JEFFERSON CITY, MO – On Tuesday, November 29, 2022, Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe, on behalf of the Buy Missouri program, will join the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Missouri Association of Sheltered Workshop Managers, and the Missouri Association of Manufacturers to sign a Memorandum of Collaboration (MOC) to formalize a partnership between the organizations.
“Sheltered workshops offer incredible opportunities for Missourians with disabilities and their families, and many Buy Missouri member companies already utilize services from one of the 89 sheltered workshops across the state,” said Lieutenant Governor Kehoe. “This collaboration will benefit Missouri’s workforce development efforts, while promoting Missouri manufacturing, products, and services.”
The signing of the MOC will take place at Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company, a Buy Missouri member currently utilizing sheltered workshop services. Lieutenant Governor Kehoe will be joined by Dan Gier, Director of DESE’s Extended Employment Sheltered Workshop Program, Michael Eaton, Executive Director of the Missouri Association of Manufacturers, and Rob Libera, President of the Missouri Association of Sheltered Workshop Managers for the signing.
“Collaboration with business and industry partners is essential to our work at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, including the sheltered workshops we oversee statewide,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “Relationships like these are just one way to broaden our state’s collective efforts to focus on workforce development and employment for all Missourians.”
The mission of the MOC is to increase awareness of the capabilities of each organization, to promote Missouri manufacturing, products, and services, and to provide employment and training opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities and the community at large.
“The Missouri Association of Sheltered Workshop Managers is proud to be part of this unique and unprecedented collaboration,” said Rob Libera, President of MASWM. “Missouri is a leader in providing opportunity and employment choice for people with disabilities. These jobs provide stability, self-worth, and dignity to thousands of Missourians. We applaud Lt. Governor Kehoe for this initiative, and look forward to working alongside the Buy Missouri program, the Missouri Association of Manufacturers, and the Missouri Department of Education in continuing to promote the quality and reliability of Missouri products and services.”
Through the MOC, the organizations will collaborate to develop and establish policies and procedures that will promote and sustain Missouri manufacturing and services, while providing employment and training opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.
“The Missouri Association of Manufacturers knows that collaboration is the best way to accomplish any objective,” said Michael Eaton, Executive Director of the Missouri Association of Manufacturers. “This partnership creates a formal opportunity for these organizations to work together in creating opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities to work with even more Missouri manufacturers.”
The Buy Missouri program is an initiative through the Office of Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe to promote products manufactured in the state of Missouri. The program currently has more than 500 members and nearly 40 retail partners. Buy Missouri members can be found in 93 counties across the state where they employ more than 15,000 Missourians.
There are 89 sheltered workshop corporations located around the state of Missouri. These shops provide employment for approximately 5,000 people with disabilities and approximately 900 staff. Sheltered workshops enable individuals with disabilities to experience the dignity of work by providing a safe and highly supervised environment and community programs.
Photos of the signing will be available on the Lieutenant Governor’s Flickr page.
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
When: 11:00 a.m.
Where: Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company and Bissenger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier
5025 Pattison Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110