March 28, 2021
By Bronson Woodruff
STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) - An organization in Mississippi works with disabled people to help them learn the jobs they want to do.
"I'm paralyzed. I'm a paraplegic, so it was hard for me to get a job," Jarrell Murray said.
Murray said he is now a wire harnesser at Taylor's Logistics.
It's a position he said he earned thanks to the help of Ability Works, a vocational department at the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services.
"Somebody had to trust me really because first when you look at me, you're like, 'He ain't gonna work,'" Murray said.
He said he's been paralyzed since 2008. He graduated from the work program in October of 2021.
The department has offices in Columbus, Tupelo, Starkville, and a small office in Aberdeen.
Chris Howard is executive director of the department.
He said counselors will talk to trainees about what their goals are and what type of jobs they want.
"These could be individuals who maybe are born with a disability or maybe obtained a disability later in life. But we're working with those individuals to again help them reach their employment goal," Howard explained.
He said they've helped people as young as 14 years old.
"The work itself of really doing a job; the Ability Works system provides that and helps individuals get ready for that next step," Howard added.
Rob Oswalt is deputy district manager at the department. He said it all starts with people calling them for help.
"Mostly what we're looking for is not what they can't do, we're looking for what they can do and what they enjoy doing, because if someone loves the work they do, they're gonna be happy," Oswalt said.
Workers said Murray is a prime example of how the program can help someone.
Murray said he would most definitely recommend Ability Works to anyone who needs a hand.
"I mean, they put me in a better position so I can provide for myself. You know, they gave me the experience, you know," Murray said. -
Skilled to Work - Ability Works | Community | wtva.com