By Josh Mitchell
Corinth Today News Editor
A Corinth-based mental health agency is seeking local businesses to provide work experience for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
It is not necessary for a business to hire one of the clients full time but maybe just for a few hours a week, said Misty Weaver, who oversees the Region IV Mental Health Services program for Alcorn and four other counties.
Nationally, there has been an increased focus on integrating people with disabilities into the larger workforce as opposed to segregating them into separate work environments.
Employing someone with an intellectual or developmental disability can be a rewarding experience for a business and the client, she noted.
For instance, one client in the region hands out coupons and greets customers at a grocery store. This person is an important part of the business, and the customers look forward to seeing him, Weaver said. Clients can also volunteer at places such as food banks and visit nursing home residents.
Employers interested in hiring one of the clients should call Weaver at (662) 286-9860.
Integrating people with intellectual and developmental disabilities into the larger workforce empowers them by letting them give back to the community, Weaver said. These clients are important people who can provide businesses with valuable services and create a better understanding of human nature, Weaver said.
The Region IV program for intellectually and developmentally disabled serves about 80 clients. There is also a day program that allows clients to take part in community outings and develop skills.
A prevocational program also helps clients with job applications, resumes and employment skills. A job exploration component lets clients tour workplaces, and job coaches can temporarily help client get settled into a new job.
Whether the clients want to work is their choice. North Mississippi Regional Center helps clients develop a plan of supports and services. That plan is based on what is important to the client, and Region IV helps make it a reality.
Region IV employees can also go into the clients’ homes to help them develop skills such as food prep, housekeeping and grocery shopping.