Missouri is one of 13 states selected by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy to receive technical assistance to help more citizens with disabilities obtain competitive, integrated employment.

The ongoing assistance is part of the Visionary Opportunities to Increase Competitive Employment initiative that will help Missouri improve employment outcomes within its statewide mental health systems. VOICE states receive policy consulting, technical support and ongoing mentoring through on-site, telecommunications and virtual mediums to support the efforts to increase competitive employment for individuals with mental health disabilities.

“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,” Gov. Mike 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.”

Although approximately 80% of working-age individuals in Missouri without a disability are employed, currently only 37% of those with a disability are employed.