The Nashville Model
It takes a village
The Vanderbilt Initiative for Autism, Innovation, and the Workforce was formed from its inception in 2017 with the intention of serving as the core academic research partner within a larger, community-based effort to develop the Nashville Model. In this model, we seek to develop, demonstrate, and disseminate components necessary for a community to come together to create a robust series of pathways and opportunities that lead to meaningful employment for autistic individuals and that enhance the bottom line for area businesses.
This “pipeline to employment” model helps the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation identify roadblocks to meaningful employment faced by many individuals with autism and work with partners throughout the community to identify or develop programs and innovations that may help individuals succeed in overcoming these obstacles.
There are a lot of unknowns in science, particularly when it comes to autism, but what is clear is many in the autism community are looking for employment help. We examine each program and innovation to get a sense of its potential to have a positive impact. For those that show promise, we help facilitate such pilot projects so we may try to help those who need it today, while examining the results with a scientific lens so we can determine what works and what doesn’t. Once a program or innovation has been vetted, we’ll add it to the Nashville Model.
Simply put, the Nashville Model will be a collection of programs and innovations that may help individuals on the spectrum find meaningful employment, not just in Nashville but, ultimately, anywhere such elements may be replicated.
The Nashville Model was featured in this Tennessean article.