Funding Opportunities

DIDD is pleased to announce two funding opportunities to support our path to innovative support options for people with disabilities. In doing so, we are reaching out to our network colleagues as well as other innovators. Our goal is to continue to break new ground through the use and integration of emerging technologies and innovative practices with a particular focus on community inclusion and employment. Our funding opportunities are as follow:

PROVIDER INNOVATION PROPOSALS: DIDD is once again offering providers one-time awards of up to $20,000 each for ideas that support the “Pillars of Transformation” framework and create innovative pathways that advance DIDD’s mission. Proposals should be innovative, actionable, and replicable. They may include the use of new, emerging, or current Enabling Technology solutions in unique ways. There should be a strong focus on innovative ways for people with disabilities to achieve greater independence at home, at work, and/or in their community. If a proposal is selected, DIDD will reimburse costs to design and implement proposals once the outcomes are accomplished and documented. Please follow the link below for more information about this opportunity and to complete the application. Contact Jeremy Norden-Paul, Jeremy.Norden-Paul@tn.gov, DIDD Director of Program Innovation, with any questions. Applications must be received by Friday, July 1st.

Previously funded Provider Innovation projects include:

  • Autism Breakthrough of Knoxville - Virtual reality immersive learning for travel safety and transportation training
  • Waves - Creation and implementation of podcast, Waves of Awareness, featuring persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities

TECH 1st ACCREDITATION: DIDD’s Division of Program Innovation is partnering with Shift to provide grants to a limited number of qualified Provider Agencies to complete the Technology First Organization Accreditation program. This accreditation is a key milestone in the transformation to a "Technology First" organization. You can read more about the Technology First Organization Accreditation program in Shift’s “Guide to Education and Accreditation” linked below. Please follow this link for more information about the grant opportunity and to complete the application. Contact Milton Neuenschwander, Milton.Neuenschwander@tn.gov, DIDD Director of Enabling Technology, with any questions. Applications must be received by Friday, June 17th

The department’s commitment to innovative ways to support the aspirations of the people we support drives this process.


DIDD and Voiceitt: Seeking Project Management Agency for Ensemble Project

DIDD invites you to join Voiceitt in an impactful new community initiative!

Together with Voiceitt, DIDD aims to expand employment opportunities for people with speech disabilities by offering new voice-based enabling technologies.

Voiceitt is now developing the next generation of its technology which promises to deliver an enhanced experience – allowing users to engage in spontaneous, real-time conversations. To power the technology, Voiceitt has built an audio database with voice recordings from people with non-standard speech. In a new research and development initiative with DIDD, Voiceitt welcomes individuals to join the community by recording their voices and having the opportunity to be the FIRST to try the newest version of the technology!

In this Ensemble project, Voiceitt and DIDD are seeking to partner with an organization to serve as the project management agency. The duties of the project management agency will include:

  • Recruit and engage at least 20 individuals with speech disabilities. Voiceitt is looking for volunteers with non-standard speech to contribute voice recordings.
  • Manage participants in the project, including assisting in voice recordings and evaluating the new technology in real-world settings (over a 6-month period)
  • Liaise with employers, vocational rehabilitation specialists, participants, and other stakeholders to evaluate technology use cases in real world workplace settings.
  • Distribute surveys/questionnaires and conduct interviews to assist in data collection.
  • Collaborate in creating creative collateral such as photos and videos to assist in raising awareness and education around utilization of enabling technology in the workplace and other scenarios. This could include joint videos, social media content, and press releases.

To apply to become the Ensemble Project Management agency, please complete and submit the application to Carrie Brna at Carrie.B.Brna@tn.gov by August 10th.