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Tennessee State University grant will help students with intellectual disabilities prepare for job market

A student crosses the campus of Tennessee State University, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2006, in Nashville, Tenn. In his State of the State speech Tuesday, Gov. Phil Bredesen challenged state lawmakers to significantly improve Tennessee’s graduation rates over the next six years. Now higher education officials will have to figure out how to make that happen.  (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Story at a glance

  • Tennessee State University plans to use $284,000 in grant funds to create a special non-degree certificate program called TigerEDGE.
  • The program is designed to give young adults with disabilities the opportunity to experience college life and to prepare for the workforce.
  • Eligible students will be between 18 and 26 years of age and will be paired with an undergraduate student majoring in special education as a peer mentor.

Tennessee State University plans to use $284,000 in grant funds to help students with intellectual and development disabilities prepare for the job market.  

The funds were awarded to TSU along with three other institutions of higher education from the state’s Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  

TSU will distribute the funds over two years to create a non-degree certificate program called TigerEDGE, which is aimed at helping young adults with disabilities experience college life while also preparing for the job market, the university said.  


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Eligible students will be between 18 and 26 years old and live on campus, the university said, and will be paired with an undergraduate student majoring in special education as a peer mentor.  

TSU hopes to have eight students in the program this fall.  

“TigerEDGE gives participants an ‘Edge’ in their transition to independent adulthood by providing person-centered inclusive learning and choice,” Anita McGaha, director of disability services at TSU and the grant’s principal investigator, said in a release.  

“The services delivered will focus on improving the quality of life through the development of social skills, academics, career, and job readiness. The experience of learning, living, and working together in an inclusive environment enhances the lives of all students and the TSU community as a whole,” McGaha said.  


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