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Haslam Helps Innovative Vocational Training Center Celebrate Milestone

The Tennessee Rehabilitation Center in Smyrna celebrates 40 years of helping individuals with disabilities learn valuable job skills.
Friday, December 15, 2017 | 02:27pm

Smyrna –TDHS Commissioner welcomed Governor Haslam and local elected officials in celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Tennessee Rehabilitation Center (TRC) in Smyrna at the facility’s graduation ceremony Friday morning.

The 44 graduates receiving diplomas this month are part of a program that has helped roughly 30,000 people with disabilities learn valuable employment skills since the Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) opened the facility in 1977 as part of its Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

TRC Smyrna currently offers 8 distinctive instructional training programs, including:

  • Employment Readiness;
  • Manufacturing and Logistics/Power Equipment;
  •  Garden Center Training;
  • Retail;
  • Auto Maintenance/Detailing;
  • Business Education;
  • Commercial Cleaning; and
  • Food Service and Catering.

Next year, TRC Smyrna will partner with CVS Pharmacy to provide a new pharmacy technician training program.  This agreement is one of two partnerships with national corporations. TRC Smyrna began collaborating with Walgreens three years ago on the curriculum in its Retail Program.  Students train using actual Walgreens shelving, practices and products and are guaranteed an interview with a local Walgreens upon completion of the program.

“Through collaborations with our partners, we have created competitive employment environments for our students,” said TDHS Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes.  “Our students leave TRC Smyrna prepared to enter the workforce. The experience at TRC builds a strong foundation for them to continue to grow and contribute to the thriving Tennessee we are trying to create.”

The collaboration with corporations continues a greater focus over the last 7 years to more closely connect TRC Smyrna with employers in Middle Tennessee and across the state. Every student now takes part in workplace learning that’s connected with a real employer.  That learning often leads to a real job when the student graduates working alongside other employees who are not disabled.

“One of my top priorities has always been ensuring students, regardless of disability, have the tools they need to enter the workforce,” Gov. Haslam said.  “These partnerships we’ve formed with the private sector are helping accomplish that and it’s a legacy that I believe will continue to create the skilled workforce Tennessee’s economy will demand in the years to come.”

TRC Smyrna is one of only eight centers of its kind in the nation.   A majority of its students live on campus while receiving training and services.  Assistance is provided free to students who are referred through the Department’s Vocational Rehabilitation program.

Video and soundbites from the graduation can be accessed on the TDHS YouTube page.

Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services at .