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History @ High Hope | High Hope Employment Services, Inc. | Milan, MO | Supported Employment Services for People with Disabilities


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Our History

High Hope began as High Hope Activity Center, a habilitative training program for persons with developmental disabilities (DD) in Sullivan County in 1983.

In late 1988, the Kirksville Regional Center and administration of High Hope Employment Services, Inc., determined a definite need for clientele enrolled in the day habilitation program to be promoted into a program, which would increase community integration and employability. The name was appropriately changed from High Hope Activity Center to High Hope Employment Services, Inc.

The development of supported employment evolved through the cooperative efforts of High Hope Employment Services, Inc., the Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH) and Missouri Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (MDVR). Referrals are made to High Hope from both entities for supported employment services. High Hope's programs are accredited by CARF, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.

Supported employment is competitive employment in an integrated work setting performed by persons with disabilities. These persons, because of their disabilities, need ongoing support, such as job coaching and social support. Local businesses and individuals have provided work sites and competitive employment opportunities to persons participating in the program. A thrift store was opened up, and a laundry service to employ some of these individuals as enclave workers. A cleaning service was created to employ mobile work crews.

In 1989 a recycling center was opened. As High Hope continued to grow, grants were applied for and received to expand the recycling operation. A new building was purchased in July 1998. The Confidential Document Destruction business was started in 2000, requiring the construction of a new storage building. The thrift store, which had moved to the recycling location, also needed room for expansion. A USDA grant was applied for and a new thrift store, "The Hope Chest", was built to accommodate the influx of donations from the community. Not only had we created more jobs, but we were also providing a much needed community service.

An additional service offered by High Hope is Community Integration. Community Integration services were added in 1997 to provide off-site training and support to individuals diagnosed with DD. Community Integration is a service, which provides training to individuals to increase skills necessary for living in the community. These services may include assistance with social skills, domestic skills, money management, and transportation. Individuals are referred to us and funded by the Missouri Department of Mental Health and/or the Adair County Developmental Disability Board.

We continuously explore new avenues to diversify services and look for alternative funding sources to cover needs not met by present funding. A satellite office was opened in Kirksville in November 2000 to consolidate l6 consumers from another supported employment provider that had gone out of business. In 2007 a new building was purchased to expand our recycling operation in Kirksville and provide ample space for the satellite office.

In October 2004 High Hope opened its supportive housing project, Friendship Apartments. We provide permanent housing for the homeless disabled and transitional housing for the homeless. Appropriate services are provided by a variety of agencies.

On April 1, 2016 High Hope became a fully integrated employer. All persons served in supported employment now receive a competitive wage but still receive the ongoing support services needed to be successful in their jobs. This change allows those who have the most significant disabilities and need intensive supported employment services (job coaching 100% of the time), for whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred or been successful as a result of the disability, to be able to work in their communities along side other individuals without disability and earn a competitive wage.

We will also help find employment for the program participants either full or part-time, depending upon their abilities, thereby improving their potential to have an income above poverty level and become self-sufficient. In order to accomplish this we offer (with fee sponsorship from Missouri Division of Vocational Rehabilitation) on and off-site job training, counseling, case management, life skills, etc. Assistance in locating a permanent place to live will be provided to program participants completing the program.

High Hope strives to provide the best services possible for our consumers, referral sources, and funding sources. We want to develop friendships between our consumers and non-disabled members of the community to assist with community integration. Jobs are always needed and we welcome assistance from community members in locating and securing employment for our consumers. Our goals are to comply with all regulations, keep staff trained, and to continue professional development.

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