• next steps

2019-2020 Next Steps Events

  • Mark your calendars for this semester's Next Steps Nights! Locations for the November sessions are TBA!

    9/26/19 Next Steps Night - Transition Toolbox 5-7pm at Central High School (Commons Area Surrounding Cafeteria)

    Registration for Transition Toolbox

    10/24/19 Next Steps Night - Pre-ETS Meet & Greet 5-7pm at Bearden High School (Library)

    Registration for PreETS Meet & Greet

    Benefits & Financial Planning Sessions:

    • 11/7/19 5-6:30pm "Financial Planning" with Travis Cullman, Wealth Advisor/Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor with Southwest Investment Group
    • 11/14/19 5-6:30pm "Planning for a Loved One With Special Needs" with Cindy Gardner, Attorney with Special Needs Law Center
    • 11/21/19 5-6:30pm "Making Work Work" with Kay Watson, Benefits Analyst from Benefits to Work

    1/30/20 Next Steps Night - Pre-ETS Meet & Greet

    Benefits & Financial Planning Sessions:

    • 3/5/20
    • 3/12/20
    • 3/26/20

    4/16/20 Next Steps Night - Transition Toolbox

  • Check out more transition resources at Transition TN!

    Transition TN

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  • Did you attend 2019 Next Steps Transition Conference? We'd love to hear from you! Please take 2-3 minutes to complete our survey using the link below:

    2019 Conference Survey

Links to Session Surveys

Next Steps

Event Information

  • Contact:

    April 6, 2019
    8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    Central High School
    5321 Jacksboro Pike
    Knoxville, TN 37918
    Driving Directions
  • Registration closed Friday, March 29 at 11pm, but you can still register by phone at 865.594.1490. Walk in attendees are welcome, but may have limited access to lunch options.


  • Wendy Besmann

    Keynote Address:

    Start Here, Get There: A Five Point Action Plan to Calm Chaos, Avoid Burnout and Stay Focused for the Long Haul.

    Helping your child make the transition to adult living is like entering a foreign country where all the signposts are unfamiliar, the customs are strange, and you don’t speak the language. Break through confusion with Get There Project director Wendy Besmann, author of the step-by-step guides Family Road Map and Young Adult Road Map.  Besmann will share the story of helping her son David, who has autism and bipolar disorder, make the transition to independent but supported adulthood.  She will outline a five-step Guiding Star method that breaks down big, messy problems into tasks you can handle.  Get ready to relax, take a breath, and learn simple, practical strategies that can make your journey easier.

    Wendy Besmann is Director of Get There Project, a training partnership between family-focused non-profit organization Team Up for Families and educational publisher Family Road Map Institute.  She is the author of Family Road Map:  A Step-By-Step Guide to Navigating Health, Education, and Insurance Systems for Families with Special Needs, and Young Adult Road Map:  A Step-By-Step Guide to Navigating, Wellness, Independent Living, and Transition Systems for People in Their Teens and Twenties.  This is her third career.  She began as a magazine travel writer and then wrote a local history book for UT Press.  In the process raising two children with special needs, she taught parenting classes and later worked as the training coordinator for K-Town Youth Empowerment Network, a Knox County initiative to provide wraparound services to transition-age youth and families with mental illness and other complex needs.  Her Road Map guides and curricula are now in use from Maine to Guam, and more than 1000 family caregivers in eight states have completed a Road Map workshop.  Another fun fact:  As a mother and a parent advocate, she has attended more than 100 IEP meetings.

Save the Date for April 6, 2-19 at Central High School

Next Steps Features

  • * Transition success stories
    * Graduation details
    * Legal and financial planning
    * Vocational opportunities
    * College readiness tips
    * Social and emotional support
    * Networking for parents
    * Agency Information Fair
    * Free lunch
    * Door Prizes!
  • Mobile American Job Center Logo

    Mobile American Job Centers Services

    The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is proud to roll out our mobile American Job Centers . . . mobile units with services similar to what you might find in a brick and mortar American Job Center.  These vehicles will arrive on the scene to provide a mobile computer lab with Internet access; create a venue for workshops including résumé assistance and interviewing skills, and serve as a recruitment center for companies moving into our state. If we're in your neighborhood, great things are happening on the job front, so get on board!

    For more information, please visit https://www.tn.gov/workforce/jobs-and-education/job-search1/mobile-american-job-centers/mobile-american-job-centers-redirect1.html

    Picture of mobile American Job Center

  • Schedule of Events:

    • 7-8am Vendor registration and setup (Cafeteria)
    • 8-9am Breakfast, parent/student/teacher registration (Cafeteria)
    • 9-9:15am Welcome (Auditorium)
    • 9:15-10am Keynote Speaker Wendy Besmann (Auditorium)
    • 10:10-11am Breakout Session 1 (See program for room numbers)
    • 11-11:10am Break
    • 11:10am-12pm Breakout Session 2 (See program for room numbers)
    • 12-1pm Lunch
    • 1:10-2pm Breakout Session 3 (See program for room numbers)
    • 2-2:10pm Break
    • 2:10-3pm Final Session and door prize drawing (Auditorium)
  • Breakout Session 1 - 10:10-11am
    Session Thread Session Title
    Student Session

    SMART Goals: Work Smarter, Not Harder

    Presented by Wes Allen, Life Skills Instructor with UT FUTURE Program

    Transition Resources Pre-Employment Transition Services
    Transition Services and the IEP
    Post-Secondary Supports: Furthering Your Education After High School Requesting an Accommodation in College
    Non-Degree Seeking Options
    Employment and Community Supports Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment and Community First CHOICES
    Independent Living Supports
    Planning For Adulthood ABLE 529 Accounts and Benefits to Work
    Advocacy/Getting Involved in Your Community
    Breakout Session 2 - 11:10am-12pm
    Student Session

    Preparing to Interview: Tips for Success

    Presented by Arden Szepe, Career and Life Planning Instructor for UT FUTURE Program

    Transition Resources Pre-Employment Transition Services
    Post-Secondary Supports: Furthering Your Education After High School Technical Training
    Requesting an Accommodation in College
    Employment and Community Supports Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment and Community First CHOICES
    Housing Options
    Planning For Adulthood Meeting Preparedness: A 1-2-3 path to communicating what you really need
    Planning for the Future of a Loved One with a Disability
    Breakout Session 3 - 1:10-2pm
    Student Session

    Post, Update, Tweet, or Snap? Tips to Stay Safe When Using Social Media

    Presented by Mary Jo Krile, Digital Literacy Instructor for UT FUTURE Program

    Transition Resources Pre-Employment Transition Services
    Post-Secondary Supports: Furthering Your Education After High School Non-Degree Seeking Options
    Technical Training
    Employment and Community Supports Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment and Community First CHOICES
    Support Groups
    Planning For Adulthood ABLE 529 Accounts and Benefits to Work
    Planning for the Future of a Loved One with a Disability


    •  What is transition?
      • “Transition is about planning for life! It includes planning for academic and non-academic courses and learning experiences, employment and related training opportunities, community living, and leisure activities. A goal of transition is to help youth understand their disability and choices to determine their future. One way transition does this is by connecting youth to teachers and other caring adults, support services, and experiences that build skills and help them reach their goals.” - From the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition  (www.ncset.org
    • Is there a cost for attending?
      • No, it is free to attend the Next Steps Transition Conference; however, if you plan to obtain a State ID and/or Graduated License (Learner Permit) for your student(s), standard fees will apply.
    • Who is this conference for? What if I don’t live in Knox County?
      • The Next Steps Transition Conference is for students with disabilities who need help planning for their transition into adulthood, as well as their parents, guardians, teachers, and caregivers. Knox County residence is NOT a requirement for attending the conference. Representatives from over 30 local agencies and programs will be present to answer questions about how they might be able to help with your transition needs.
    • What accessible facilities will be provided?
      • Accessible parking
      • Accessible restrooms
      • A private changing table
      • “Chill Out” room with sensory items
      • Further accommodations can be requested via your online registration form.
    • Is childcare provided?
      • No, however there will be three student-focused breakout sessions for those age 14-22. 
    • What do I need to bring if I’m using the mobile ID van to obtain my student’s State ID or take their Graduate License (Learner Permit) Exam?
      • If you intend to obtain a State ID, please refer to https://www.tn.gov/safety/driver-services/idonly.html for a complete list of required documentation. The fee for this service is $4.50 (under 18) - $12.00 (over 18). 
      • If your student intends to take their Graduated License (Learner Permit) Test, please refer to https://www.tn.gov/safety/driver-services/classd/gdl.html for a complete list of required documentation. The fee for this service is $10.50 (under 18) - $5.50 (over 18). 
      • **Please note that you are responsible for bringing all required documentation and applicable fees with you on the day of the conference. Not doing so could result in your student(s) not being able to receive this service.
      • General driver services information can be accessed here: https://dl.safety.tn.gov/_/#1
    •  How to I request an accommodation at the conference?
      • When you complete your online registration, you will have the opportunity to request and describe any accommodation(s) you may require.
    • If I still have questions after the conference, where do I go?
      • You can reach the Knox County Transition School to Work Grant Team at 865.594.1590, or michael.scripa@knoxschools.org. Following the conference, a list of contact names, email addresses and phone numbers will be available for representatives from agencies who presented at the conference.
  • Photographs and videos will be taken throughout the conference. Attendance constitutes permission to use images of those at the event on this website and in other promotional materials.
    kcs logo          Central High School
    Thanks to our Platinum Level Sponsors
        Sertoma Center
    Gastrointestinal Associates, P.C.
    Knoxville Jewish Community Family of Funds  
    Staybridge Suites
    Magnet Me Up
    UPS Store Farragut
    Thanks to our Gold Level Sponsors
     Knoxville Area Employment Conosrtium       Autism Breakthrough of Knoxville
    RHA Health Services Logo

Other Contributors

  • Thanks to our Silver Level Sponsors:

    Jim Erpenbach, DDS

    Deane Hill Dental Laboratory, LLC

    Bearden Family Dentistry

    Knights of Columbus