Our Story

Karen Blake has always sought the best for her son Matthew, who was diagnosed with Autism at 18 months in Atlanta, Georgia. Karen and her husband Steve moved to Nashville in 2005, and they realized there was a great need for center-based ABA therapy in Middle TN. In response, Karen founded the Autism Foundation of Tennessee, which later became Autism Education & Therapy Center in 2006.

That organization has become the premier provider of center-based ABA therapy in Middle Tennessee.

During Karen’s time with Autism ETC, she began to take notice of another missing piece of the autism community in Middle Tennessee. The area lacked a center-based program bridging the gap between the traditional school system and the work environment for students with ASD. She believed that a vocational tract should be available for teenagers and young adults with autism.

In 2020, Karen founded Autism Career Training (ACT) in order to meet the needs of these individuals. Karen partnered with Matthew Powell and Dr. Andrew Burnham to craft vocational and prevocational training programs to equip trainees with the necessary skills to succeed in the workplace.

Our Future

We continuously improve our training programs and add new vocation-specific instruction. We seek opportunities to better equip our trainees with a wide range of skills to succeed in a variety of workplaces.

Autism Career Training is currently seeking partnerships with local community members and businesses. We believe partnering with employers will enable our trainees to succeed in specific professional settings. Our programs are a starting point for individuals on the autism spectrum that seek greater fulfillment in life through vocation. Our partners help provide industry-specific training and job placement opportunities for our trainees.