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Access II (Gallatin)

L.I.F.E Center for Independent Living (Farmington)

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West Platte School District (Weston) 

Fort Zumwalt School District (St. Peters)

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United Cerebral Palsy (St. Joseph)

St. Charles County

St. Charles Map Nationally, 19 percent of people with developmental disabilities are working in a community setting, but Missouri only employs 7 percent of those individuals.  With support from the Show Me Careers grant, we hope to provide improved job coach training to improve these statistics.   Our pilot community has hired two supported employment experts from Virginia Commonwealth University, because VCU ranks among the top 100 universities in the country in sponsored research.  

Each school district will provide the opportunity for interested personnel within each high school to discuss and apply job coaching topics such as supported employment, career planning, job profiling, data collection, and job site training on September 8 and 9, 2013.Additionally, St. Charles County hopes to increase business engagement, so more businesses understand the benefits of hiring persons with disabilities.  Adults with disabilities tend to stay longer and have better attendance.  Employers are often unaware there is no cost associated with supporting a developmentally disabled person in the workplace.

In order to support our business engagement efforts, St. Charles County has secured a nationally acclaimed advocate for employment for persons with developmental disabilities, Randy Lewis.  His Walgreens initiative has put the “able” in disabled. Lewis introduced a new concept that transformed Walgreen’s distribution centers and employment opportunities.  Some of Walgreen’s distribution centers employ 40% of persons with disabilities.  Those persons are held to the same work standards and earn the same pay as “typically-abled” fellow workers.  Walgreens hopes to employ 20% of people with disabilities in all of its distribution centers.

Lewis said the Walgreens program gives hope to the parents of children with disabilities, who, he said, often wonder “what would happen after I’m gone. Can I live one day longer than my child?” Because of Lewis, many parents do not have to worry anymore; as long their son or daughter performs well at work and does their best for Walgreens, they’ve got a home. Likewise, St. Charles County is not focused on getting one person, or 10 or 100 young adults, a job.  We want to demonstrate how to make permanent change for adults with developmental disabilities.

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