The state of Missouri is working to create more job opportunities for people with disabilities. Missouri is one of just 13 states picked to receive federal assistance to help more people with mental health challenges to find jobs, says KY3.
According the governor’s office, only about 40% of Missourians with disabilities have jobs. For those without disabilities, that rate is nearly 80%.
Abilities First is a resource centre in Springfield for people with disabilities. Advocates and employees there said an inclusive workplace is important.
“I’m pretty much normal, the only difference between me and you is that you have legs and I don’t, for the most part,” said Jonathan Hudson. Hudson has been working as an IT Specialist for nearly five years.
“If something is actually broken with your computer, you bring it to me and I can erase it and completely redo windows and set everything up,” Hudson said.
He lost his legs eight years ago. Before landing this gig, he was told “no” from other potential employers. J. Gibbs is the Director of Employment Services with Abilities First. He said nearly one in five Americans are dealing with some form of disability. “These people just want to belong. We just want to belong. We’re really no different,” he said.
Gibbs said staff helps clients build a resume, complete applications, prepare for interviews and find jobs that fit. “It’s just a matter of overcoming some of these barriers so that they can have the opportunities they’re looking for,” he said.