TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services helps disabled people overcome obstacles and become valuable members of the workforce.
"I'm just ready to get back into the workforce," patient Paul Conlee said.
Conlee said that is why he's at the department in Tupelo.
He explained that because of a medical condition, he had his leg amputated in 2019. His pain is gone, but his ability to work may never be the same.
"I got real down on myself, wanted to give up. [I] finally called around to a couple of people, found this absolutely wonderful place," Conlee explained.
Some skills workers teach how to be on time, how to get along with others and conducting mock interviews.
Once patients get the skills they need, the department will then help them find jobs.
Facility Manager Tracy Hester said working in Ability Works is very rewarding.
"To see them where they come and where they leave us is very fulfilling," Hester said. "To know that they've left with confidence and a bag full of work training skills and tools."
"The feeling of accomplishment, just knowing that I'm doing something that matters every day now, where before I kinda just felt like I was stuck in the house all the time and couldn't really contribute. It's turned my life around. It's amazing, man," Conlee added.
Ability Works contracts with companies, such as Bed, Bath & Beyond.
An example of hands-on training the facility provides is teaching people to stuff dog beds and get them ready to ship out.
For Conlee, he wants everyone to know that being disabled won't keep him down.
"Life is better with one leg, man," he said. "This place needs to be seen and known about. It makes a big difference for people like me, man."
Rehab Services is a state agency.
Anyone interested in joining the crew can check online for available jobs. Look on the Mississippi Personnel Board on the Mississippi Department of Rehab Services website here.
Requirements for different positions vary. Some jobs require a high school diploma, others require a college degree.
Some positions the department will hire include counselors, evaluators who assist the counselors, counselor assistants and production staff.