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.


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2004 Business Results: PDF  TXT

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.


Jackie Mlynarczyk, Chair
Tom Schwartz, Vice-Chair
Peg Booth
David Dunn
Ella Gross
Anne Henry
Sharon Heuring
Kathryn Jacobson
Emily Knight
Sherri Larson
Nina Mae Moss
Mary O'Hara Anderson
Shamus O'Meara
Dan Reed
Ordean Rosaasen
Jeffrey Skwarek
Bonnie Jean Smith
Virginia Smith
Sarah Thorson
Patricia Tietz
Jim Varpness
Jerry Wood
Ann Zick


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 2004.  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 2004, Class 21 graduated 11 self advocates and 14 family members.  Participants evaluated themselves at the beginning of the program year on the federal outcomes of IPSII and again at graduation.  The following IPSII changes were reported:  On a 5 point scale, independence increased from 3.9 to 4.4; productivity increased from 3.9 to 4.4; self determination increased from 2.7 to 4.4; and integration and inclusion increased from 3.3 to 4.2.  Graduates rated knowledge gained at 4.7, usefulness of the course at 4.7, and quality of training at 4.7. 

Minnesota now has over 630 graduates.  A survey of all Partners programs was conducted in 2003, and there are now 12,300 graduates in the United States and less than 1,000 in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.


"This course has been an incredible experience not only do I want to share it with a state I am moving to, I want to continue my learning."

"I have learned so much from my partners with disabilities. Just by sitting at tables and everyone just working and learning together seems so natural, why isn't this happening everywhere?"

"Partners in Policymaking totally changed my life and most especially my son's life who would probably be in segregated settings at this very moment had I not gone through Partners."

"My kid is totally included with the supports he needs and I didn't have to sue the district to get it….and they love me."

"As I hear of innovative and creative service changes across the country, I am struck by how often this is associated with a graduate of Partners in Policymaking.  We need more graduates." (United Kingdom)

"The primary focus of our work often gets lost among the struggles of freeing up money, interpreting a certain rule or contending with multiple layers of bureaucracy.  This statement guides the Michigan Partners, We, the Partners in Policymaking Class of 2004 envision by 2020 a world where all are accepted, respected, supported, and valued as contributing members of an inclusive community.  Could this be said any better?"

"Partners is one of the most effective policy change activities there is.  Thanks to the Minnesota Council for its continued leadership."

Supplier:  Government Training Service

 2.  Partners Online:  The Partners in Policymaking course is being converted to five 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 and community organizing.  The second course, Employment, teaches people with disabilities and families how to become employed and seek a career.  The third course, Education, will be launched in FFY 05. 


"The Making Your Case course is very interesting and I am enjoying it thoroughly."

"I just wanted to thank you for the e-learning course that I recently completed.  I enjoyed the experience.  I will be advising people to take the course and I will keep an eye out on your site as to additional courses that you may be offering."

"This course was excellent, thank you, thank you, thank you so very much for sharing this wonderful information."

Supplier:  ZenMation, Inc.

3. Cultural Outreach:  The GCDD funded cultural outreach programs in the African American, Asian and Hispanic communities in FFY 2004.  A total of 30 individuals graduated from these training programs.  In assessing IPSII, the graduates rated themselves on a 5 point scale.  Independence increased from 4.1 to 4.5, productivity increased from 4.1 to 4.5, self determination increased from 3.8 to 4.5, integration and inclusion increased from 3.7 to 4.6.  The graduates also rated the programs as 4.3 in knowledge gained, 4.7 for usefulness, and 4.8 for quality of training.


African American Outreach

"I now understand that long term relationships are the best way to achieve better services for my child with a disability and/or myself."

"I will use the skills I learned in the future regarding legislative issues impacting people with disabilities."

"I learned I have a voice and how to use my voice to state my concerns and who will listen."

Asian Outreach

"We feel an increase in control over our own lives, the value of contributions to the community, the ability to remove barriers, and the ability to fully participate in community."

Hispanic Outreach

"The participants feel proud of the parents who have graduated from Partners in Policymaking.  This has been an important step for the inclusion of the Hispanic community." 

Suppliers:  IPSII, Inc. (African American program), WISE (Asian program), 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 2004, Dr. Zirpoli surveyed graduates from the previous four classes.  The results indicated that 100% of the respondents rate their ability to get the services and supports they need as good to excellent; 100% have the advocacy skills they need to get necessary services and supports most or some of the time; and 100% rate their leadership skills as good to excellent.  In terms of federal outcomes, 92% have increased independence, 79% have increased productivity, 100% have increased self determination, and 93%have increased integration and inclusion. 

Supplier:  Tim Zirpoli, Ph.D.

5. Partners in Policymaking Graduate Workshops:  In FFY 2004, four workshops were held on the topics of data practices, grantwriting (two workshops), and networking and media relations.  A total of 82 graduates attended and evaluated the workshops as follows: 4.4 for knowledge gained, 4.3 for usefulness, and 4.3 for quality of training on a 5 point scale.


"I walked away with good tips and specific things to be aware of in grantwriting, what things are important and need to be included".

"I learned what I don't know.  The proposal checklists for putting together a grant request in an orderly manner were most helpful." (Grantwriting)

"I didn't realize there was a logical way to access information…Everything was very enlightening.  I have more access to information than I ever knew." (Data Practices)

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 their own choice, prepare a resume, approach the hiring process, handle interviews, and career planning. 

Supplier:  ZenMation, Inc.

  In addition, eight 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.

   This demonstration project resulted in creating a resource package on how to replicate the digital imaging project.  The resource package has been shared with hundreds of agencies and a live demonstration was given at the December 2003 Association of Minnesota Counties conference in Minneapolis.  As a result, 22 individuals with developmental disabilities were employed by two government agencies to scan records.


  "We received 12 applications for a digital imaging project with the Department of Corrections in Olmsted County and two people with developmental disabilities were hired.  After four weeks on the job, one individual was doing as much work in 4 to 6 hours as the previous employee without disabilities was doing in an 8-hour day.  This is a great opportunity and can definitely be a win-win for all involved."

The Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
10,000 pages of publications converted to digital formats

(CD-ROM and Internet)





10,000 pages

1 disk


1 file cabinet

48" wide x 131/2" deep x 361/4" high

$13.25 @ square foot per month

no file cabinet

51/2" x 5"

$0 per month


Annual cost of $20,088 for space, paper and content

One time cost of conversion to digital imaging format $10,000


3 days

3 clicks






customers requested paper copies of these publications

87,261 unique visitors (2003)

82,781 downloads of publications (2003)



15¢ per page for 10,000 pages = $15,000

each disk = $1.00

Supplier:  Metro Work Center, Minnesota Department of Human Services, Olmsted County Department of Corrections

7. Self Advocacy:  The GCDD funded self advocacy projects to strengthen self advocacy in Minnesota.  A total of 136 self advocates attended national and state conferences; two local groups sponsored conferences/workshops, attended by 237 self advocates, to promote self advocacy and self determination; and 20 self advocates made presentations on self determination and voting rights at training sessions attended by 793 self advocates.

Self advocates evaluated themselves on IPSII changes – 77% reported increased independence, 69% increased productivity, 87% increased self determination, and 91% increased integration and inclusion.

Suppliers:  Local self advocacy groups: New Ulm People First, People First Kandiyohi County, People First Sherburne County, People First McLeod County, STARS of Dakota Communities, Inc., People First Central, and Arc Southwest People First.


"I had the best time of my life. I like the workshops."

"It is awesome, I am impressed, I loved it."

"The speakers did a good job."

"I liked all the people. I want to go next year."

"The chicken was small. Next year I will order something different."

8. Publications:  In FFY 2004, the GCDD disseminated 45,151 print publications and 48,967 downloads from the GCDD web site.  The evaluation scores averaged 9.4 on a 10 point scale and 100% percent of the respondents indicated the publications were useful.

It's My Choice

"I want to say how impressed I was with It's My Choice and how useful I find it."

"It's My Choice gives individuals time to think about what matters to them and then they have a nice book to show new people who come into their lives."

"My daughter has a brand new case manager who has a master's degree, but is just starting his first job and he is truly a willing, but blank slate, regarding person centered planning. I gave him It's My Choice last night so he could begin to think about planning in the context of soliciting my daughter's goals, dreams, and vision.  So thanks!"

CD-ROM – Parallels in Time

"I have said many times that history needs to be a training requirement for all new service coordinators coming on board; they need to know more than how to do paperwork."

"We are celebrating our 50th anniversary and the information on this CD ROM will be very informative as we try to increase awareness about developmental disabilities in our community."

Making Your Case

"On point and very informative."

"Valuable information; very impressive."

"Extremely helpful!  I will be running for the state legislature in my district (Keene, New Hampshire).  This book is amazing!  I will refer to it often, I'm sure.  Thank you!"

"I felt like I was getting one on one mentoring with a little humor thrown in."

It's Never Too Early, It's Never Too Late

"These books are the finest documents I have ever seen, thank you Minnesota.   I know other good things that come out of Minnesota such as the Search Institute's 40 assets and a pre-packaged food processing charity (I can't remember the name)."

"All of the things you have sent are of superb quality and help me teach others in person-centered values.  With the resource you have given, I am on the right path in teaching myself before I can teach others."

"I want hundreds of copies, please let me know the best and quickest way to proceed in sharing the information." 

Stories of Leadership

"I have just finished reading the leadership stories from cover to cover.  When you see where people have come from and where they are going now, we need more people to be doing this training.  Thanks for the book!"

"Wow! Wow! Wow!  The stories, the layout, the artwork, the type, everything.  This book is absolutely fantastic." 

"This is the most beautiful, moving, and enjoyable piece that I have read in a long time.  Thanks for another incredible publication."

Supplier:  Advantage Business Center (dissemination); Destiny 2 (design work); Ann Marsden (photographer)

9. E-Government Services:  The GCDD web site is one of the largest on the state of Minnesota server with a total of 343 products and services converted to electronic formats during the past year.  In FFY 2004, there were 109,218 unique visitors to the GCDD web sites.



"Very well written information, easy to follow, easy to use, very accessible, please give me more information about the world."

"I only wish there was an Australian equivalent so that I could get statistics and dates for my own country."


"Thanks so much and congratulations on this web site addition."


"The Partners web site is a wealth of information for a youth-oriented Partners concept."

"When you update the Coordinator's handbook please add how to cut your way out of a locked door with hairspray and manicure scissors plus the correct amount of fabric softener to add for hotel sheets." 

"The site is attractive, comprehensive, easy to use, and rich."

"I love the site for coordinators, I have gone there twice today, it is great."

Supplier:  Master Communications Group (GCDD web site), ZenMation, Inc. (Partners web site)

10. Training Co-sponsorships:  The GCDD cosponsored eight training conferences; the total number of conference attendees was 3,245.  The overall rating of the conferences was 9.2 (10 point scale) and 99% of the participants rated the conferences as useful/helpful.


"I had the best time of my life.  I like the workshops."

"The conference was great and the People First organization really jelled that day.  Self advocates really bonded with each other in a learning way instead of strictly socializing.  They also learned such valuable information and discovered just what the People First organization is all about.  Hats off to the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities.  Hope you know how much our spirits were lifted as an organization when we received this training grant."

"People who attended the self advocacy leadership conference expressed their views about getting started on running their own activities ad events.  They were very interested in electing leaders for the upcoming year."

Suppliers:  Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota, The Autism Society of Minnesota, MnDACA, Arc Midstate, Fraser, Arc Blue Earth and Nicollet Counties, Arc Waseca County, and The Arc of Minnesota.

11. Customer Research:  In FFY 2004, the GCDD conducted a Health Care Opinion Poll Survey to support and supplement the work undertaken by Senator Dave Durenberger and the Minnesota Citizens Forum on Health Care Costs.  A total of 800 Minnesotans participated in the survey.  The topics included health care quality and costs; and attitudes and values about insurance coverage, service costs, and social responsibility issues.  People with developmental disabilities and families were oversampled and provided insight into specific barriers experienced in the health care system.


"Congratulations, a fascinating opinion poll.  This is truly an achievement."

"The health care report is just what 'systems change' is all about.  We envy you for having Senator David Durenberger to work with, because while he was in the Senate he did a great job.  I wish he was still in the United States Senate."

"I noticed a couple articles in the newspaper highlighting two action points from the public opinion survey.  I think these strategies make sense given what we heard from the survey."

Supplier:  MarketResponse International

12.  Quality Improvement:  Since 1997, the GCDD has aligned its work to the Baldrige Criteria.  In FFY 2004, staff and GCDD members received a total of 328.5 hours of training on quality.  Three GCDD members were trained as Minnesota Council for Quality evaluators. 


"It has been suggested that Baldrige may have something to offer to assist me in evaluating our current staffing patterns.  Please send me information."

"Thanks for enabling me to participate in Minnesota Council for Quality training.  It enhances my value as a Council member and as a state employee."

Suppliers:  Minnesota Council for Quality and Quality Culture Institute.

During this year, the GCDD had 5,650 customer contacts about individual issues or problems and 195 contacts about the Partners program. 

Technical Assistance


"We again want to express our appreciation to you for your time, cooperation, and patience in generously sharing information for our report."

"Thank you so very much for your time with some answers which are better than none that I have been getting from others.  I don't feel so helpless now and I feel like I can calm down a little.  It is sure nice to know some people in this world do still care."

"You guys are more responsive than WalMart."


A total of 54 presentations reached 5,034 people.


"Several of the participants commented on how powerful your presentation was and how they will work to make sure that history is not repeated."

"I learned so much from the history presentation.  I feel it is important to know the facts if you want to make a difference."

"I had no clue about the history."

"I have only been aware of my personal struggle.  I am now aware of intolerance toward those people believe are not worthy of human dignity and respect."

"Thank you for presenting the history session to our staff.  The feedback was great.  How often do you find social workers who have done their jobs well for over 20 years so engaged at a training session?" 

"Thank you for sharing the history presentation, just yesterday I heard on national news that parents and teachers were discussing secluding a child from preschool because he has a peanut allergy.  I remembered the presentation and becoming more aware of how society chooses to deal with those who are different."

We addressed the following public policy issues during FFY 2004 at the state level

Minnesota Citizens Forum on Health Care Costs (insurance coverage, services, costs, social responsibilities)

Copayments for health care services

Family support

CDCS waiver amendment and budget issues

Parental fees

Health Care Access Fund

Concordia Care Center

Olmstead planning

State Plan for Independent Living

Outdated terminology in state statutes

The following public policy issues were addressed at the federal level during FFY 2004:

ADAPT Free Our People March

DD Act funding

Terry Schiavo and "Not Dead Yet" national statement

Budget cuts for people with developmental disabilities and families in California

IDEA reauthorization

Transplants and people with disabilities


CMS wheelchair policy

Family Opportunity Act

Rasha's petition for accessible restrooms on airplanes

Olmstead impact and Medicaid issues

During FFY 2004, our collaboration activities with the Minnesota Disability Law Center (MDLC) and the Institute on Community Integration (UCE) included:

Minnesota Disability Law Center:

Voting on planning priorities

Information and referral services

Legal advice clinics for the Family Support 360 Planning Grant

Speakers for the Cultural Outreach programs


Web site links

Partners in Policymaking, speaker for the state legislative weekend session

Provided and received letters of support

Renewal of the Council's Five Year State Plan

Institute on Community Integration:

With An Eye to the Past collection of historical documents on the GCDD web site

Provided and received letters of support

Family Support 360 Grant

IMPACT newsletter

Renewal of the Council's Five-Year State Plan

The Minnesota Network (GCDD, MDLC, UCE):

Promoted self determination

Monitored a waiver amendment submitted by the Department of Human Services that included payment of parents of minor children

Continued efforts to prevent abuse and neglect

Participated in several training activities, online learning events, and quality inservice workshops

Shared resources with each other

Represented on each of the other's committees

Featured in each of the other's Annual Reports

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©2024 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
Administration Building   50 Sherburne Avenue   Room G10
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 2301MNSCDD-02, 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.