TASH releases publication focusing on meaningful employment

By: Elizabeth Turner and Rachael Jenkins

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Erik Carter, Ph.D., and Elise McMillan, J.D. served as guest authors on the Spring 2014 issue of Connections: Pathways to Meaningful Employment for Youth and Young Adults with Significant Disabilities. Connections is published by TASH, a national organization dedicated to the equity, opportunity, and inclusion of people with disabilities. Carter is a VKC investigator and associate professor of Special Education, and McMillan serves as co-director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), director of Community Outreach, and a senior associate for the Department of Psychiatry.

Included in the publication are stories such as “Holding High Expectations from an Early Age” by TennesseeWorks program coordinator Rachael Jenkins and Associate Director of VKC Communications Courtney Taylor; “Promoting Employment Outcomes Through Postsecondary Education Programs,” co-written by Taylor and Next Steps at Vanderbilt Program Director Tammy Day, among others; and “Answering Employers’ Questions About Hiring People with Significant Disabilities,” co-written by Lynnette Henderson. Also included in the Spring 2014 of Connections is “Perspective: It Feels Really Good to Have a Job,” written by Next Steps at Vanderbilt alumna Rachel Pearson and “Changing the Conversation: Engaging Local Communities in New Discussions About Competitive Employment,” co-written by Carter, Vanderbilt Department of Special Education Ph.D. student Carly Blustein, TennesseeWorks educational consultant Jennifer Rowan, and TennesseeWorks director Sarah Harvey. These articles all identify key pathways crucial to increasing employment outcomes for young people with disabilities, illustrating the importance of engaging and collaborating with multiple stakeholders including self-advocates, families, educators, employers, and communities.

This issue of Connections is being released at a time of increased focus on transition and employment, particularly for individuals with severe disabilities. Publications such as the TASH Connections issue are contributing to the growing national conversation around how to change the employment landscape for people with disabilities. As Carter and McMillan point out in their introduction, nearly three-quarters of young adults with severe disabilities haven’t been employed in any setting two years after leaving high school. Those young people with disabilities who are employed often work in segregated settings for low wage jobs (Carter, Austin, & Trainor, 2012). The overall unemployment rate for people with disabilities is more than twice the rate of people without disabilities according to the Department of Labor. Carter and McMillan are co-PIs on TennesseeWorks, a Project of National Significance (funded through the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) aiming to prioritizing integrated, competitive employment as the first and preferred option for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

For more information on these projects, visit www.partnershipsinemployment.com.

For more information on TennesseeWorks, visit www.tennesseeworks.org.

Click here to view the Employment issue of TASH Connections.

Last Updated: 11/24/2014 3:35:22 PM

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