Job One’s Visit to Sheltered Workshops in Missouri
I’m a board member of the Sheltered Workshops Insurance of Missouri (SWIM), a self-insured workers compensation entity for agencies in Missouri like Job One. Through SWIM, I took a tour of five different sheltered workshops, facilities that hire people with disabilities, in Southeast Missouri: Piedmont, Big Springs, Birch Tree, Poplar Bluff and Alton.
With the exception of Poplar Bluff, there are very little manufacturing job opportunities in Southwest Missouri. To create a steady source of revenue, the other four facilities had to get creative. Businesses at these organizations included thrift stores, pallet-making shops, auto detailing, clothing recycling and making bundles of firewood for state parks.
I was incredibly impressed with the ingenuity and work ethic on display at every agency I toured last month. Every facility I toured had a positive, productive work environment in addition to high safety standards. SWIM members have many customized safety resources and solutions available for free. It was reassuring to see first-hand the benefits SWIM has on a facility.
Not only was every facility that I visited on the tour incredibly welcoming, the communities were supportive, as well. Community support is how workshop facilities like Job One, and the ones I toured, stay operational. During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, it’s more important now than ever to understand how these facilities help foster a more inclusive work economy for people with disabilities.
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