Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced a new scholarship opportunity for state employees through a partnership with Western Governors University (WGU) Missouri.
The Show Me Your Triumph Scholarship, valued at $5,000 each, will be awarded to 10 state employees looking to further their education and advance their careers.
Applicants will be asked to submit an essay describing an obstacle they have overcome in life. The scholarship is competitive for all state employees, but individuals with a disability will be given preference.
“We’re excited about this new scholarship program that will give state workers an opportunity to level-up their skills and advance their careers, especially those living with a disability,” Governor Parson said. “Expanding more job opportunities to individuals with a disability is critical to developing a state workforce that reflects the talents of all Missourians, and this scholarship is a great supplement to our efforts on this front.”
In September, Governor Parson signed an executive order announcing the commencement of the Missouri as a Model Employer initiative. The Model Employer classification is an emerging trend supported by the federal Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy to help more people with disabilities obtain competitive, integrated employment.
Currently, 79.8 percent of working age individuals in Missouri without a disability are employed while only 37.1 percent of working age individuals with a disability are employed. The Missouri as a Model Employer initiative aims to reduce this disparity by directing state government to serve as a model employer of individuals with disabilities through improved recruitment, hiring, and retention strategies.
Today’s Talent Showcase assisted with the initial launch of the initiative by giving individuals with physical, mental health, or cognitive disabilities an opportunity to showcase their talents and achievements to potential employers.
The Showcase operated as a reverse job fair in which state agencies and private employers circulated the individuals’ booths to learn more about their skills and abilities that may meet their hiring needs. Over 175 job seekers, state agencies, and private employers participated.
“It was great to see so many talented individuals showcasing their skills and achievements to employers today,” Governor Parson said. “This Talent Showcase is a key component to our Missouri as a Model Employer initiative, and we will continue doing all that we can to lead by example, eliminate barriers to employment, and expand job offers to individuals of all abilities.”