Employment Services for Tennesseans with Disabilities

The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) at the Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is dedicated to ensuring Tennesseans with disabilities have access to pathways to higher levels of wellness and economic stability. The Division’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program helps Tennesseans with disabilities prepare for the competitive job market, find jobs, and advance in their career fields. DRS and the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors recognize each customer is unique and work with each customer to form an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) that reflects the customer’s informed choices, strengths, resources, abilities, and capabilities.

If you become a Vocational Rehabilitation participant, you may receive one or more of the following Vocational Rehabilitation services based on your unique needs and employment goals:

Vocational Rehabilitation Services:

  • Counseling and Guidance: The Vocational Rehabilitation team works as a valuable support network that provides individualized counseling, guidance, and encouragement to each customer. Vocational Rehabilitation participants are empowered to make informed decisions knowing their team is here to help facilitate positive outcomes according to their individual needs and employment goals.
  • Training & Support Services: When you become a Vocational Rehabilitation participant, your VR Counselor and team will work closely with you to outline and facilitate training and other help needed to achieve the career goal you choose. The services you receive are based on your plan and could include assistance with postsecondary or workplace readiness training, independent living skills development, assistive technology, transportation, personal care assistance or other supports.
  • Employment and Supported Employment Services: In addition to training, Vocational Rehabilitation participants may receive employment services such as resume writing, interview training and practice, application assistance, job coaching, and other employment preparation that fits the individual’s needs.
  • Pre-Employment Transition Service (Pre-ETS): Vocational Rehabilitation has focused services for students between the ages 14-21.  Vocational Rehabilitation works in partnership with school systems and community providers to help introduce students to the world of work, identify potential career options, and connect with a VR counselor prior to high school graduation.

If you would like to submit a referral for VR services (which help individuals with disabilities get, keep, or advance in a job) for either yourself or someone else, please click the link below.

Economic Guidelines for Receiving Services

Vocational Rehabilitation services are free based on a combination of eligibility factors including economic factors. Some services may require customers to contribute to the cost of the service depending on financial guidelines.

Other Services for Tennesseans with Disabilities

The Tennessee Department of Human Services partners with a range of service providers and collaborates with other state departments to support Tennesseans with disabilities.

  • Services for Tennesseans who are deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing: In 2005, the division established a new unit to provide specialized vocational rehabilitation services to eligible clients who are deaf, deaf-blind or hard of hearing. Click Here to Learn More.
  • The Independent Living Program and other services for Tennesseans who are blind or have low vision: The Independent Living Program provides services to eligible individuals of all ages who are blind or who have a severe visual impairment. Click Here for more information.
  • Independent Living Centers: In addition to Independent Living Services that focus on serving community members who are blind or visually impaired, Tennesseans have access to six (6) Centers for Independent Living across the state. These centers provide five (5) Core Services: Information and Referral, Independent Living Skills Training, Peer Counseling, Individual and System Advocacy and Transition. Centers also provide an array of other supports to aid the productivity of individuals with disabilities, and the integration and full inclusion of individuals with disabilities into the mainstream of American society. Below is a list of centers serving Tennessee.

Memphis Center for Independent Living (MCIL)

The Memphis Center for Independent Living serves Shelby County.

Sandi Klink, Executive Director
1633 Madison Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104
Telephone: (901) 726-6404
Fax: (901) 726-6521

Jackson Center for Independent Living (JCIL)

Jackson Center for Independent Living serves 8 counties (Madison, Carroll, Crockett, Gibson, Henderson, Chester, Hardeman, and Haywood).

Beth James, Executive Director
1981 Hollywood Drive
Jackson, TN 38305
Telephone: (731) 668-2211
Fax: (731) 668-0406

TARP Center for Independent Living (TARP)

The TARP Center for Independent Living serves 8 counties (Benton, Dickson, Henry, Houston, Humphreys, Montgomery, Stewart, and Weakley).

Denise Wardle, Executive Director
1027 Mineral Wells Ave., Suite 3
Paris, TN  38242
Telephone: (731) 644-0026 Toll-free (866) 895-8277
Fax: (731) 644-1116


Empower Tennessee serves 7 counties (Cheatham, Davidson, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson). 

Brandon Brown, Executive Director
955 Woodland Street
Nashville, TN 37206
Telephone: (615) 292-5803 Toll-free (866) 992-4568

disABILITY Resource Center (dRC)

disABILITY Resource Center serves Knox County.

Lillian Burch, Executive Director
900 E. Hill, Suite 120
Knoxville, TN 37915
Telephone: (865) 637-3666
Fax: (865) 637-5616

Tri-State Resource and Advocacy Center

Tri-State Resource and Advocacy Center serves 10 counties (Bledsoe, Bradley, Grundy, Hamilton, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Polk, Rhea, and Sequatchie). 

Mark Woolfall, Executive Director
6925 Shallowford Road, Suite 300
Chattanooga, TN 37421
Telephone: (423) 892-4774 Toll-free (800) 868-8724
Fax: (423) 892-9866