UTC hosts Governor Bill Haslam for Employment First Task Force program

UTC hosts Governor Bill Haslam for Employment First Task Force program (Image: WTVC)

A years' long push to help people in Tennessee land jobs - regardless of their ability - is making gains.

Governor Haslam celebrated the program that is helping place more people with disabilities in the workforce than ever before.

The Employment First Task Force program is aimed at not only helping people with disabilities land the jobs, but also encouraging employers to hire them.

We spoke with one young man who says it was because of this program he is now starting a career in Nashville.

"It can happen at a university. It can happen at a grocery store. It can happen in a governor's office where we have folks from the disabled community who are working and have worked," Gov. Bill Haslam said Thursday.

At UTC, students see the results of this program every day in their dining halls when they see Michael and the other employees with disabilities.

One message of this program - the opportunities are endless.

"It's been a lot of fun, of course throughout my college life at Lipscomb University, I've taken great classes and great internships." says Brad Bramledt.

Bramledt says he's always wanted to work in news. He landed his first job in marketing in Nashville by creating a video.

State Director of Employment and Day services for T.I.D.D., Jeremy Norden, says the task force helps ease the transition from school to work.

"The goal is to identify what barriers people with disabilities are facing in entering the work force, and to come up with solutions to address those barriers," says Norden.

Norden says UTC has also been a huge partnership for the program.

"So together through partnership, we are able to provide these opportunities to people to work and volunteer and do other meaningful things," says Norden.

For Brad, it's the kickstart he needed to start his future career.

"And because of all that, I have a good career move at Westwood Ave," says Brad.

The program is also establishing an employment rate for people with disabilities across the state, so it becomes easier to measure how much work is left to do.

Governor Haslam also spoke at the Rotary Club of Chattanooga Thursday, and talked about improving the education system in schools around Tennessee.

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