Employment Opportunities for Tennesseans with Cognitive Disabilities Looks Bleak

Young adults with cognitive disabilities are increasingly facing unemployment.  This article chronicles a young man on the Autism spectrum who remains unemployed despite having been trained for a job through services provided by public programs.(The Tennessean, March 16, 2014)

….after being notified in November that Tennessee’s Division of Rehabilitation Services “cannot provide ongoing job coaching” for [Seth] Howe, his parents don’t know what to do next.

A state Medicaid waiver could help, but Howe is one of more than 7,100 people on a waiting list for such services from the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

As a result — after years of state-funded special education and vocational training — Howe sits at home, the skills he acquired diminishing with each passing day.

“It makes me extremely angry to know that all this time and money was spent for him to have a life, and he has no life,” said his mother, Lynn Howe.

Only 16.6 percent of Tennesseans who have a cognitive disability were employed in 2011 — down from 21.4 percent six years earlier. The employment rate is third worst in the country, behind only West Virginia and Alabama, and well below the national average of 22.2 percent, according to the American Community Survey.

Nearly 200,000 working-age Tennesseans with an intellectual disability are left without employment.

Read more here.

 

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