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Department of Rehab develops workforce through disability accommodations

photo courtesy Telesouth Communications, INC.

Imagine going shopping for clothes. As you’re just about to give up on navigating the clearance rack, you see an associate who might can help.

They are completely deaf.

How do they work in a job that requires so much communication? How does the employer adjust to meet their needs?

That’s where the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services comes in.

“Every disability is different for every person,” said MDRS Director Chris Howard. “You may look at a group of people and realize they are deaf, but they require different things. One may be good at reading lips, the other at sign language, and the other may need help with both.”

Howard said when people with disabilities approach them for work assistance, they do all they can to get them and their future employer prepared.

“We have to sit down with the client and see what services they need to go back to work,” said Howard.

Often, they provide on-the-job training for not just the clients, but the employer as well.

“We can provide support of employment, we can provide assistance technology,” said Howard. “A lot of times, the employers don’t know what is out there, so they are afraid of hiring someone with a disability. We help to end that fear.”

MDRS offers vocational rehabilitation services through an agency called AbilityWorks to help those with disabilities enter or re-enter the workforce. There are 15 locations around the state. Learn more about those services here.

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