Lowther and Gray speak to Starkville Rotary Club

In the meeting, Allison Lowther and Jennifer Gray of the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services delivered a presentation on the programs and
services MDRS has that assists individuals with disabilities to gain employment, retain employment and to live more independently.

MDRS has four major programs: workforce development, vocational rehabilitation, special disability programs, and disability determination services.

“Those basically get people in the workforce. They help our counselors assist and give them the accommodations needed,” Gray said.
One of the ways MDRS aims to get individuals with disabilities into the workforce is through AbilityWorks, like Starkville’s own on Industrial Park
Road, which is a network of community rehabilitation programs that provide vocational assessment, job training, and actual work experience for individuals
with disabilities.

“We have AbilityWorks locations all across the state, and it’s amazing to see the on-the-job training. So individuals are there and they
learn computer skills and hands-on skills,” Gray said. “The one in Starkville does wood works, and they make some amazing things. I've seen shooting boxes, and
then also pieces for Fastenal Milwaukee Tools, it depends on who they work for. But we work with several different partnering businesses on that. It’s great for
our interns and our clients to be involved.”