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January Meeting Brings Great Training, Dialogue

The January MASWM-MESA meeting featured a number of highlights, including the annual legislative breakfast and other meetings with Missouri leaders on Tuesday, Jan. 29.

Another highlight involved training sessions Monday afternoon, Jan. 28. Part of MASWM’s increasing emphasis on resources of value to members, the sessions featured topics from Missouri’s new medical marijuana program to discussion of MASWM activities.

MASWM-MESA Legislative Consultant Lynne Schlosser kicked off the sessions with a presentation on “Finding Your Voice through Advocacy.”

Lynne, who has worked with the association for over 12 years, noted that no crucial legislation for workshops was expected during this year’s Jefferson City legislative session. However, funding and some language changes are proposed, including some that would impact wages for people with disabilities. The session ends in May.

The bulk of her presentation dealt with grassroots efforts that are often critical to workshop communications with legislators and other community leaders. She noted that five “contacts” are often all that is needed to change the vote of an elected official. Individuals such as parents and people with disabilities are often the most effective because they represent core constituencies.

The second presentation featured Lyndall Fraker, director of Medical Marijuana for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Lyndall delivered a special presentation on Missouri’s recently enacted law and how it will be enforced. A major area of his discussion included how employers such as workshops can and cannot deal with employees who might be able to legally consume marijuana. A key to his message was that employers have every right to limit employees, especially those who might operate equipment like forklifts.

The third session focused on MASWM’s sister organization, Missouri Employment Supports and Advocacy (MESA). Executive Director Katie Jones explained that MESA focuses exclusively on legislative communications, while MASWM was founded to support managers and their operations of workshops, with an emphasis on training and collaboration to solve problems. Legislative Co-Chair Brian Hogan, along with Missouri A-Team leaders Tracy Gritsenko and Mike Stroud, provided information on the history of their organizations and upcoming events.

All training sessions videotaped at the January meeting are available in the Resource Library tab of the association website.