TennesseeWorks is offering mini-grants to address the employment of people with disabilities. Are you interested in expanding employment opportunities for people with disabilities in your community? Here is a chance to launch real change in your local community. We are inviting communities across the state to host their own “community conversations” with support of TennesseeWorks team members and partners. These events are creative and engaging ways of gathering together a cross-section of community members to generate solutions on increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Each mini-grant comes with great support from TennesseeWorks and up to $2,000. Visit the TennesseeWorks website for more information and to apply. The deadline is April 3.

The Kennesaw State University Academy for Inclusive Learning and Social Growth offers a fully inclusive 2 year college experience to students with intellectual or developmental disabilities who do not meet the university requirements for admission as a degree seeking student. The program includes enrollment as non-degree seeking audit students in typical university courses alongside degree seeking students and includes social integration, career exploration and training resulting in a Certificate of Social Growth and Development. Applications for the program will be available beginning Tuesday, March 24th. For more information, visit the Academy for Inclusive Learning website.

12 Garden Street, in Nashville’s Chestnut Hill neighborhood, will house future pastors alongside people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The first resident to sign on is 28-year-old Steven Greiner. Greiner is a graduate of the Next Steps at Vanderbilt program. He says he’s nervous to move out for the first time but excited to have more of a personal life — “to live as independently as I can,” he says, “just living life [to the] fullest.”

To learn more, Click here

Union University will begin a postsecondary education program this fall for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Union EDGE will be a two-year certificate program that will focus on developing communication skills and job skills training. EDGE is an acronym for Employment training, Daily living skills, Godly focus, Educational enrichment. This program marks Tennessee’s 5th program on a university/college campus.

For more on the development of the EDGE program, Click here.

The Arc Williamson County announces the availability of two postsecondary scholarship opportunities. In partnership with Alice Jackson, and Prime Trust, the eighth Robert H. Carter/The Arc Scholarship will be awarded this spring. This $500 scholarship is intended to benefit a student graduating from Franklin High School who utilized student support services. The scholarship is in memory of Robert Howell Carter, a 1975 graduate of Franklin High School, and a young man with special needs who continued his post secondary education at Columbia State Community College. Requirements include: student will graduate (any type of degree) from Franklin High School; student has a disability, excluding gifted, which qualified him/her as needing student support services during his/her high school years; and student has plans for post-secondary education including 4 year college, 2 year college, vocational training program, continuing education, etc.

The Arc Williamson County is also pleased to announce The Arc Postsecondary Scholarship intended for students who will be attending either Next Steps at Vanderbilt or IDEAL at David Lipscomb. Requirements for this scholarship include: the student must be a resident of Williamson County; and the student must have been accepted to one of the programs. The amount of the scholarship has yet to be determined.

Applications for either scholarship can be found at The Arc’s website. The deadline for submission of applications is April 15, 2015.

Next Steps at Vanderbilt has produced a powerful new video that highlights how postsecondary education is possible for all, including individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The video especially emphasizes the positive effects a college experience can have on young women with disabilities. Watch the video.

The Tennessee Alliance for Postsecondary Opportunities for Students With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities was well-represented at the State of the Art Conference on Postsecondary Education and Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities held November 20-21, 2014. Leadership from all four of Tennessee’s postsecondary education programs presented. The conference occurs annually and is a gathering of professionals and interested parties to discuss the current state of research and practice in the field of postsecondary education.

Below, is a listing of the presentations offered by PSE Alliance members.

  • Creating Engaging and Effective Lessons to Build Employment-Related Skills
    Presenters: Misty Vetter Parsley and Mallory Whitmore (IDEAL at David Lipscomb)
    Students with disabilities often need assistance with employment-related skills like interaction, communication, and technology. This session explored engaging lessons for teaching these skills in an effective manner using well established lesson planning techniques such as a set, formative assessment, and closure.
  • Sustaining Success: Two Statewide Models for Capacity Building and System Change
    Presenters: Tom Beeson (FUTURE Program at University of Tennessee), Tammy Day (Next Steps at Vanderbilt), Mallory Whitmore and Misty Vetter Parsley (IDEAL at David Lipscomb), Maurice Williams and Chrisann Schiro-Geist (TigerLIFE at University of Memphis)
  • Recruitment, Capacity Building, and Improved Programming through Summer Residential Opportunities
    Presenter: Tammy Day (Next Steps at Vanderbilt)
    People are best able to understand a task, a situation, and an opportunity through prior learning and experiences. This premise is why a week-long summer residential experience is a perfect way for youth to determine if a college experience might be right for them. They get to actually see themselves on campus.

For more on the State of the Art Conference, visit the conference website.


The Southeast Postsecondary Education Alliance (SEPSEA) has formed in an effort to promote resources, collaboration, education, and access to quality PSE opportunities in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and beyond.

SEPSEA will hold a Capacity Building Institute for Southeast Inclusive Postsecondary Education Programs on April 16 & 17, 2015 in Atlanta, GA. Time will be spent learning, planning, and sharing thoughts and strategies about inclusive postsecondary education opportunities in Southeastern colleges and universities.

Who should attend? Faculty and staff from colleges and universities offering or considering inclusive postsecondary programs, students and peer mentors, transition coordinators, representatives from state departments of education and vocational rehabilitation, and others interested in building our capacity in this area.

For more information, or to join the SEPSEA College & University listserv, send an email to Susanna Miller at smiller65@gsu.edu.

The Model Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) provides grants to institutions of higher education or consortia of institutions of higher education to enable them to create or expand high quality, inclusive model comprehensive transition and postsecondary programs for students with intellectual disabilities. TPSID is offering the following webinars to the general public. All meetings begin at 3:00 pm (EST).

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Topic: Applying to become a Certified Transition Program
Click here for meeting link

Monday, November 24, 2014
Topic: Family engagement
Click here for meeting link

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Using Technology to Support College Students with ID
Click here for meeting link

Monday, February 23, 2015
Topic: Participatory Action Research
Click here for meeting link

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Topic: Inclusive Campus Communities
Click here for meeting link

Thursday, May 21, 2015
Topic: VR Partnerships
Click here for meeting link

Starting in the 2013-2014 academic year, the Tennessee STEP UP Scholarship was awarded to eligible students enrolled in one of the four postsecondary education programs for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Tennessee. Scholarship recipients receive $4,000 per year for a maximum of two years.

To be eligible, a student must be a Tennessee resident, graduate high school in his or her own Individual Education Program, and be admitted to and enroll in an eligible postsecondary institution no later than 16 months after graduation.The scholarship was originally awarded to students who were starting their first year with the programs in 2013. On June 2, Governor Bill Haslam signed legislation that amended the Tennessee code to retroactively award the scholarships to enrolled and eligible second year students who would have received the award had it been in effect for the 2012-2013 academic year.

For more information, click here.

6/3/2014 Governor Bill Haslam signs the STEP Up Scholarship bill

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