On Friday (12/15/2017) Smyrna's Tennessee Rehabilitation Center celebrated 40-years of helping others. Participating in the festivities were Governor Bill Haslam, Tennessee Department of Human Services Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes, local elected officials and many others.
The event spotlighted the 44 graduates who received diplomas this month. Since the Smyrna opened in 1977, approximately 30,000 other Tennesseans with disabilities have been helped..
Smyrna's Tennessee Rehabilitation Center currently offers eight distinctive instructional training programs, including:
- Employment Readiness;
- Manufacturing and Logistics/Power Equipment;
- Garden Center Training;
- Auto Maintenance/Detailing;
- Business Education;
- Commercial Cleaning; and
- Food Service and Catering.
Next year, the Smyrna campus will partner with CVS Pharmacy to provide a new pharmacy technician training program. This agreement is one of two partnerships with national corporations. They began collaborating with Walgreens three years ago on the curriculum in its Retail Program. Students train using actual Walgreens shelving, practices and products and are guaranteed an interview with a local Walgreens upon completion of the program.
"Through collaborations with our partners, we have created competitive employment environments for our students," said Tennessee Department of Human Services Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes. "Our students leave TRC Smyrna prepared to enter the workforce. The experience at TRC builds a strong foundation for them to continue to grow and contribute to the thriving Tennessee we are trying to create."
The collaboration with corporations continues a greater focus over the last 7 years to more closely connect Smyrna's Tennessee Rehabilitation Center with employers in Middle Tennessee and across the state. Every student now takes part in workplace learning that's connected with a real employer. That learning often leads to a real job when the student graduates working alongside other employees who are not disabled.
"One of my top priorities has always been ensuring students, regardless of disability, have the tools they need to enter the workforce," Gov. Haslam said. "These partnerships we've formed with the private sector are helping accomplish that and it's a legacy that I believe will continue to create the skilled workforce Tennessee's economy will demand in the years to come."
The Smyrna complex is one of only eight centers of its kind in the nation. A majority of its students live on campus while receiving training and services. Assistance is provided free to students who are referred through the Department's Vocational Rehabilitation program.
Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services at www.tn.gov/humanservices.