to recognize businesses, employers, and state agencies that make efforts that go beyond legal requirements related to the recruitment, hiring, advancement and retention of people with disabilities in the State of Tennessee.

Feel free to reach out with any questions by emailing:

Award Criteria

  • Outstanding contributions and practices that improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
  • The business/employer must provide competitive and integrated employment for people with disabilities.
  • The nominated establishment has no adverse decisions by a court, Administrative Review Board (ARB), Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), or the TN Human Rights Commission related to violations of Section 503, EO 11246, VEVRAA, or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) within the last three years.

Resources for Businesses and State Agency’s working to become inclusive employers

Department of Human Services’ Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program.

 To learn more about VR visit Vocational Rehabilitation

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:

  • Job Site review - to become acquainted with the specifications of your vacancies and your screening preferences for the best match.
  • Pre-screening before referral - a customized review of each job candidate to determine if they can meet the demands of your job vacancies based upon your priorities for knowledge, skills, and abilities.
  • No obligation, no-cost “tryout” - the U.S. Department of Labor has created pre-hire work options for selected candidates from Tennessee’s VR program. If you’ve never hired a person with a disability before, or if you’re not sure that a particular candidate can perform the job tasks, you can use this option to try out a potential hire and determine if it’s the right match. During the pre-hire trial period, we will work with you to make sure the candidate can do the job and, if necessary, consider any accommodations that might be helpful for a successful hire.
  • Job Site training - an option to provide wage reimbursement to cover your costs for training a Vocational Rehabilitation referral that is hired…OR access to a Vocational Rehabilitation provided “job coach” on site to ensure one-on-one coaching for a new hire.
  • Post hire follow-up - our staff are always available to assist you with questions or issues related to an employee you have hired in partnership with us. We will continue to work with you to meet your future needs as business demands change.
  • Outplacement assistance: As your outplacement specialist, we can assist employees with disabilities that can no longer work for your company and who want to re-employ with another.
  • Tax Credit opportunities are also available.        
  • To find a point of contact in your area, please call 1-833-772-TDHS (8347).

TennCare’s Employment and Community First CHOICES (ECF CHOICES) Program.

To learn more about ECF Choices visit ECF CHOICES

Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse’s Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Program.

To learn more visit IPS

Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) 1915C Waiver Programs.

To learn more about Statewide Waiver Programs visit DIDD 1915C   

TennCare’s CHOICES Program.

To learn more about CHOICES visit CHOICES

Windmills Training


Use the links (buttons) below to make your submissions.