The Arc of Davidson County

Project Name: Project Opportunity: Transition to Employment

Contact Information:
Norman Tenenbaum
(615) 321-5699 Ext.16
111 North Wilson Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37205

Project Goals

The goal of this project is to train students with disabilities at a business or organization worksite and to employ them at jobs as they become available at the business or organization where they are trained.

Project Description

The project is an expansion of the approach used by Project Opportunity, which has successfully trained and secured jobs for students with disabilities at Monroe Carell Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee. The majority of the job training program occurs in the workplace. Rotation worksites and potential placements are identified through collaborative consultation between the business/training site and the project personnel. Managers at the business/training site evaluate potential rotations on a case-by-case basis based on needs of the business. The participant/trainees rotate through these settings where they learn and practice the various skills and tasks necessary to qualify for a job in the workplace where they are being trained. These “rotations” are where the students also learn and practice transferable skills that can be utilized in a variety of jobs which might conform to their interests. A participant/trainee remains in job training only until he/she is determined to be ready to complete for an open position in the business/training site that fits their skills and abilities.

Program participant/trainees who meet the general and job-specific criteria are recommended for existing available positions at the business/training site. Because these program participants will be direct employees of the business, the ultimate hiring decision rests with the appropriate manager at the business. If an opening is not available at the business/training site, opportunities are sought in the community in cooperation with community agencies and other businesses. All placement decisions are made with the input of the student, and parents/guardians, and others considered to be part of the participant/trainee’s circle of support.

Once employment is gained, the project supports retention and career advancement. Project staff monitors job performance, provide following along support as needed and provide career enhancement training in varying intensity, even beyond the employee’s probationary period. If the employee becomes dissatisfied with his job, counseling is offered.