In October 2011, Mississippi was one of six states that received a 5-year Partnerships in Employment Systems Change grant through the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  The primary focus of this 5-year project is to increase competitive employment outcomes for youth and young adults with DD/ID in Mississippi by enhancing the collaboration of existing state education and employment service systems.  The project will work together with critical stakeholders to develop policies, remove systemic barriers, implement strategies and best practices, and improve the transition process for Mississippi youth and young adults with DD/ID from school or training to competitive employment in integrated community settings.

  • The Mississippi Competitive Employment Act adopted by Mississippi Legislature on March 31, 2015, signed by Governor Phil Bryant on April 23, 2015.
  • Executive Order on Disability Employment Partnerships issued by Governor Bryant on January 14, 2014.
  • Increased collaboration among disability and employment agencies serving youth and young adults with I/DD, including Memorandum of Agreement for Employment Services between the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Mississippi Department of Mental Health Bureau of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
  • Twenty representatives from agencies and organizations and five self-advocates serve on the MSPE Consortium.
  • Fifty-five high school youth secured jobs in their communities through school-based work experiences developed by two MSPE pilot projects.
  • Four people employed through customized employment efforts of the third MSPE pilot project.
  • Ten middle and high schools in two school districts have had students participate in employment projects.
  • More than 25 community collaborators, including McAlister’s, Bob Boyte Honda, Computer Express, Firehouse Subs, Ray Brothers Automotive, Threat Construction, Baptist Hospital and TJ Maxx, work with projects to employ students.
  • Two Annual EmployAbility Job Fairs sponsored by the Governor’s Job Fair Network. In 2014, more than 650 applicants received 60 job offers from 33 participating employers; in March 2015, 400+ applicants received 88 offers from 46 participating employers.
  • Customized employment ensured as a viable option through pilot project working with schools, employment providers and state funders.
  •  Sixty-nine MSPE printed and electronic publications have been disseminated to more than 8,500 Mississippians.
  • Raised awareness at all levels about benefits of supporting competitive employment for people with disabilities.

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