State winner “passionate” for the creation of employment opportunities



Kara Berlin-Bates removes barriers for inmates on release from prison and returns to civilian life, as well as helping people with disabilities find employment.

In recognition of her work, she was chosen as the Missouri State Employee of the Month for October. She was chosen in September as the employee of the month for the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.

Berlin-Bates, from New London, is responsible for personnel and operations as a district supervisor at DESE’s vocational rehabilitation office in Hannibal. She served the department for almost eight years.

The coordinator of institutional reintegration activities at the North East Correctional Center of Bowling Green congratulated Berlin-Bates in a message sent to a DESE official.

“I received an unsolicited email from the above Department of Corrections employee who wanted to recognize Ms Berlin-Bates for her exceptional service and the positive difference she is making with the inmates there,” Timothy Gaines, Assistant Commissioner, DESE Office of Adult Learning and Rehabilitation. Services, wrote on his appointment form.

The coordinator’s email read, “Kara is kind and helpful, and has made a difference in my ability to help offenders get pre-release assistance by applying for benefits and admissions while they are in. still in prison. It has an incredible impact on the lives of offenders and gives them hope.

In addition to its supervisory functions, Berlin-Bates also has a workload providing employment services to people with significant disabilities. She is a member of the Northeast Missouri Workforce Board and has been an active member of several interagency teams, including the Vocational Rehabilitation Re-entry Team.

She is described as passionate about creating jobs and career opportunities for people with disabilities in Northeast Missouri, and she was instrumental in creating the first ‘reverse’ job fair in Hannibal region in 2019. At such an event, job seekers put their talents in the spotlight. , employers being those who circulate among the booths of potential employees to introduce themselves.

The event in Hannibal was considered a success thanks to the participation of many employers and the obtaining of employment by job seekers. Other reverse career fairs were planned, including one in October for Disability Awareness Month.

His supervisor describes Berlin-Bates as a charismatic, innovative and compassionate leader whose energy and enthusiasm are contagious. It partners with the Workforce Council and Correctional Center, as well as local employment centers, community rehabilitation programs, employers and area high schools.

It is credited with having had “a significant impact in removing barriers for people with disabilities and creating opportunities for its consumers to obtain training and employment services to advance their careers.”


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