Three Shelby Residential and Vocational Service (SRVS) leaders will participate in the state Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities’ (DIDD) newly launched mentorship program, which aims to increase employment rates and opportunities for people with disabilities.
Tyler Hampton, executive director, Troy Allen, director of employment services and community employment, and Felicia Robinson, director of community services and outreach supports, all were chosen for the Tennessee Employment First Leadership Initiative (TEFLI) and will serve as subject matter experts.
The goal of TEFLI is to recruit experts from organizations across the state who will provide consultation and mentoring to other disability services providers. SRVS was selected for its work and leadership demonstrated in transitioning the agency to a fully integrated and inclusive community employment model.
“TEFLI’s intent is true community membership and the same opportunities for people with disabilities as those without,” Hampton said.
In addition to SRVS, leaders from St. John’s Community Services, also in Memphis, and Core Services in Johnson City, Tenn. are participating in TEFLI.
“TEFLI allows organizations around the state to have the opportunity to collaborate and be mentored to with agencies that have gone through transformation of closing sheltered workshops to increase competitive and integrated employment for person supported,” Robinson said.
All participants will receive training from federal Employment First experts from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, and will be paired with other agencies in the state to offer support and resources. The new mentorship program is scheduled to run for five years and an estimated 1,200 people supported in DIDD programs will be reached.
“I am completely honored to be part of this initiative,” Allen said. “This allows me to put my 30-years of experience in disability services to work in a way that will undoubtedly help hundreds, if not thousands of people. I honestly believe this wave of systematic change is a human rights movement, and I'm proud to be a part of such needed and important work.”