The fifth annual report of the Employment First Task Force was presented to Governor Bill Haslam on November 8 at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The report includes personal employment stories, updates the task force’s progress on goals outlined in the strategic plan, and highlights the importance of collaboration among agencies, communities, and employers in improving employment outcomes for Tennesseans with disabilities.
In 2013, Gov. Haslam signed Executive Order No. 28, establishing the Employment First Task Force in Tennessee. The Task Force supports the commitment of State partnership agencies to identify and remove barriers to integrated, competitive employment for people with disabilities.
The Task Force has focused its work in five goal areas:
- Align service delivery systems and strengthen coordination to increase employment opportunities for Tennesseans with disabilities;
- Build shared community commitment to “Employment First” for individuals with disabilities;
- Increase the number of businesses and employers throughout Tennessee who actively seek and hire individuals with disabilities;
- Make Tennessee a model public sector employer through actions to employ more people with disabilities and through policy and regulatory change; and
- Prepare students in Tennessee schools for employment throughout their education and connect them to essential services.
The fifth report provides updates in the five goal areas and looks ahead at the future of Employment First. While the Task Force report demonstrates progress, it also highlights the importance of continued work and commitment in this area under a new administration.
“While there is still much to do, we are very proud of all the good work related to employment of people with disabilities in this year’s report,” said Elise McMillan, J.D., co-director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities and a Task Force member. “The progress we have made over the past five years would not have happened without strong leadership coming from Gov. Haslam and his leadership team, and the important public private partnerships occurring across the state. We look forward to continuing to address the challenges that remain in our state.”
To view the full 2018 report of the Employment First Task Force, visit: vkc.mc.vanderbilt.edu/vkc/resources/employment/
Courtney Taylor is associate director of VKC Communications
Pictured top of page: Gov. Bill Haslam toured work sites at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and met several employees and volunteers before receiving the report. Photo courtesy of the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities