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The Tennessee Alliance for Postsecondary Opportunities for Students With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities works to:

    Increase awareness about the need for postsecondary education opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Tennessee.
    Encourage the development of more programs on Tennessee’s two and four-year university and college campuses.

News and Media

TigerLIFE in the NEWS!

In this Local Memphis news story, faculty and students at TigerLIFE beautifully illustrate the importance of integration in education and the effectiveness of postsecondary education on the lives of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Watch the story here.

The Arc Tennessee Receives Postsecondary Education-focused AT & T Grant

The Arc Tennessee has received funding from the AT&T Foundation through The Arc’s School-to-Community Transition Initiative to connect individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities with paid employment opportunities and degree/certificate-earning postsecondary education programs in Middle Tennessee.

The grant will allow for a collaborative effort between The Arc Tennessee and three local chapters including The Arc Cumberland Valley (serving Macon, Sumner, Trousdale and Wilson Counties), The Arc Davidson County, and The Arc Williamson County. These chapters will provide a variety of recruitment and employment supports for Next Steps at Vanderbilt and IDEAL at Lipscomb University, both postsecondary programs for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“We decided to apply for this grant primarily because it is focused on postsecondary education and employment options for transitioning youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Carrie Guiden, executive director of The Arc Tennessee. “We currently have a contract with the Department of Education to provide training related to secondary transition and options for youth beyond high school and just completed a three year grant to train transition age youth to self-direct their own IEP and transition meetings. We are very involved with supporting Next Steps and the other postsecondary programs in Tennessee, so this grant is a natural fit.”

The local chapters will provide support to individuals who wish to attend either of the Middle Tennessee postsecondary programs in the form of maneuvering the program application process and applications for financial aid and scholarships.

“This partnership with The Arc is going to greatly impact how many people learn about and access postsecondary education options for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Middle Tennessee,” said Tammy Day, program director of Next Steps at Vanderbilt. “The Arc is well-positioned to provide effective support to our students and families. Connecting students with meaningful employment is an important element of postsecondary programs, and The Arc’s commitment to employment is sure to make this a wonderful opportunity.”

The grant also will provide income for the local chapters to support activities they currently provide – primarily soft skills training for individuals seeking employment and promotion of the postsecondary programs. The Arc Tennessee also has plans to host job clubs.

“This collaboration is exciting,” said Guiden. It is an opportunity for the state and local chapters of The Arc to work together toward a common goal. If we are successful in implementing all aspects of this program by demonstrating an increase in enrollment for the postsecondary programs along with an increase in employment, we will be able to replicate this program with our local chapters in other parts of the state. It is an exciting opportunity.”

To learn more about the overall grant, contact Carrie Hobbs Guiden, cguiden@thearctn.org, 615-248-5878 x14.

To learn more about assistance offered by local chapters, contact:

The Arc Cumberland Valley: (615) 732-2331, cumberlandvalleyarc@gmail.com

The Arc Davidson County: Colleen Gibson, (615) 321-5699, cgibson@arcdc.org

The Arc Williamson County: Sharon Bottorff, (615) 790-5815, ext. 3#, sbbarc@bellsouth.net

Alliance Members Present at the 2013 Tennessee College Access and Success Conference

Tammy Day (Next Steps at Vanderbilt) and Tom Beeson (UT FUTURE) presented on behalf of the PSE Alliance at the 2013 Tennessee College Access and Success Conference. Their presentation, “Awareness and Preparations for Postsecondary Education for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities,” outlined the benefits of postsecondary education for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and analyzed the barriers in successful enrollment efforts. The Conference took place November 4-5 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and received the highest possible ratings on evaluations completed by participants.

Vanderbilt Magazine Highlights the Impact Next Steps at Vanderbilt is Having on the Students, Faculty, and Campus Community

Read the story:Leap of Faith

Latest Issue of Breaking Ground Highlights Postsecondary Education Programs for Students With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Tennessee

Read the issue: Breaking Ground Issue #70.

Video: I’m Thinking College, Even With My Disability

Students with intellectual disabilities enrolled in a postsecondary education program in Tennessee talk about their experiences at college and highlight the need for more such programs. Developed by the Tennessee Alliance for Postsecondary Opportunities for Students With Intellectual Disabilities and produced by the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.

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