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Businesses honored for CTRC support


Posted 12/31/21

Community Tennessee Rehabilitation Centers (CTRC) is transforming its services to be community based and provide a larger variety of services for both internal and external customers.  

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Businesses honored for CTRC support



Community Tennessee Rehabilitation Centers (CTRC) is transforming its services to be community based and provide a larger variety of services for both internal and external customers.  

The CTRC at Shelbyville piloted what it calls its VR Pre-Employment Program (PREP) this past summer. The event involved providing at-risk youth independent living, community involvement, and career readiness services.  

“We partnered with our Pre-ETS specialist, VR field staff, and business employment consultant internally,” said Linda Fisher, CTRC Region 6 area manager.  

Division of Rehabilitation Services  

“Our CTRC provided PREP participants tours of local businesses and organizations and speakers from those not available for touring. The people there explained what they do and how employees obtain their various positions.” 

VR PREP participants were offered an opportunity to participate in community-based training/internships following completion of VR PREP. Eligible participants would be paid during training through the WIOA youth program.  

Three participants chose to participate in the community-based training/ internship option. Three local employers offered them opportunities to learn, grow, and understand the world of work and become more involved in their community. Two of the three employers also provided tours during the VR PREP pilot, according to Fisher.  

Community-based internship  

The Community Clinic of Shelbyville and Bedford County offers a large variety of medical and dental services. Individuals living at or below poverty level obtain needed care for free or at a significantly reduced cost.  

The director of the clinic, Fredia Lusk, sits on the CTRC Shelbyville Advisory Board and looks for ways to serve as many individuals as possible, Fisher said. 

“Our participants toured the clinic and received first-rate attention. They even provided gifts the participants could use at home for self-care! One of our participants recently graduated from high school and wanted to work as a receptionist. She completed our employee development training and VR PREP. She possesses a bright intellect, charming personality, and a strong desire to work.”  

Fisher said that the participant’s medical condition is an observable one, and she was having a hard time finding employment.  

Following the tour of the clinic, the young woman stayed a few minutes and spoke with the office manager, Patricia Simmons, about working in the office, Fisher explained.  

“The CTRC Manager contacted the director upon returning to the center. The director had already spoken with her office manager and decided to provide the participant an opportunity for the community-based internship!”  

Fisher presented a certificate just recently to honor the Community Clinic of Shelbyville and Bedford County staff for their hard work, dedication, and service to this community as well as for providing a participant with her first opportunity to demonstrate that she is able to work and contribute to her community.  

Dishwasher job  

Southern Connections Catering operates the cafeteria at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT)-Shelbyville and caters community events. One VR PREP participant wanted to work as a dishwasher, Fisher explained.  

“He had the ability to work and just needed an opportunity,” Fisher said.  

Laura Monks, TCAT Shelbyville president, sits on the CTRC Shelbyville Advisory Board. When asked about participants touring TCAT, she readily arranged it, Fisher said.  

“During the tour, the person leading it was asked about how the dishes were washed in the cafeteria. She took the time to show the participant the cafeteria and dishwashing area,” advised Fisher. 

Following the tour, the CTRC manager contacted the owner of Southern Connections Catering, Joe McCurry, about providing a community-based training opportunity for the participant. Curry immediately offered to interview him.  

The participant is now in a community-based training with Southern Connections Catering as a team member washing some dishes and learning to do many other duties, Fisher said.  

Fisher recently presented certificates of appreciation to Southern Connections Catering’ for providing this first taste of employment after high school to the VR participant.  

Auto mechanic Tire & Muffler USA works with the WIOA Youth Program to provide community-based training/internship opportunities, Fisher said. The business was honored with its honorary certificate of appreciation this week.  

“It just so happens that one of the VR PREP participants likes to work on automobiles,” Fisher said. “He has experience doing that for family members and friends. His last day of VR PREP, the WIOA Title I career advisor surprised him with an interview for a community based training opportunity with Tire & Muffler USA. He interviewed and received the opportunity!”