Model Employer Talent Showcase hopes to help disabled individuals find jobs

1 week 3 hours 46 minutes ago Thursday, October 10 2019 Oct 10, 2019 Thursday, October 10, 2019 5:44:00 PM CDT October 10, 2019 in News
By: Ian Russell, KOMU 8 News Reporter
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JEFFERSON CITY - A career fair where the employers go table to table meeting applicants isn't the most common practice, but this isn't any common career fair.

The Model Employer Talent Showcase aims to help individuals with disabilities get in contact with employers that are looking for workers.

Dawn Sweazea is the recruitment director for the office of administration. She says that this showcase is part of Governor Parson's plan to make Missouri a model employer.

"Today is what we call a talent showcase, it's to be part of what the Governor refers to as 'Missouri as a Model Employer'," Sweazea said. "Basically what that means is that we have some very specific efforts and plans around employing individuals with disabilities."

According to Governor Parson, disabled workers make up only 30% of the total disabled individuals in the state. He hopes events like these help change companies minds.

"We only have about 30% of those individuals in the workforce, which means we got a long way to go to improvement," Parson said. "I also think right now you realize the economy is, with the unemployment rates being low, the private sector is looking at that now as more of a work pool to be able to draw from."

One of the job seekers, Kristine Geerlings, has a passion for flower arrangements. She hopes events like this help her connect with a job for the long run.

"I hope that I'll be able to keep this job up until retirement age," Geerlings said.

Sweazea said that while this is the first year for the showcase, she's already heard positives from employers.

"The first time you do something like this, you always learn a lot," Sweazea said. "A lot of good leads and opportunities for folks to follow up on after today, a lot of the employers have stopped me and said 'This is amazing, I've got three people I'm going to call tomorrow about my IT job."

Geerlings said that she was excited when she heard about this showcase, as it was a place to show off her skills.

"I wanted to get a job as soon as possible, so if I am able to get a job, I'll be able to show my talents off."

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