Tennessee School for the Deaf - Knoxville

The Transition Services Department at Tennessee School for the Deaf (TSD) has a rich and rewarding Work Based Learning (WBL) program. Criteria to begin a WBL program requires students to be at least 16 years old and enrolled as a student at TSD. Students have opportunities to share their career goals and begin career exploration with skilled certified teachers and the Career Center at TSD. Students explore various types of career and job opportunities in the WBL program.

The Transition Services Department has a long standing relationship with various local businesses to include; Sunshine Industries, Goodwill Industries-Knoxville, Love Kitchen, and University Of Tennessee's UT Gardens, all located in Knoxville, TN. New relationships continue to expand within the local and surrounding Knoxville community. Many of our students participate volunteer opportunities and/or paid job experiences at these businesses. In addition, some students in the program have work placements on TSD campus. On campus placements include kitchen service, office technology, maintenance, store room services, mailing services, clerical and business systems, yard and landscaping services, and computer programming.

WBL programs help students develop career awareness, learn appropriate workplace skills and relate academic skills to real work and world environments. This can be carried over to other areas of life. Students learn the importance of earning a paycheck, banking skills, and opportunities for budgeting. Students learn to be punctual, to appropriately interact with supervisors and co-workers, follow dress codes and safety rules, and develop positive workplace habits, attitudes and skills.

Students in WBL classes may also participate in Independent Living Skills (ILS) courses. Students go on various field trips to local businesses such as the mall, grocery stores, book stores, the movies, and restaurants. Some field trips may also include nearby attractions such as Ober-Gatlinburg and Dollywood located near the Smoky Mountains, just outside on Knoxville. Field trips like these allow students to interact with new people, have exposure to new environments, accept change, and develop budgeting and problem solving skills.

These relationships encompass TSD students' future employment goals, building social and character skills, development of work ethic skills, real world knowledge, and community based learning; all in preparation for life after leaving TSD.

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