ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Governor Mike Parson announced that the Show-Me State has been selected for a mentorship program through the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) to help achieve the goal of becoming a Model Employer state for individuals living with disabilities.
Missouri was recently selected as one of 11 states to participate in the Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (EFSLMP). The program will support the development and implementation of the state as a Model Employer.
The EFSLMP program runs through the USDOL Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and is a cross-disability, cross-systems change initiative with a focus on developing a framework of aligning practices, policies and structures, that promote increased employment opportunities for those with disabilities.
Parson made his announcement on Thursday during his visit to Paraquad, the leading disability services provider in the St. Louis region.
“Paraquad has a long history of serving Missourians living with disabilities, and I’m so thankful for their assistance in helping Missouri become a Model Employer,” Parson said.
In 2017, Paraquad provided services to 2,323 individuals, including assisting over 500 individuals in obtaining a job or receiving the necessary support to succeed at a job.
“Becoming a Model Employer is crucial to ensuring Missouri is doing everything possible to fully integrate Missourians living with disabilities into the workforce,” Parson said. “I am pleased to hear that Missouri has been selected for this innovative program to make certain we are implementing all the best policies and practices to become a Model Employer.”
As part of the EFSLMP program, Missouri was chosen as a Vision Quest and Core state.
As a Vision Quest state, Missouri will engage in a series of small working groups, consisting of three to four states per team, to focus on analyzing, developing and implementing policy recommendations related to the implementation of Missouri as a Model Employer for individuals with disabilities.
As a Core state, department representatives will work with national experts to build capacity to improve employment opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities.
Missouri’s teams consist of representatives from the Governor’s Office; Paraquad; Office of Administration; Department of Mental Health – Divisions of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities; Department of Social Services; Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – Vocational Rehabilitation; Department of Economic Development – Workforce Development; Governor’s Council on Disability; Missouri DD Council and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.