ST. CLOUD -- Project Connect is a new initiative that brings together central Minnesota employers and organizations who serve people with disabilities.

The Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation used a grant from the Initiative Foundation to hold an employer educational event in St. Cloud Thursday.

WACOSA Executive Director Steven Howard says there's a misconception that employees with disabilities will hurt productivity and create liabilities...

The reality is that a lot of our folks, most of our folks, can have a job carved out for them that with some assistance they can provide the type of help that is equivalent to the type of worker that any of the employers would get by going out an interviewing and trying to access those individuals that way.

Howard says there is a willing and able workforce ready to go which can immediately help with the tight labor market.

About 60 business owners and other stakeholders met at the River's Edge Convention Center Thursday morning to hold table discussions, listen to an employer panel and learn more about what Howard calls an untapped resource.

Through this event, business owners could share concerns and ask tough questions. Howard says through that feedback, they are able to break many of the stereotypes about workers with disabilities.

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