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Media Release: Tennessee Selected for National Initiative to Expand Employment for People with Disabilities

Friday, January 11, 2019 | 09:46am

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2019

 

CONTACT: Cara Kumari
OFFICE: 615-613-1017


Tennessee Selected for National Initiative to Expand Employment for People with Disabilities
State selected for eighth straight year, will focus resources on those with intellectual disabilities and co-occurring mental health diagnosis

NASHVILLE—For the eighth straight year, Tennessee’s leadership in improving competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities has been recognized by the United States Department of Labor.

Tennessee was selected as a Core State in the Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (EFSLMP) through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). The program provides technical assistance to state agencies and disability service providers to assist in expanding competitive, integrated employment outcomes for people with disabilities.

“The resources and assistance provided by ODEP through the Employment First program have been vital to the state’s success in improving employment outcomes for people with disabilities,” Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) Commissioner Debra K. Payne said. “While we have made huge strides in expanding employment, the focus on ensuring those with both intellectual disabilities and behavioral health diagnoses is critical to further closing the employment gap between people with disabilities and without.”

In 2019, the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) and the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) will serve as co-leads on the project, with a focus on improving employment outcomes for those with behavioral health diagnosis. Those include:
• Providing technical assistance and resources to assist those with co-occurring intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health diagnoses in finding employment. An estimated 40 percent of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities also have a psychiatric disorder.
• Expanding access to the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) program. IPS supported employment is an evidence-based model of employment for people with living with serious mental illness. In FY18, 956 people received IPS supported employment services through 13 programs.

“We know that work can be a significant boost to a person’s recovery from serious mental illness, and IPS supported employment has proved beneficial for many Tennesseans,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams. “Further expanding IPS supported employment to more Tennesseans with dual diagnoses is going to enrich not only their lives but also our state’s diverse workforce.”

In addition, the program will assist the state’s American Job Centers to provide training and resources for all Tennesseans, including those with disabilities.

Tennessee first participated in EFSLMP in 2012 and is one of only two states to receive the Core State distinction every year.

Learn more about the program and what it means for the state in this video with Jeremy Norden-Paul, DIDD’s State Director of Employment and Day Services: https://youtu.be/PR9vDMBDG1I


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About the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is the state agency responsible for administration and oversight of community-based services for approximately 8,000 people with intellectual disabilities as well as 4,000 people through the Family Support Program. Every day, the department strives to support people to live rewarding and fulfilling lives. It does so by ensuring people are free to exercise rights, engage with their broader communities and experience optimal health. DIDD is the first state service delivery system in the nation to receive Person-Centered Excellence Accreditation from the Council on Quality and Leadership. It has also been recognized as a national leader in its efforts to increase competitive, community-based employment outcomes for people with disabilities.

About the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

Our Mission: Provide, plan for, and promote a comprehensive array of quality prevention, early intervention, treatment, habilitation, rehabilitation, and recovery support services for Tennesseans with mental illness and substance abuse issues.

Our Vision: To be one the nation's most innovative and proactive state behavioral health authority for Tennesseans dealing with mental health and substance abuse problems.