Partners and Providers

DHS partners with counties, tribes, providers, consumer groups, advocacy organizations and other partners in human services to address Minnesotans' needs.


Minnesota Employment Learning Community

The Minnesota Employment Learning Community is a group of people working to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities. It started in September 2014 and is a joint effort between the Minnesota departments of Human Services, Employment and Economic Development and Education.

  • What are learning communities?

    Learning communities, sometimes referred to as communities of practice, are groups of people who share a passion for a particular topic and work together to learn how to do it better.

  • What does the Minnesota Employment Learning Community do?

    We want better employment outcomes for people with disabilities. This includes earning at least minimum wage and working in a job alongside people without disabilities.

    We talk about this as “competitive, integrated employment.” During the course of this work, the Minnesota Employment Learning Community will:

    • Identify promising practices, approaches and partnerships that lead to people having these employment outcomes.
    • Discuss ways that Minnesota can adopt Employment First principles and support people who choose to work.
  • Who is in the community?

    The Employment Learning Community seeks diversity in its membership. Participants come from various cultural and ethnic communities. Participants for this learning community may include: 

    • People with disabilities and their families
    • Community non-profit organization representatives
    • Members of the business community
    • Research and training institution representatives
    • State and local social services agency representatives

    This year, we specifically seek new members who either:

    • People from diverse racial, cultural and ethnic backgrounds
    • Work in the mental health field
    • Have mental illness
    • Work for counties and tribes
    • Live in Greater Minnesota
    • Have family members with disabilities, or
    • Are self-advocates.
  • How do I participate in this group?

    If you are interested in becoming a member of the Employment Learning Community, please complete the MN Employment Learning Community Application, DHS-6936 (PDF). The form includes instructions how to submit (mail or fax) the application. As terms of current members open up, the group will consider additional applications.

    Available assistance
    Support to prepare for and attend meetings is available to you if the Employment Learning Community selects you to participate in this group.
    If you require help to complete this form, please contact the DSD Response Center at or 651-431-4300.

  • What is involved if I am chosen to participate in this group?

    Terms of the membership are one or two years. There is a maximum of three years of participation allowed.

    Time commitment

    Participating in the Employment Learning Community will involve approximately four hours per month:

    • Monthly three-hour meetings in the Twin Cities
    • Personal time spent between meetings to read and prepare information to share with the group

    The Employment Learning Community is a voluntary group. No financial compensation for membership or travel is provided

    Greater Minnesota members

    Members who do not live in the metro area will be able to join the meetings by phone. More information will be made available at a later date.

  • How can I find more information?

    More information about what “integrated, competitive employment” or “Employment First” means, is available on the Minnesota's Olmstead Plan website.

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