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Governor Dayton Directs State Agencies to Increase Hiring of Minnesotans with Disabilities

August 04, 2014

Proportion of state workers with disabilities will increase to 7 percent by 2018
 

ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Mark Dayton today issued Executive Order Executive Order 14-14, which directs all state government agencies to increase their employment of Minnesotans with disabilities. Over the last 15 years, there has been a steady decline in the proportion of Minnesotans with disabilities employed by the state – from 10.1 percent of the state’s workforce in 1999, to just 3.2 percent in 2013. The Executive Order issued today by Governor Dayton directs state agencies to increase that level to 7 percent by 2018.
 
The Governor’s Executive Order instructs Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) and the State Director for Equal Opportunity to develop a model for recruitment and hiring strategies to increase the employment of people with disabilities. It also requires all state agencies to develop plans for promoting employment opportunities for Minnesotans with disabilities, and to begin reporting their progress on a quarterly basis. The Order also directs MMB to develop ways to help employees to more easily update their disability status with their employer.
 
In recent years, Minnesota has fallen behind neighboring states and the federal government in the hiring of individuals with disabilities. Currently, the states of Wisconsin and Iowa have achieved 5.8 percent, and 4.4 percent levels, respectively. The most recent figures for the federal government show that 5 percent of federal workers are individuals with disabilities. Developed in consultation with disability advocates, Minnesota’s new target of 7 percent will make the state a leader in the region for hiring people with disabilities.
 
A Better State for All Minnesotans
Since taking office, Governor Dayton and his administration have been committed to improving opportunities for all Minnesotans – including individuals with disabilities. The following are just some of the initiatives the Dayton Administration has enacted to help Minnesotans with disabilities live more independently and improve the quality of their lives.

  • Improving Employment Opportunities – Governor Dayton issued Executive Order 14-14 directing state agencies to increase their employment of Minnesotans with disabilities.
     
  • Assuring Access to Care Providers – Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature increased reimbursement rates for personal care attendants by 5 percent – helping ensure Minnesotans with disabilities have access to high-quality care.
     
  • Providing High-Quality Long-Term Care – Minnesota ranked first on AARP’s long-term care scorecard for its efforts to help older adults and people with disabilities live at home and receive high-quality services.
     
  • Implementing the Olmstead Plan – The State of Minnesota hired Dr. Darlene Zangara in to serve as director of the state’s Olmstead Plan Implementation Office.
     
  • Creating Equitable Policies – The Department of Transportation updated its policies and implemented new trainings to help ensure that all employees with disabilities receive proper accommodations.
     
  • Improving the Quality of Services – The Department of Human Services is raising the quality of care in nursing homes and community settings by providing financial incentives to providers who develop innovative approaches to improving care. Report cards on these services help consumers choose quality care and encourage providers to excel.
     
  • Budget for All Minnesotans – Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature invested in special education reform, better health care coverage for children with autism spectrum disorder, and improved access to school-based mental health care. The budget signed by the Governor also invested in improving long-term care facilities statewide.


  • Improving Life and Work Opportunities – Governor Dayton and the Department of Human Services launched Reform 2020, which will make it easier for people to understand and access services and support for Minnesotans with disabilities, while also redesigning and improving services and increasing service coordination and integration.
     
  • Better Services for Older Adults – The Department of Human Services increased access to services and supports for older adults with disabilities. The change will help these adults and their families more easily access all available options.

  • Olmstead Plan Released – Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan was released in November 2013 after nearly a year of work across state government. The plan is designed to improve opportunities for Minnesota with disabilities.
     
  • Increasing Options and Independence – The Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Vocational Rehabilitation program helps those with disabilities prepare for, find and keep a job, and live as independently as possible. In 2013, the program assisted more than 19,500 people with disabilities.
     
  • Protecting Vulnerable Adults – To better protect vulnerable adults from abuse, the Department of Human Services is streamlining the reporting process by creating a single point of contact for all types of concerns.


  • Supporting Stable Employment – The Department of Human Services began funding a new initiative to help individuals with disabilities find and maintain employment – helping Minnesotans with disabilities live more independently, and decreasing their need for other state aid.
     
  • Encouraging Diverse Hiring – The Department of Human Rights held a statewide video conference in December to highlight the strategic advantages of hiring people with disabilities.
     
  • Increasing Opportunities for All – Governor Dayton issued Executive Order 13-01 establishing a sub-cabinet to develop and implement a comprehensive Olmstead Plan for Minnesota.
     
  • Improving Access to Independent Housing – The Department of Human Services worked with community partners to help more than 500 people with disabilities into their own housing.
     
  • Increasing Options and Independence – The Department of Employment’s Vocational Rehabilitation program helps those with disabilities prepare for, find and keep a job, and live as independently as possible. In 2012, the program assisted more than 19,000 people with disabilities.
     
  • Empowering Advocates – The Department of Administration launched the “Telling Your Story” advocacy application that allows people with disabilities to use technology to advocate for themselves with elected public officials.
     
  • Creating Accessible Infrastructure – The Department of Transportation hired an architect, who is an Americans with Disabilities Act specialist, to review the agency’s accessibility plans.
     
  • Improving Mobility – The Metropolitan Council increased ridership for Metro Mobility, the service for people with disabilities, by nearly five percent to 1.6 million rides in 2011.
     
  • Improving Statewide Accessibility – The Department of Transportation funded 11 projects across Minnesota to make state infrastructure more accessible for people with different levels of abilities.
     
  • Easing Communication Questions – The Department of Administration launched a free iPhone application to help individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other disabilities communicate more effectively – particularly in high-stress or emergency situations.
     
  • Increasing Access to Work Opportunities – The budget signed by Governor Dayton increased funding for State Services for the Blind to help people with disabilities secure and maintain meaningful employment.