Minnesota's Assistive Technology Act Program
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Minnesota State Plan for Assistive Technology

Attachment 3: State Advisory Council

3.1 Membership of the Advisory Council

Identify the members of the Advisory Council and each member's designation as an individual with disabilities who uses AT, a family member or guardian of such individual, or a representative of a State agency or other entity.

Minnesota established its AT Advisory Council to meet the 2/22/05 requirements of the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended. On September 23, 2005 RSA granted Minnesota a conditional approval of its AT Plan due to not meeting the requirements of Section 4(c)(2) of the AT Act, as amended. Minnesota has worked diligently to meet full compliance and added a member from the Governor's WorkForce Development Council (Minnesota 's state workforce reinvestment board) to its advisory council in February 2006. This addition addresses the AT Plan deficiency.

Since the original AT Plan was submitted, one member resigned and another died. Two new members with disabilities were added to replace them. STAR's Advisory Council currently has 15 members. Eight of the at large members (53%) are individuals with disabilities who use AT. For confidentiality reasons, council members have asked STAR to not include their names in this document. Three members of the council have multiple disabilities that are reflected in the breakdown by disability type provided below:

Disability# of Council Members
Blind/Low Visual Impairment5
Deaf/Hard of Hearing1
Physical5

In accordance with the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended, STAR requested a representative be appointed to the council from each of the five required state agencies. Appointed members from the five agencies are listed below:

AgencyRepresentative
Department of EducationJoan Breslin Larson
State Services for the BlindDave Andrews
Centers for Independent LivingPam Parson
Department of Employment and Economic Development (Rehabilitation Services)Ray Griffin
Governor's Workforce Development CouncilActing Commissioner Ward Einess with Kimberley T. Peck, Director of Rehabilitation Services/Workforce Development Division, as his designated representative

In addition, the council also has two other members from the community at large:

NameAT/Disability Experience
Jennifer GiesenMinnesota Disability Law Center and member of the National Assistive Technology Technical Assistance Partnership (NATTAP) Steering Committee
Bob JohnsonThirty years experience developing, contracting, and implementing community based employment opportunities for people with disabilities

During the three years covered by this state AT plan, the AT Advisory Council will provide STAR with consumer-driven, consumer-responsive advice for planning, implementing and evaluating state plan activities funded through the federal grant.

3.2 Structure and Operation of the Advisory Council

Describe the structure and operations of the Advisory Council.

Meeting Structure: The AT Advisory Council has met eight times (2/29/05, 5/3/05, 7/12/05, 8/16/05, 10/25/05, 1/24/06, 4/18/06 and 7/18/06). Meetings, which run from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm, usually take place in an accessible conference room at the Administration Building where the STAR office is located. STAR staff oversees meeting arrangements by reserving the conference room, sending out the agenda and meeting minutes and compiling documents for the meeting to ensure that materials are accessible. The Council plans to convene quarterly on the third Tuesday of the month.

Leadership and Rules of Order: The members have elected a chair and vice chair. The chair and the STAR Program executive director plan the agenda jointly. The chair runs the meetings using a modified version of Robert's Rules of Order.

Decision Making and Operational Policies: The Council adopted operational policies on how to contribute to council meetings. These operational policies are provided as an addendum to this state plan.

Council Appointment: The following steps were taken to ensure that the AT Advisory Council was composed of a representative group of consumers, family members, and professionals that reflected Minnesota 's population at large. First, STAR met with the state demographer. STAR then used the demographer's geographic breakdown of population by disability for age, race/ethnicity and disability type to determine the qualifications of council members. Next, we sought applications by publishing a notice in the State Register (1/18/05), running an article in our newsletter (7,200 statewide circulation), posting notices on our listserv and Web site, issuing public service announcements and through word of mouth. When the application period ended on 2/1/05, STAR had received about 35 inquiries and 26 applications. The Department of Administration staff met on 2/2/05 to evaluate the 26 applications for the at-large members of the Assistive Technology (AT) Advisory Council. The Commissioner of Administration then appointed the council members who met the spirit of the AT Act.


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