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Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.
Annual Report 2003

The Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) is part of the Minnesota network of programs funded under P.L. 106-402, the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act). The DD Act also funds the Minnesota Disability Law Center, the designated Protection and Advocacy System, and the Institute on Community Integration, a University Center for Excellence, at the University of Minnesota.

The business of the GCDD is to provide information, education, and training to increase knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) of people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Council Members – FFY 2003

Jackie Mlynarczyk, Chair
Laurie Berner
Terry Cikanek
David Dunn
Ella Gross
Andre Hanson
Anne Henry
Sharon Heuring
Kathryn Jacobson
Emily Knight
Steve Larson
Nina Mae Moss
Mary O'Hara Anderson
Ordean Rosaasen
Thomas Schwartz, Vice-Chair
Jeffrey Skwarek
Bonnie Jean Smith
Virginia Smith
Sarah Thorson
Patricia Tietz
Jim Varpness
Teresa (Teri) Wallace
Jerry Wood
Cynthia Yongvang
Ann Zick

We extend our appreciation to outgoing members Laurie Berner, Terry Cikanek, Mary O'Hara Anderson, and Teri Wallace for their years of service.


Independence: Personal freedom to make choices and have control over services, supports, and other assistance the individual receives;

Self-determination: Authority to make decisions, control resources and develop personal leadership skills;

Productivity: Meaningful income-producing work or volunteer work that contributes to a household or the community;

Integration and Inclusion: Full participation in the same community activities as people without disabilities.


The Minnesota GCDD received $1,041,526 from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities for FFY 2003. Of that amount, 70% was allocated for grants and contracts to fulfill the goals of the GCDD’s Five-Year State Plan approved by the federal government.

1. Partners in Policymaking®: The Minnesota GCDD has sponsored Partners in Policymaking courses since May 1, 1987. In FFY 2003, Class 21 graduated with 30 self advocates and family members. Participants evaluated themselves at the beginning of the program year on the federal outcomes of IPSII and again at graduation. The following changes were reported: On a 5 point scale, independence increased from 3.7 to 4.6; productivity increased from 3.6 to 4.1; self determination increased from 3.6 to 4.4; and integration and inclusion increased from 3.4 to 4.0. The graduates rated knowledge gained at 4.5, usefulness of the course at 4.5, and quality of training at 4.6.

Minnesota has over 600 graduates. A survey of all Partners programs was conducted in 2003, and there are 12,300 graduates in the United States and less than 1,000 in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

"There is no question that the direction of my life has dramatically changed through Partners in Policymaking."

"I learn more in a few hours at Partners in Policymaking than I do from entire college courses."

"I can do anything now because of Partners."

"I have grown so much–I am brighter, more energetic, more motivated, and more planful."

Supplier: Government Training Service

2. Partners Online: The Partners in Policymaking course is being converted to online e-learning courses during this five-year planning cycle. The first online course, Making Your Case, teaches the competencies of communicating effectively with public officials.

"I love the e-course. The graphics are so good! I have learned a lot already. The tips, the light bulbs, the tool kits, all of it is fabulous. Thank you."

"This is a really cool, great product. Everything you think should be there is there and things I never would have thought of are also there. I love it!"

Supplier: ZenMation, Inc.

3. Cultural Outreach: The GCDD funded cultural outreach programs in the African American, Native American and Hispanic communities in FFY 2003. Thirty individuals graduated from these training programs. In assessing IPSII, the graduates rated themselves on a 5 point scale. The scores for IPSII ranged from 4.0 — 5.0. The graduates also rated the programs as 4.6 in knowledge gained, 4.6 in usefulness, and 4.6 in quality of training.

"I’ve learned so much about IEPs and parent rights. These are issues no one has spoken about before."

"I have a better understanding of systems and a feeling of empowerment."

Suppliers: Terry Swanson (African American and American Indian programs) and CLUES (Hispanic program).

4. Longitudinal Studies of Partners in Policymaking: Since 1988, Tom Zirpoli has conducted external evaluations of the Partners classes. During FFY 2003, Dr. Zirpoli surveyed graduates from the previous five classes. The results indicated that 97% of the respondents are receiving the services and supports they need; 92% have the advocacy skills they need; and 100% have the leadership skills they need. In terms of federal outcomes, the respondents indicated 94% increased independence, 77% increased productivity, 95% increased self determination, and 100% increased integration and inclusion.

Supplier: Tim Zirpoli, Ph.D.

5. Partners in Policymaking Graduate Workshops: In FFY 2003, four workshops were held on the topics of self determination and funding streams (two workshops), the data practices act, and a guest lecture by Bengt Nirje from Sweden. One hundred graduates attended the workshops and evaluated them as follows: 4.6 for knowledge gained, 4.7 for usefulness, and 4.7 for quality of training on a 5 point scale.

"It was refreshing to hear county employees who are such helpful advocates for families and adults with disabilities."

"Super-the best! The speakers were responsive to our questions. Super knowledge and great activism."

"Very well prepared and organized, the presenters shared a lot of information in a very clear manner."

Supplier: Government Training Service

6. Partners in Employment: Since 1998, the GCDD has worked with employers to increase the employment of people with developmental disabilities through education and training activities. A six hour self directed e-learning course, Partners in Employment, was completed and tested. This course teaches people how to find a job of your own choice, prepare a resume, approach the hiring process, handle interviews, and career planning.

"The course has great content. It covers the employment process well and provides high quality information. The exercises and tools are helpful and thought provoking."

"Great! Content and delivery are good. I’m looking forward to promoting this course."

Supplier: ZenMation, Inc.

In addition, 12 individuals with developmental disabilities were employed in preparing resource packets for the Partners in Policymaking program. Eighteen individuals were employed scanning approximately 28,600 pages of grant records, Partners in Policymaking records, and historical documents about Minnesota’s deinstitutionalization efforts; and burning CD ROMs for transfer to the GCDD’s web site.

"My daughter is very happy about working. We are all so pleased that she is doing well and we are proud of her."

Supplier: Metro Work Center

7. Self Advocacy: The GCDD funded People First of Minnesota to strengthen three new self advocacy groups started in FFY2002 and begin new groups, to increase the number of self advocates as trainers by five, actively involve 50 new self advocates in these groups, and increase the participation of five self advocates in coalitions.

Supplier: People First of Minnesota

8. Publications: In FFY 2003, the GCDD disseminated 36,263 print publications and 82,781 downloads from the GCDD web site. The evaluation scores averaged 9.2 on a 10 point scale. One hundred percent of the respondents indicated the publications were useful.

It’s My Choice

"Can we beg, buy, or borrow more copies of It’s My Choice? All of our training sessions are sold out and the level of interest in the topic is intense. We have long run out of your excellent books to share with them.

"We have done about 20 training sessions with the It’s My Choice document and it is going over tremendously. Thanks so much."


"I teach a course entitled "Public Policy in Special Education" and I currently have a copy of your CD entitled Parallels in Time and The Learning Center. These are remarkable products and greatly illustrate how change can be generated. I would like to burn 50 additional CDs for all of my students"

"I just acquired a copy of Parallels in Time and want to applaud the tremendous effort that must have gone into a high quality teaching tool."

Making Your Case

"We would like to include parts of Making Your Case in a CD ROM which will be distributed nationally to 1900 people from 49 states and 8 countries in order to help young people make positive changes in their home communities."

It’s Never Too Early, It’s Never Too Late

"This publication is just great. I would love to have my own copy."

"This is awesome."

Stories of Leadership

"This is an inspiring book."

Supplier: Advantage Business Center (dissemination)

9. E-Government Services: The GCDD web site is the largest on the state of Minnesota server. Thirty-two products and services have been converted to electronic formats. In FFY 2003, there were 87,261 unique visitors to the GCDD web sites.

"A very impressive web site, the information is incredible."

"The web site is very informative and very user friendly. Great job with complex materials."

"I am using your site as a reference for my Honors Thesis. This is a valuable resource."

Supplier: Master Communications Group

E-Government Services provide a Return on Investment (ROI) in terms of increased productivity, efficiency, market growth, and cycle time as shown in the chart:

Chart showing an example of the return on investment for E-Government Services

10. Training Co-sponsorships: The GCDD cosponsored nine training conferences with Arc Great Rivers, Fraser, Down Syndrome Association of MN, MnDACA, Metro Self Advocacy Coalition, Arc Hennepin-Carver, Arc Central MN, Arc MN, Autism Society of MN. The total number of conference attendees was 1,517. The overall rating of the conferences was 8.6 (10 point scale) and 90% of the participants rated the conferences as useful/helpful.

"Thank you for providing funding for our conference; it would have been very difficult to hold the event if it weren’t for your support!"

"The conference was a huge success. We seem to have hit on a terrific group of workshop presenters. Thank you for the funding."

11. Customer Research: In FFY 2003, the GCDD conducted a customer satisfaction survey of electronic government services. Thirty customers participated in focus groups or in-depth interviews. The customers formed a consensus about key features or qualities that are most valued in web sites. The customers also completed comparison rankings of best practices web sites as well as offering suggestions for an ideal web site.

Supplier: MarketResponse International

12. Quality Improvement: Since 1997, the GCDD has aligned its work to the Baldrige Criteria. In FFY 2003, a total of 505 hours of training on quality were received by staff and GCDD members. Three GCDD members were trained as MN Council for Quality evaluators.

"Thank you for the case study materials on Baldrige. I found the self examination, benchmarking processes, strategic focus, customer focus, planning versus a plan, and overall nature of the report informative and fruitful as we approach producing our own self assessment."

"Thank you for facilitating my participation in the Evaluator training. It was one of the richer and more challenging opportunities of my recent career."

Suppliers: Minnesota Council for Quality and Quality Culture Institute

During this year, the GCDD had 117,380 customer contacts with 3,271 customer satisfaction surveys completed. Over 98% of the surveys indicated very high levels of satisfaction.

We addressed the following public policy issues during FFY 2003 at the state level:

Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS), Consumer Support Grant, State Operated Community Services (SOCS), Vulnerable Adult Act, Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MAEPD), health care and oral health care services, dual eligibility (Medicare and Medicaid), Newborn Screening Program, Day Training and Habilitation Services, and the impact of budget cuts generally on people with developmental disabilities and families.

The following public policy issues were addressed at the federal level during FFY 2003:

Discipline provisions, IEP review process, and funding under IDEA; Workforce Investment Act; DD Act funding, and family support.

During FFY 2003, our collaboration activities with the Minnesota Disability Law Center (MDLC) and the Institute on Community Integration (UCE) included:

The State Legislative session and budget crisis created new opportunities to work together. The MDLC was successful in restoring potential cuts; and the UCE and GCDD supported this effort by providing witnesses and studies.

The Minnesota Network promoted self determination and supported a waiver amendment submitted by the Department of Human Services that included payment of parents of minor children.

Training events, including the Association of Minnesota Counties Conference, promoted self determination.

The Minnesota Network continued efforts to prevent abuse and neglect; a process diagram of the Vulnerable Adult Act was created.

The UCE and GCDD responded to a request for assistance from the MDLC to prepare for a Department of Education task force on positive behavior supports.

The UCE and GCDD voted on MDLC priorities.

The MDLC and UCE participated in renewing the GCDD’s Five Year State Plan.

The MDLC and GCDD were consulted about the UCE’s Five Year funding application to the Administration on Developmental Disabilities.

All web sites are linked and all annual reports begin with a discussion about the Minnesota Network.

All three groups participated in several training activities, online learning events, and quality inservice workshops.

Resources are shared among all three groups.

All three groups have representatives on each of the other’s committees.

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©2022 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
 370 Centennial Office Building  658 Cedar Street   St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
Phone: 651.296.4018   Toll-free number: 877.348.0505   MN Relay Service: 800.627.3529 OR 711  Email:   View Privacy Policy   An Equal Opportunity Employer 

The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center, the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 2001MNSCDD-03, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

This website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL),  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $1,120,136.00 with 83 percent funded by ACL/HHS and $222,000.00 and 17 percent funded by non-federal-government source(s). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.