Today, Governor Mike Parson signed Executive Order 19-16, 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. Governor Parson’s Executive Order aims to reduce this disparity by directing Missouri state government to serve as a Model Employer of individuals with disabilities through improved recruitment, hiring, and retention strategies. Through the initiative, the state will set annual goals for continuing to increase the percentage of individuals with disabilities in the state workforce and evaluate its progress in achieving those goals each year. The Office of Administration will also designate a State Disability Employment Coordinator or Coordinators to advise and support state agencies with the initiative, helping to ensure its success. To assist with the launch of the initiative, a Missouri as a Model Employer Talent Showcase will take place at the State Capitol on October 10, 2019. The Talent Showcase event is a reverse career fair that provides individuals with physical, mental health, or cognitive disabilities to showcase their talents and achievements through display or presentation. State agencies and private employers will have the opportunity to circulate the booths, introduce themselves, and learn about the individuals’ skills and abilities that may meet their hiring needs.