The Show Me Careers Project picks Joplin to help improve employment for young adults with autism.
A $65,000 grant from the Show Me Careers Project makes Joplin one of eight pilot communities.
Currently only 7% of individuals with developmental disabilities are paid at or above minimum wage in Missouri and many struggle to get jobs.
Jessica Andrews, 22, is a student of the Bill and Virginia Leffen Center for Autism and she's hoping the project announced today helps her land a job.
The Ozark Center for Autism will work with businesses including General Mills, Schreiber Foods and Freeman Health System, to bring understanding of skills individuals with autism can bring to the workplace while helping families and young adults recognize their strengths and practice how to present them to employers.
The Center already has classes focusing on hygiene, relationships, self-advocacy and more, and will build on those.
One of the project's overall goals is to improve the transition path for youth from secondary education to higher ed or integrated employment.
"We're wanting to know how to make that path for youth with disabilities seamless," says Oliver Burnette, the Project Director of Show Me Careers.
This is something parents of those with autism have wanted for years.