Members | About Workshops | Services for Missourians | News

Dignified and meaningful employment
for people with disabilities

(Return to News Index)

Jordan Boyd was one of hundreds of Missouri workshop employees who trained at home during quarantine thanks to changes allowed by DESE during the pandemic.

DESE, Workshops Cooperate To Keep Employees Connected

(The following article is from the January 2021 MASWM Newsletter. Although vaccines and other developments are moderating the impact of COVID, the challenges faced by businesses AND human service agencies were all experienced by workshops across Missouri. Fortunately, cooperation between workshops and Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) helped.)

The links between Missouri workshops and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education have never been stronger than during the pandemic.

Since the crisis began, DESE has allowed rule changes, administered critical grant funds and more to help shops keep people with disabilities employed, connected and healthy.

A major step occurred early in the crisis when DESE removed the 20 percent training maximum and other limitations for workers with disabilities. This allowed workshops to continue training employees even if they were quarantined in a group home. This also allowed employees to stay involved and, especially, retain a level of workplace skills often critical to their long-term successes.

“They remained part of the working community,” MASWM President Rob Libera noted. “Many times, that is the only activity they have been able to participate in.”

MASWM Secretary Natalie Couch agreed. “This was very helpful to keep our employees busy during the stay-at-home orders, lack of transportation due to limited group size restrictions and DMH recommendations keeping our employees at home,” she said. “We had a lot of employees taking advantage of the at-home training. Once they were able to come back to work, they did! It was a nice effort from DESE to help us keep everyone going during this crazy time!”

(Return to News Index)

MASWM The Missouri Association of Sheltered Workshop Managers
If you have questions, please contact:
President Rob Libera – (636) 227-5666 or
or Legislative Chair Kit Brewer – (314) 647-3300 or