One Size Does Not Fit All When it Comes to Employing Adults with Disabilities

Sweet Jordan’s Bakery in Paris, Tenn., is  in the news again this week! If you remember, back in October, the bakery was told by TennCare that its special needs employees would no longer have access to their job coaches funded through TennCare because the company employed too many special needs adults. TennCare explained that the funding for those job coaches is tied to a federal waiver that allows job coaches only in settings that are integrated, meaning employees with disabilities work alongside a certain number of people who do not have disabilities.

“On The Avenue doesn’t currently participate in the TennCare / ECF Choices programs that Sweet Jordan’s employees used,” said Tom Woodard, Founder and Executive Director of On The Avenue. “We sympathize with the folks that operate Sweet Jordan’s Bakery. It is frustrating when the families you are serving are so elated with your efforts and execution of what you are doing, yet it doesn’t fit into the funding model that the state provides for the families that need that critical funding.”

“Unfortunately, limiting the number of employees allowed under that program within a business is just not aligned with the realities that families and individuals with special needs face on a daily basis,” he added.

On The Avenue is a safe place where people with and without disabilities come together in the creative services world to gain confidence, train and build community, for life, one day at a time.

“Instead of applying a one-size-fits-all model to On The Avenue, we design each workshop, internship and program we offer to fit an individual’s specific needs for a well-rounded life,” Woodard said. “Anyone who knows and loves someone with a disability will tell you: ‘If you have met one person with a disability, you have only met one person with a disability.’”

This week, Sweet Jordan’s announced it will be able to stay in business and continue providing those critical jobs thanks to a donation from The Barstool Fund, a crowdsourcing effort to help small businesses.

If you’re looking for a personalized opportunity for someone with special needs to live life more abundantly, create community and gain confidence through work experiences, learn more about how our program works and reach out to us for more information: (629) 202-7241 or [email protected].

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