Tennessee Department of Human Services Hosted the First Annual Vocational Rehabilitation ResourceABILITY Assistive Technology Access Fair
NASHVILLE – Yesterday, the Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) hosted the ResourceABILITY Assistive Technology Access Fair in the gymnasium of the Tennessee Rehabilitation Center located in Smyrna, Tennessee.
The event focused on the role of technology in helping people with disabilities. Assistive technology, also known as AT, is any product, software, device or tool that helps people with disabilities enhance their function in daily tasks, including life skills and employment.
“The ResourceABILITY Fair is a first in recent history for TDHS; resulting from employee feedback generated through strategy sessions, employee and customer engagement activities”, said DHS Commissioner Dr. Raquel Hatter. “It’s an amazing opportunity for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) staff in their efforts to equip and empower those served through VR on their journey to realigning their potential through meaningful careers. This is game changing! Special thanks to Rep. Jernigan for sharing his story.”
Rep. Darren Jernigan, D-Old Hickory, provided the event’s keynote address to an audience of assistive technology professionals, VR employees, partnering organizations, and clients.
“I’m so excited to see something of this nature,” said Rep. Darren Jernigan. “There are no defective people, only defective environments. Assistive technology is the great equalizer and it will be able to take people with disabilities, level the playing field and get them back into employment. But not just employment; quality of life, social life, family life, professionalism, the whole works.”
The event included specialized assistive technology vendors including: Adaptive Ware, Baum, Arms of Morpheus, Inc., Enhanced Vision, eSight and LS&S. Representatives from the five regional assistive technology centers: the Technology Access Center, Signal Centers, East Tennessee Technology Access Center, the Mid-south Access Center for Technology and the Star Center, were also present.
All of the vendors offered demonstrations on various technology solutions that increase functionality for people with disabilities. Attendees were also able to tour TRC-Smyrna and visit learning environments equipped to prepare students with functional life skills, vocational training, and job readiness training.
“I’m truly inspired to see the success of the ResourceABILITY Fair,” said Chief Officer of Rehabilitation, Community & Social Services Cherrell Campbell-Street. “Bringing VR clients, their counselors, and assistive technology professionals together educates everyone to all of the possibilities available to the people we serve.”
The Tennessee Rehabilitation Center, one of only eight centers in the nation, is a state operated comprehensive rehabilitation facility. TRC provided vocational rehabilitation services to nearly 600 students in FY 2015 and has a graduation rate of 93 percent. Since opening its doors in 1977, the TRC has provided life and job skills trainings to approximately 34,000 Tennesseans living with disabilities. Services are provided on campus and the majority of students live in residential units on the campus while receiving services. The TRC is located at 460 9th Avenue in Smyrna, just east of the Smyrna Airport near Sam Ridley Parkway. For more information on the center, please visit http://www.tn.gov/humanservices/topic/trc-smyrna or call (615) 459-6811.
For more information on the Tennessee Technology Access Program (TTAP) and Assistive Technology Centers, please visit http://www.tn.gov/humanservices/topic/ttap
CONTACT: Devin Stone