Workshops provide a wide range of employment opportunities and other services for people with disabilities. Workshops are also part of a multi-layered network of services that have been built over years by parents and others directly concerned with people with disabilities.
The Top Priority: Services for People with Disabilities
Since the late 1960s, Missouri Extended Employment Sheltered Workshops have been the key to community-based services for people with disabilities and their families. Missouri’s workshops not only provide employment for 7,500 state residents, they also help improve their quality of life through an amazing array of activities and services.
First of all, the workshops’ business model provides employment opportunities and activities that, in many cases, would require massive state and local subsidies without workshops. The chance to earn a paycheck while practicing job and life skills is a benefit for Missourians that is virtually priceless.
Workshops also form the backbone of an important network of services that often begin in public schools and, with workshop assistance, continue after graduation. Workshops collaborate with school-to-work efforts, provide transportation assistance and often operate their own skill-development and training programs. By nature, they are among the most experienced organizations in Missouri when it comes to working with people who have developmental disabilities, and their support staffs are a proven benefit.
In addition, workshops also provide a nucleus of advocacy and family support. In nearly all instances, they were among the first organizations founded by parents, and they have spent years listening to the needs and wants of people with disabilities. They have worked tirelessly, often on their own, to develop the support network to translate those needs and wants into meaningful services. This includes development of self-advocacy skills so that people with disabilities and their families can advocate for themselves.
Workshops are actively involved with state and private service leaders to implement “extra” services such as day activity programs, assessment and evaluation systems, and community integration.
Missouri Extended Employment Sheltered Workshops are proven leaders in enabling people with disabilities to access a variety of vocational and personal options through direct service or referral networks. While employment opportunities are among the most important workshop efforts, they are far from the only services for people with developmental disabilities.