The Vanderbilt Initiative for Autism, Innovation, and the Workforce is working with major local, national, and international partners. Here we provide information and links to our Employment Assessment and Referral partners, High School and College Pipeline partners, Major Area Employer partners, and Community partners.
Employment Assessment and Referral Partners
Specialisterne, a Danish company and social innovator, utilizes employees on the Autism Spectral Disorder (ASD), giving them a competitive advantage in business. Management and staff create a working environment adapted to the special needs of people with ASD to harness their talents. Today, out of more than 50 employees, approximately 75% are diagnosed on the autism spectrum. The Initiative for Autism, Innovation, and the Workforce is working with Specialisterne to develop new psychometrics specially designed to assess the unique capabilities of autistic individuals for appropriate job placement.
The Precisionists, Inc. (TPI) is a national company focused on creating 10,000 jobs for people with disabilities by the year 2025, by providing industry best practices for delivering administrative and technology services performed through teams which include individuals with disabilities. TPI has established a satellite office in Nashville to work with the Vanderbilt Initiative for Autism, Innovation, and the Workforce as part of demonstrating the Nashville Model. Specifically, TPI will assist with job placement opportunities and workplace accommodations for individuals identified through the Initiative for Autism, Innovation, and the Workforce high school and college pipeline partners (see below). The Precisionists were also featured in an article by Lehigh Business, which can be viewed here.
PAIRIN is a social enterprise company whose mission is to make education relevant and hiring equitable. The company was founded on the belief that all people have amazing value, but most of us never realize our potential. People are too often put into ill-fitting boxes, told we can’t, won’t and will never be able to attain our dreams. They seek to change this.
High School & College Pipeline Partners
Benton Hall Academy is a Nashville school that specializes in educating high school, middle school, and lower school students that may struggle academically or socially in traditional schools. Approximately 30% of their students are on the autism spectrum. In addition to providing neuro-diverse students an education, the school also works to help them transition to college or a job after they graduate, adding the Vanderbilt Initiative for Autism, Innovation, and the Workforce as another pathway for their students’ future.
The mission of Currey Ingram Academy is to provide an exemplary K-12 day school program that empowers students with learning differences to achieve their fullest potential. The school delivers on this mission by providing:
- small classes
- evidence-based instruction
- individualized learning plans for each student
- strong arts, athletics and extracurricular activities
- speech-language and academic occupational therapies
- character education and social coaching
- personalized college preparation and counseling
- parent, community and professional education opportunities
Major Area Employer Partners
With a 150-year history and a network of offices in over 50 countries on five continents, UBS has extensive experience managing the wealth of high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals. This includes helping to protect global financial systems, meeting the regulatory guidelines and recommendations through a global, regional and structural approach. Their BCM program, which considers various levels and types of disruptions that might affect a building, business district, city or a wide-scale condition within a region or multiple regions, is constantly expanded as new information, techniques, and technologies become available. UBS is the first major Nashville employer to hire autistic individuals, the first of whom have joined the UBS Surveillance team.
Autism Tennessee exists to enrich the lives and experiences of individuals on the autism spectrum, their families, and their surrounding community through support, advocacy and education.
TennesseeWorks was formed with a single goal: to increase the number of young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are employed in the state. They work to help each young person with a disability to find a good job, with good pay, that brings real satisfaction and makes a real difference.
The Tennessee Geographic Alliance, Inc., is a non-profit educational organization fostering collaboration among college and university geographers, teachers in kindergarten through twelfth grades, education administrators, private industry and other interested parties. Their mission is to advance geographic literacy. Geospatial skills are among the top emerging skillsets sought by many employers in high-tech, manufacturing, and many other areas.
The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) provides research, training, services, and dissemination to improve the lives of children and adults with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities. The VKC Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD), one of our team members that you can read more about here, is dedicated to improving assessment and treatment services for children with ASD and their families while advancing knowledge and training. Employment is an area of emphasis of the VKC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), providing programs and resources, including Tennessee Disability Pathfinder, a free information and referral service. Many Vanderbilt researchers in the VKC Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC) lead autism-related research.