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.
Learn more about Job One by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Show your support for Job One by using our services, donating, and helping us spread the word to advocate for adults with disabilities as we celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month.