State of Missouri Builds on Efforts to Become a Model Employer

Today, Governor Mike Parson announced today that Missouri is 1 of 13 states selected by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) to receive additional technical assistance (TA) to help more citizens with disabilities obtain competitive, integrated employment.  

The ongoing TA is part of an emerging trend under the Visionary Opportunities to Increase Competitive Employment (VOICE) initiative that will help Missouri improve employment outcomes within its statewide mental health systems. 

Last September, Governor Mike Parson signed Executive Order 19-16, announcing the Missouri as a Model Employer initiative. 

We are pleased we’ve been selected to receive additional technical assistance from the Office of Disability Employment, which will help us continue building on our efforts to make the state of Missouri a Model Employer,” Governor Parson said. “We are committed to doing everything we can, both through this initiative and other efforts, to eliminate barriers to employment and develop a workforce that reflects the talents and abilities of all Missourians.” 

Currently, approximately 80 percent of working age individuals in Missouri without a disability are employed. However, only 37.1 percent of working age individuals with a disability are employed.  

The goal of Missouri as a Model Employer is to increase the employment rate of all Missourians with disabilities. As part of the Governor’s Executive Order, Missouri has implemented professional development, training and supports for state agencies to help increase the recruitment and retention of employees with disabilities.  

The Missouri as a Model Employer implementation team will be working with private businesses to support similar diversity initiatives to meet workforce needs.

VOICE states receive intensive policy consulting, technical support and ongoing mentoring through onsite, telecommunications, and virtual mediums to support the strategic aims of their efforts to increase competitive integrated employment for individuals with mental health disabilities.