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---------- Original Message ----------

From: Tennessee Department of Human Services <>


Date: 06/28/2021 3:15 PM

Subject: Let's Talk Pre-ETS in Tennessee | June 2021



Let's Talk Pre-ETS in Tennessee

 A quarterly guide for improving postsecondary employment outcomes for students with disablities.



In This Edition | June 2021



Program Updates and Reminders

  • Service and Program Reporting

  • Pre-ETS Summers Services and WBL


  • Transition Summer Academies

  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Transition Tennessee Partnership Continuation

  • A Guide to Pre-Employment Transition Services in Tennessee

  • New Transition Tennessee Courses

  • New Center for Decision-Making

Provider Highlights and Success Stories

  • Loudon County Project ABLE

  • CHIPS Learning Services

Pre-ETS Staff Highlights

  • Kathi Graham

  • Olene Stanfield

  • Christy Myers



Program Updates and Reminders


Service and Program Reporting



Thank you for your attention to the timely submission of individual service reports during the month of June. As we transition to Aware, our new case management system, we are back on schedule for normal reporting procedures. As a reminder, Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) individual service reports are due the 5th business day of each month and the Transition School to Work (TSW) individual service reports are due on the 15th day of each month to your Pre-ETS Specialist. 

Pre-ETS Summer Services and Work-Based Learning


Many of you rose to the challenge of increasing student exposure to Pre-ETS during the summer months. Thank you for providing a variety of summer camps and services that ensure students continue progressive movement toward discovering and meeting their employment goals. As you are aware, Work-Based Learning (WBL), has been Pre-ETS focus and gathered more attention for our CRPs this year. The CRP process for WBL is similar to the process for WBL instituted by the Tennessee Department of Education.

We’d like to remind CRPs that you must complete the first two pages of the WBL Personalized Learning Plan and send to your Pre-ETS Specialist for approval, prior to moving forward with obtaining signatures and beginning placement. Pre-ETS Supervisors should be “copied” on this communication. 

To help CRPS in this process we’ve provided a checklist that is available when you Click Here and a PowerPoint presentation that is available when you Click Here. 

As we learn and grow through this process to ensure high-quality WBL Capstone Experiences are achieved, we also welcome your feedback on the strength of this process. If you have suggestions for process improvement, please email Blake Shearer at











Transition Summer Academies

The Tennessee Department of Education in conjunction with Transition Tennessee, is offering a series of transition summer academies. These academies aim to expand transition practice knowledge among educators and transition coordinators and improve the post-school outcomes for students with disabilities.

Academy sessions will be offered virtually three times during the summer, and offer an opportunity to earn professional development credit. The Transition Summer Academy is highly recommended for middle and high school special educators working with transition-age youth with disabilities (age 14+) in Tennessee, and has also been made available to Pre-ETS CRPs.
Academy Dates:


  • July 7 & 8 (8 am - 3:45 pm CT)

  • July 27 & 28 (7 am - 2:45 pm CT)

Click Here  to register.

For questions or additional information, please email or Martina Stump  

Vocational Rehabilitation and Transition Tennessee Partnership Continuation

As you are probably aware, both Tennessee VR and the DOE have had a joint partnership with the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center to create Transition Tennessee. More specific to VR, Transition Tennessee now offers a home for Pre-ETS providers to obtain professional development, resources, training, and much more. There is even an ever-growing student portal that students can access independently or through facilitation by a Pre-ETS provider. In May of this year, VR and Transition Tennessee entered into a new agreement to continue the work being done through Transition Tennessee and now focus on quality improvement to the Pre-ETS program.

Click Here to read a more comprehensive write-up through the Tennessee Rise to Work blog.



A Guide to Pre-Employment Transition Services

in Tennessee

ICYMI: The Department of Human Services, in collaboration with Transition Tennessee, is pleased to announce the release of the Tennessee Pre-ETS Guide. This guide serves as an overview of Pre-ETS and offers helpful tools and resources for anyone who is new to Pre-ETS. We can achieve positive outcomes for youth in Tennessee with disabilities by placing a significant focus on the collaboration and partnerships that increase the effectiveness of Pre-ETS delivery.


Click Here to access the Guide. 


New Transition Tennessee Courses

Transition Tennessee released several new student lessons available for Pre-ETS. You will find a variety of activities within each lesson including role-play scenarios, interactive games, and classroom and community-based activities. The new courses include:


  • Benefits of Going to Work
    As students explore their options for going to work, it is important for them to think about how having a job may impact their life. This lesson provides opportunities for students to learn about how getting a job can impact their Social Security Income benefits and the process of contacting a benefits counselor who can help them. It will also guide them in learning about the personal and professional benefits of working.

  • Types of Postsecondary Education
    As students explore post-secondary education options, it is important for them to understand all of their options so that they choose a program that will support their interests, preferences, and specific career goals. This lesson provides opportunities for students to learn about the similarities and differences between the 4 main types of postsecondary education.

  • Career Pathways and Goals
    As students prepare to attend a college or training program after high school, it is important for them to understand all of the steps that are involved with applying and being admitted. This lesson provides opportunities for students to learn about planning, admission, finances, outcomes, and the types of supports that are available for students when they begin to explore their options for continuing their education.


As always, a library of related resources and supplemental materials for this and other Transition Tennessee courses is also available. You can get access to these lessons by visiting and creating a free account if you have not already. While you are there, be sure to check out the Pre-ETS Curriculum searchable database.



New Center for Decision-Making Launches in Tennessee

Tennessee is the first state in the nation to offer one place to learn about decision-making options for people with disabilities. The new TN Center for Decision-Making Support offers:


  • Easy-to-understand, accurate information about supported decision-making, power-of-attorney, conservatorship, special needs trusts, ABLE accounts, and more.

  • Practical tools and resources to help you plan for the future and know what decision-making supports are right for you.

  • Stories of how real people with disabilities in Tennessee get the support they need to make decisions about their lives.

  • A contact form to reach the Center’s team for one-on-one help.


The Center is a shared effort of The Arc Tennessee, the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities, and Disability Rights Tennessee.


Getting the right kind of supports for you or a loved one can help you plan for a good life. Start exploring your decision-making options today!

Visit to learn more. 




Provider Highlights and Success Stories


Loudon County Transition School to Work: Project ABLE


Loudon County Schools’ Project ABLE is a true asset to the Loudon County school system and community. Funded by TDHS Vocational Rehabilitation, Project ABLE is a transition school-to-work (TSW) grant program that offers Pre-ETS in the classroom, throughout the school building, and at local businesses. Project ABLE is designed to promote postsecondary success by developing life and job skills for students to gain meaningful employment after graduation. Seeing the job skills training and preparation that Project ABLE provides has shifted the mindset of the community members working with students, as well as the mindsets of the students themselves. With the astounding confidence that Project ABLE instills, students developed a program declaration that provides others a clear and concise message of purpose: “This is a chance for us to get the respect we deserve." 

The impact of this program on Loudon Co. students’ lives is immeasurable in providing participants with a true understanding of their potential, self-worth, and a better understanding of the importance of being a contributor to society. The project's influence and success expands beyond the classroom  program to open the eyes of educators and community members to the potential of students with disabilities and their essential contributions to the local workforce.

For more details on the amazing effects of the Project ABLE program at Loudon High School, Click Here view a video on the  LHS YouTube Channel to that highlights students and community members who were positively impacted by Project ABLE.

Additional information can be found on the Loudon Co SPED website which includes PowerPoint presentations highlighting both programs. You can also keep up with the happenings of the Greenback School program by following them on Twitter @GBpA_TSW.


CHIPS Learning Services


Founded in 1995 by engineer, educator, entrepreneur, and entertainer Tekelia C. Kelly, CHIPS Learning Services provides quality education and information technology solutions to help students successfully transition from school to work or higher education. The program focuses on four major components for instructional design: Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS), STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math), CCTE (College Career and Technical Education) and Coding. With this structure, CHIPS helps students “unwrap” their gifts through academic enrichment, personalized tutoring, technology education, computer coding instruction, and other future-ready programing that equips students in their transition from high school to higher education or the job market. 


CHIPS customizes camps, classes, courses, coaching, curriculum and curated content for students, customers and partners with schools, learning centers, community organizations, youth groups, social agencies, home schools, churches, businesses, professionals, teachers, employers, and government initiatives across state lines. As one of the first pioneers of Pre-ETS in Chattanooga, Tennessee, CHIPS begin with services to Hamilton and Bradley County Schools, and now reaches North Georgia and Middle Tennessee. CHIPS Collaborators include the Tennessee Department of Human Services Vocational Rehabilitation program and Tennessee Rehabilitation Center (TRC-Smyrna) and Tennessee Department of Education, and Tennessee Arts Academy, Chattanooga Autism Center, Skyuka Hall and Highland Learning Center. CHIPS has been recognized for its success and appeared on “What’s Right with Our Schools” news broadcast for “Teaching for Teachers” and featured in the “Teaching The Future” article from the Chattanooga Times Free Press


The success of CHIPS’ students comes from their commitment and support from teachers and mentors. Students have gone on to graduate from high school, find employment, attend college, choose a career, and go into business. CHIPS’ follow-up with teachers revealed: one student had the highest grade in his college class; one student went on to earn an industry certification; one student served as a high tech exhibitor at a Maker Faire where CHIPS also had a business booth; one student was accepted into a special work-based learning program; one student won a job interview competition, graduated from school and then was hired; and one reported back to say the CHIPS program helped her on her job.  


In response to Covid-19, CHIPS shifted to “virtual” learning for the school year, however CHIPS Summer Camps will be both onsite and online. Though earlier camps and classes were typically onsite, CHIPS offered E-Learning prior COVID and MS. Kelly’s leadership and extensive experience with E-Learning programs made the shift to virtual camps and classes a smooth transition.

Click Here to Download the InternChips Virtual Career Prep Bootcamp Flyer. 


To learn more about CHIPS and the upcoming summer “INTERNCHIPS Virtual Career Prep Bootcamp” at Training Wheels in Chattanooga, Tennessee, please visit or follow CHIPS on Twitter

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