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July 30, 2020

Work Able Missouri Pilot Program yields results for participants and employers

Two participants have found success after several months in the Work Able Missouri Registered Apprenticeship pilot program. The Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development’s Office of Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning, partnered with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of Adult Learning and Rehabilitation Services to launch the pilot program in December 2019.

The Work Able Missouri program is aimed at assisting individuals with disabilities with entering a career pathway and a sector not commonly associated with Registered Apprenticeships. Participants from southwest Missouri are working at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park to gain skills on the front lines of restaurants, cafeterias, and catering kitchens that will lead to permanent employment opportunities in the culinary field.

“Making the decision to support and work with local programs like Work Able Missouri was an easy decision,” said John Torre, human resources director, Johnny Morris Foundation. “Since our invitation to pilot and collaborate with this great program, we’ve been given the opportunity to tap into an incredible pool of talent, and we’ve already welcomed two program participants to our Dogwood Canyon Nature Park team. These two individuals have fully integrated into their roles and have been great representatives of this program. Our hope is to encourage and inspire other area organizations and businesses to work with Work Able Missouri as a key part of their recruitment and retention strategies.”

The pilot program creates opportunities for individuals with disabilities to begin new careers and achieve nationally recognized credentials.

“Apprenticeships are a win-win for the apprentice, and the employer,” said Yvonne Wright, senior manager, Office of Workforce Development. “We are excited to see these opportunities garner meaningful employment for individuals with disabilities.”

“Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation is proud to partner with the Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development, Abilities First Employment Services, Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, and Ozarks Technical Community College, and commends the collaborative efforts to establish on-site apprenticeships in May despite the pandemic,” stated Tim Gaines, assistant commissioner, Office of Adult Learning and Rehabilitation Services.

Registered Apprenticeships are a highly flexible “earn while you learn” training model for employment that increases pay as the apprentice reaches higher productivity levels. In addition to rewarding performance, Registered Apprenticeships combine employer-driven job-related instruction with extensive on-the-job learning under the supervision of a trained professional. After completing a Registered Apprenticeship, the apprentice receives a nationally-recognized occupational credential.

For more information about Missouri Registered Apprenticeships, visit https://dhewd.mo.gov/apprenticeship_missouri.php.


About the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development: The department works to empower Missourians with the skills and education needed for success. More information about MDHEWD can be found at https://dhewd.mo.gov or on Facebook and Twitter @MoDHEWD.