EXECUTIVE ORDER
19-16

WHEREAS, the State of Missouri is committed to developing and maintaining a talented public workforce that reflects the rich diversity of the citizens of the State; and

WHEREAS, it is the policy of the State of Missouri to support and encourage individuals with disabilities to fully participate in the community and economic life of Missouri and engage in competitive integrated employment; and

WHEREAS, 79.8% of working-age people without a disability are employed, while only 37.1% of working-age people with a disability are employed; and

WHEREAS, the percentage of individuals with disabilities living in poverty in Missouri is 15.5% higher than the percentage of individuals without disabilities who are living in poverty; and

WHEREAS, the economic impact of unemployment and pay disparities between people with disabilities and those without disabilities results in forgone state tax revenue; and

WHEREAS, expanding job opportunities for people with disabilities saves federal and state government money by reducing dependency on cash and medical disability-related benefits; and

WHEREAS, the State of Missouri is committed to reducing discrimination, eliminating barriers to employment, and attracting talented candidates into state employment; and

WHEREAS, to be competitive in the global economy, the State of Missouri must use the talents and important contributions of all workers, including individuals with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, the State of Missouri, as the state's largest employer, can serve as a model for the employment of individuals with disabilities through improved recruitment, hiring, and retention strategies:

NOW THEREFORE, I, MICHAEL L. PARSON, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Missouri, do hereby order the commencement of the Missouri as a Model Employer initiative and direct:

1. The State of Missouri shall make best efforts to eliminate the disparity in the percentage of individuals with disabilities of working age in the population and the percentage of employees with disabilities in the State workforce, and set annual goals for continuing to increase the percentage of individuals with disabilities in the State workforce.

2. The Office of Administration shall, on an annual basis, collect data, based on voluntary self-disclosure, and report initial baseline numbers of state employees with disabilities. The Office of Administration shall report and evaluate the State's progress in increasing the percentage of employees with disabilities in the State workforce.

3. The Office of Administration, Division of Personnel, shall identify and designate a State Disability Employment Coordinator or Coordinators, who shall be responsible for advising all state agencies on disability policy and compliance with state and federal disability rights laws, collaborating with and supporting all state agencies concerning recruitment, hiring, and retention of employees with disabilities, and training of state employees and managers on disability-related issues.

4. Each state agency shall utilize best efforts, with the support of the State Disability Employment Coordinator or Coordinators, to recruit, hire, retain, and promote career advancement of individuals with disabilities, and to adopt best practices and strategies that will promote the recruitment, hiring, and retention of employees with the most significant disabilities including the use of supported employment, individual placement with support services, customized employment, internships, and job shadowing.

5. The Office of Administration and the State Disability Employment Coordinator or Coordinators shall ensure that all state employees participate in initial and periodic disability awareness training to build and sustain a culture of inclusion in the workplace which will include discussion of rights to reasonable accommodation in the workplace.

7. The Office of Administration and the State Disability Employment Coordinator or Coordinators shall work with each state agency to ensure that human resources and hiring managers are provided training in disability rights, hiring, and workplace policies, and best practices that promote a diverse and inclusive workforce.

8. The Office of Administration shall ensure that the State's web-based hiring portal is accessible for applicants with disabilities.

9. The director or commissioner of each state agency shall, within 30 days of this order, designate an employee or employees who will be responsible for overseeing the development, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of strategies to recruit, hire, retain, and promote career advancement of people with disabilities, and who will serve as a contact person for Missouri Rehabilitation Services and other organizations that represent job seekers with disabilities.

10. Each agency's disability contact shall make best efforts to utilize the resources, services, and funding available through Missouri Rehabilitation Services and the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development for work-based learning experiences, internships, and trainings for high school and college students with disabilities including youth with significant disabilities.

12. This executive order shall not be construed to require any state employee or candidate for state employment to disclose disability status involuntarily. This order shall not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the State of Missouri, its departments, agencies, or entities, it officers, employees or agents, or any other person.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Missouri, in the City of Jefferson, on this 9th day of September, 2019.

[Michael L. Parson's signature]
Michael L. Parson
Governor

ATTEST:

[Jay Ashcroft's signature]
John R. Ashcroft
Secretary of State

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