Tennessee Partners with Other Agencies to Improve Transition Efforts for Youth

Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) is one of five state agencies that signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to improve services and better prepare youth with disabilities to transition from school into integrated employment in the community. 

According to a recent news release, the MOU focuses on student’s age 14 years and over and aims to ensure all youth with disabilities leaving secondary education are prepared for either post-secondary training and/or integrated employment appropriate for their preferences, interests, skills and abilities.  

“It’s vitally important that all state agencies work together to make sure youth with disabilities leave school and have the opportunity to contribute to the workforce,” DIDD Commissioner Debra Payne said.  “It takes a team effort to make sure they have the training and support necessary to make that happen.”

Two years ago, Governor Haslam signed Executive Order No. 28, which created a task force comprised of state agencies, families, consumer advocates and service providers to address obstacles to employment for people living with disabilities. This MOU was a part of a three-year plan laid out by that task force.

“In order to accomplish the goal set forth in the MOU, the partner agencies will strive to ensure that: 

  • Youth with disabilities leave school prepared for integrated employment with access to necessary support services
  • Transition services necessary for youth to move to post-secondary training and/or employment services will be identified prior to exit from school
  • DIDD and vocational rehabilitation grantees and vendors are subject to a performance-based rate structure that emphasizes integrated employment outcomes
  • Work opportunities are consistent with employer and industry needs.”

Commissioners for the departments of Education, Human Services, Labor and Workforce Development and Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services were all part of the MOU with DIDD. 

FMI:  The entire Memorandum of Understanding, including the specific roles and responsibilities of each agency, can be found at http://www.tn.gov/assets/entities/didd/attachments/Tennessee_Youth_MOU_signed.pdf