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MASWM Jeff City Meeting: Legislators, Challenges and More


Dialogue between Missouri legislators and workshop managers was a major component of the MASWM Jefferson City meeting.
MASWM members faced a broad range of issues at the annual Jefferson City meeting held Jan. 29 and 30 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel and nearby Missouri State Capitol building.

A major highlight was the annual Legislative Breakfast Jan. 30 in the Capitol. Workshop managers, staff members and consumers talked with their state representatives and senators about issues impacting workshops and employment opportunities. Several also visited representatives in their offices, including staff and consumers from Mid-Mo Productivity & Packaging Specialists (MPPS) in Moberly. Led by manager Kit Brewer, who serves as a MASWM legislative co-chair, the group spoke with several state leaders, including Cheri Toalson Reisch (R-44).

Rep. Rory Rowland (D-29) presented workshop managers Brian Hogan, Kit Brewer and Bruce Young, along with MASWM legislative consultant Lynne Schlosser, framed copies of HB-1415 along with a pen that the Governor used to sign the bill into law. Rep. Rowland made the presentation as a thank you for all of their efforts to amend and help pass the legislation.

Membership Meeting

The previous day, managers enjoyed a multifaceted membership meeting with a wide range of discussions and presentations.


MASWM Director and Training Chair Linda Kimrey (standng, left) helped lead a training session on OSHA programs available online. Linda was joined by Nancy Jensen, Conway Welcome Center Manager for Laclede Industries.
The session began with a presentation by Carol Griffin and Meagan Davis, Special Olympics Missouri, who told of their new wellness program for people with disabilities. Used throughout Special Olympics, the SoFit wellness program has been adapted by one Missouri workshop and they hope to include more. For more information, email Carol or Meagan at griffin@somo.org or mdavis@somo.org. You may also download their PowerPoint of their presentation.

Committee reports at the meeting included information from Secretary Natalie Couch and Treasurer Robert Greenwood. Training Chair Linda Kimrey noted several efforts to expand training for managers and staff, including a program being organized for the MASWM meeting April 10, 11 and 12 at Lake Ozark. At the end of the January meeting, Kimrey also presented an extensive session focused on internet training available for OSHA regulations.

At the April meeting, members will vote on candidates for Area Director positions. Board member and Area VII Director Tami Bock was appointed to lead the Nomination Committee.

Area IX Director and Board member Russ Kuttenkuler presented a summary of the responsibilities and time commitment for a potential executive director. The results were based on a survey among current board members. This is an initiative that has been discussed for the last several years. At the April meeting, a job description will be presented to the membership for consideration.

Reaching Out

Members also learned of continued area meetings being held in MASWM’s 10 Missouri districts. Two successful events were held near the end of 2018, and the next will be March 4 at Opportunity Sheltered Industries in Houston (see this article for more information).


The January meeting also included a lot of fun, including this "OSHA Trivia" contest.
Dan Gier, director of the Sheltered Workshop Division for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, reported on a diverse scenario for the state’s shops, with many seeing good business levels while others face serious challenge because of local economic and other factors. Gier noted he sends out a monthly newsletter via email in order to update workshops on economic trends, new regulations and more.

Legislative co-chairs Brian Hogan and Kit Brewer noted a wording change proposed to last year’s state-funding bill. The change involves a language correction for weekly and daily work hours. The additional funding contained in the original bill continues to provide benefits for workshops. They also noted that details will be announced soon regarding an April visit to Jefferson City for workshop staff and employees with disabilities.

Bringing Attention to Workshops

Hogan also cited MASWM’s new online workshop services and location tool (moworkshops.org/services.html). Visitors from 20 states and three foreign countries have used the interactive webpage. With details on goods and services provided by Missouri workshops with an interactive map, the tool allows potential business customers to find workshops that they can work with. Completed in late 2018, the page already has nearly 1,000 visitors.

Extensive time was spent on a wide range of issues that impact workshops. One of the biggest involved Missouri new minimum wage, which could make some workshop programs insolvent. Even relatively small issues, like staff members working over lunch hours by answering consumer questions, can be problematic.

Additional topics included efforts to work with other organizations that assist individuals with developmental disabilities in Missouri. Tuesday evening a special dinner meeting was hosted by DBI Services, the company hired by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) to oversee rest area maintenance services (see this article for more information).

That morning, MASWM’s Board of Directors spent several hours covering these and other topics, frequently making in-depth examination of each issue and planning further research and discussion. Board members agreed the organization needs to continue helping managers and their workshops deal with the many challenges faced today.

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MASWM The Missouri Association of Sheltered Workshop Managers
If you have questions, please contact: President Aaron Martin – (816) 796-7070 or amartin@jobonekc.org;
or Legislative Co-Chairs: Kit Brewer – (660) 263-6202 or kbrewer@rcsiemployment.org
and Brian Hogan – (816) 483-1620 or bhogan@bvinds.org