Started in 1973 by a group of community members, Mid-Missouri Productivity & Packaging Specialists (MPPS), formerly Randolph County Sheltered Industries have come a long way since their inception 45 years ago.
Michelle sat down with Executive Director, Kit Brewer to learn more about the work that they do for the region.
If you have never heard of MPPS it is an organization that provides employment, job services and training to individuals with disabilities. These disabilities come in a broad spectrum from physical, and educational delays to someone who might have had a traumatic experience later on in their life.
“The ultimate goal is to have that individual [prepared] to go out and get a job anywhere in the community,” said Brewer.
In order to accomplish this goal MPPS works with businesses in the community to outsource various work. Some of these jobs include hand assembly, quality control or a prepackaging line where individuals would be able to do that in house. These jobs can either be at MPPS or a crew can travel to other businesses and do the work there.
Brewer said they want businesses to know that they set high standards for all their employees,
“From a business standpoint we would like businesses to know about our mission, but we simply want them to look at us as a business partner where we are going to meet their quality standards, their time goals and whatever their production needs are.”
For some of these individuals this is their only opportunity to grow and gain knowledge about real world job skills that they might not otherwise receive. They currently have 46 people that are involved in the program, but not all of them work full-time. Eight staff members are, also on site to assist the employees.
In the past, their facility has been an afterthought to many businesses. MPPS is working towards changing that by re-branding to Mid-Missouri Productivity and Packaging Specialists. This new brand allows them to work with larger companies outside of Randolph County and no longer be known as simply a charitable organization, but instead as a company to partner with for any outsourced labor needs.
To start the program one requirement is that a person’s disability must be certified by the Missouri Department of Education. After this is completed Brewer says to step in their door.
“If you are an individual with a disability who has an interest in a job then you [can] come in and fill out an application. We will have a conversation about your job skills and your goals moving forward,” explains Brewer.
In the past, the program had the ability to work with students as young as Sophomore’s in high school in 2015 new legislation made that no longer possible. Today, 18 years and older is the requirement to begin the program.
Because legislation can have a tremendous impact on MPPS and the individuals employed there a self-advocacy group called the A Team was formed. This group attends events in Jefferson City and Washington D.C. year-round. Brewer said that almost every employee has traveled to Jefferson City and have met with legislatures who are enacting laws.
“One of our employees is now going around the state and talking to other sheltered workshop’s employee groups about how important advocacy is,” he said.
There are several ways for members in the community to become involved with MPPS. Businesses can outsource work as previously mentioned, they can have people come into their business to work, businesses can rent out a portion of their building, area employees could assist with training by demonstrating skills, speaking engagements are always needed for the A-Team or someone could serve on the board.
Mid-Missouri Productivity & Packaging Specialists provides great work force skills for individuals with disabilities and provides a much-needed service for businesses in Mid-Missouri.
Stay in touch with MPPS
1751 Robertson Road Moberly, Missouri 65270