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COLUMBIA - The Missouri Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (MARF) is set to host its first ever disability employment summit.

The summit will be a chance for people with disabilities to learn and get advice on the job field.

The event will take place Thursday morning from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. at the Garden Inn Hotel on Vandiver Street.

MARF helps people with skills training, job development and supported employment. It wants to help break the barriers between people with disabilities and employment.

The organization’s mission is to improve the lives of Missourians with disabilities by driving public policy and strengthening member organizations through advocacy, education and collaboration.

Mark Satterwhite works for Boone County Family resources, an organization that belongs to MARF. He said this is a timely meeting because October is disability employee awareness month, nationally.

“It’s a myth that disability means can’t do,” Satterwhite said. “People with disabilities can work and should work because they want to work.”

Nationally-known leaders in the field will be speaking at the event to help the attendees. There will be five speakers who will all give their advice to help people with disabilities get jobs.

“People with disabilities want the same opportunities and have the right to the same opportunities as every other person,” Satterwhite said. “We want to do everything that we can to build our capacity to support them.”

MARF Executive Director Erika Leonard will be helping to running the summit. 

“The MARF Employment Summit brings industry leaders to share the most current knowledge and insights with state community providers, thereby ensuring they have the requisite resources to provide the highest quality of care to Missourians with disabilities," Leonard said. 

 The organization says it hopes that after the event, those who attend will have the ability to go out and find themselves a job and execute the skills learned.