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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.

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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 agency for the state, and the Institute on Community Integration, a University Center for Excellence located 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 an increase in the independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) of people with developmental disabilities and their families.


Jeff Pearson, Chair
Anne Barnwell
Roberta Blomster
Jennifer Giesen
Brian Gustafson
Anne Hennessey
Shawn Holmes
Tom Holtgrewe
Loraine Jensen
Steve Jensen
Matt Kramer
Susan Kratzke
Steven Kuntz
Louis Lenzmeier
Stevie K. Nelson
Derek Nord
Marisa Novak
Linda Obright
Dan Reed
Connie Roy
Bryan Schmidt
Barbara Schultz
Wendy Velzke Wangen
Stacey Vogele
Susan Wehrenberg


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 $1,025,295 from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) for FFY 2010. Of that amount, 71% 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 2010, Class 27 graduated 10 self advocates and 16 family members, including four individuals from minority communities. 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 4.0 to 4.5; productivity increased from 4.0 to 4.7; self determination increased from 3.8 to 4.7; and integration and inclusion increased from 3.4 to 4.4. Graduates rated knowledge gained at 4.8, usefulness of the presentations at 4.4, and quality of the training sessions at 4.7 (5-point scale).

Forty-one Partners graduates (91 total participants) attended a workshop on "Americans with Disabilities Act: Have We Made Any Progress?" The workshop was rated for knowledge gained at 4.7, usefulness of the presentations at 4.6, and quality of the workshop at 5.0 (5-point scale). Participants also evaluated themselves on IPSII outcomes and based on their participation in the workshops: Increased independence – 4.7, increased productivity – 4.6, increased self determination – 4.8, and increased integration and inclusion – 5.0.


Partners in Policymaking Program

"I think back to that first day and still feel the energy. I appreciate the honesty and sharing our struggles. Some parents feel they are an island. Now I know there are many more like us."

"Partners has been an incredible help for me. I have gotten knowledge, courage, incentive, a reason to keep moving forward. The culmination for me is that I'll start to work on a Masters in Social Work in child welfare in the fall and have received a scholarship."

"Thanks for all your support and knowledge. The school district was blown away by what I know. This has been a wonderful experience."

"Even though we are different cultures, I feel I have family here. Partners has changed my life and my family. It taught me how to communicate with family and how much I need them."

Partners Graduate Workshop

"Speakers were outstanding! Their ability to teach through personal stories and experience on a very practical level are highly unusual, extremely dynamic, and so very valuable."

"Judge Donovan Frank's presentation reminded me of some basic truths, equal justice, and that our justice system is still relevant."

"Top shelf presenters with powerful presentations. This was a 'don't miss' event!"

Government Training Services
2233 University Ave West, Suite 150
St. Paul, Minnesota 55114

2. Partners Online: The Partners in Policymaking classroom curriculum is being connected in several ways to the five online training courses –

Partners faculty are incorporating suggestions from the Integrating Online Learning module for each of the online courses into their presentations and interactive learning exercises.

The online courses are included as additional homework assignments for Partners participants to supplement and reinforce the classroom learning.

Partners participants are able to use the online courses to help make up part of a missed weekend session.

In FFY 2010, a total of 41,608 visits and 52,788 page views were made to the online courses, for an average of 3,467 visits and 4,399 page views per month respectively. A total of 401 compliments were received, and 358 Feedback Forms completed with ratings for IPSII measures – independence was rated 4.2, productivity was rated 4.6, self determination was rated 4.5, and integration/inclusion was rated 4.2 (5-point scale).

The Partners in Making Your Case was significantly revised around a community organizing theme, and new resources and personal stories were added. A previously separate Orientation module was incorporated into the course itself to assure that more visitors would become familiar with how the courses are structured and learn about some course features. A section on Internet safety was also added.

The Partners in Education and Partners in Employment online courses were updated with new resources and links added that are specific to the topic of autism and employment and supported by Vocational Rehabilitation Services. These updates were made possible with an ARRA grant from the Department of Employment and Economic Development, Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

Updates to the Partners in Time and Partners in Living will be completed in FFY 2011.

The Partners website along with the online courses have been given a new look and new colors to increase marketability.


Partners in Making Your Case

"Liked the clear, precise instruction; the samples of letters were particularly helpful; an 'eye opening' experience to help create new laws."

"The course discussed not only effective strategies for making change but also supported those strategies with links to get needed information."

"Sprinkled me with just enough knowledge not to overwhelm me; easy to apply and implement."

Partners in Education

"Particularly liked the detailed information about the IEP process and effective steps when you are not getting the results you want for your child – helping the parent to 'navigate the system'."

"An awesome learning experience. I liked the worksheets that I could individualize to my child and will suggest to other parents."

"Enlightened me and answered so many questions. My son will definitely benefit from the knowledge I'm gaining."

Partners in Employment

"Practical and relevant information and exercises that will help in many different aspects of looking for or creating a job niche."

"Helped me to understand the importance of building up to that first job."

"Clear and precise; great tips and resources."

Partners in Time

"I liked learning the reason 'why' behind the injustices towards people with disabilities."

"This history has proven that people with disabilities can be far more successful if they make their own choices rather than someone else making choices for them."

"I'm glad that I now know the past, and am ready to move forward and be part of the change."

"LOVED reading the 2015 visions."

Partners in Living

"The personal stories were both impressive and educational."

"It helped me to start thinking about the many elements of independent living that we need to address before my son grows up."

"I learned a lot about history and laws, and liked seeing the changes that have been made since the 1960s."

ZenMation, Inc.
215 – 10th Avenue South, Suite 913
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55415

3. Cultural Outreach: The GCDD funded cultural outreach programs in the African American and Latino communities in FFY 2010. A total of 37 individuals graduated from these training programs. In assessing IPSII, the graduates rated themselves on a 5-point scale.

For the African American Outreach program, independence increased from 2.5 to 4.7, productivity increased from 2.2 to 4.8, self determination increased from 2.8 to 4.7, and integration/inclusion increased from 2.4 to 4.7. Graduates rated the program as 4.9 for knowledge gained, 4.9 for usefulness, and 4.8 for quality of training.

For the Latino Outreach program, independence changed from 3.0 to 3.8, productivity from 2.0 to 3.0, self determination from 2.7 to 4.2, and integration/inclusion from 3.5 to 4.5. Graduates rated the program as 4.9 in knowledge gained, 5.0 for usefulness, and 4.9 for quality of training.


"I learned how I get services and help on my own."

"I learned to speak my mind, how to work with others, and how laws are made."

"In my long journey of finding resources for my child who has Down Syndrome, this is the first time that I have received such useful and clear information in my own language, and has made a difference in how I am able to access services at the County, clinics, and the school system."

"Attending the group gave me the opportunity to learn and become a better advocate for my child who has autism. The session about Special Education and IEP's was very helpful and allowed me to participate actively in the IEP meeting of my child. Thank you CLUES for offering the group and making a difference in our life".

6611 Lynnwood Boulevard
Richfield, Minnesota 55423

797 East Seventh Street
St. Paul, Minnesota 55106

4. Longitudinal Studies of Partners in Policymaking: During FFY 2010 Nancy Miller, Metropolitan State University, surveyed Partners graduates from Years XVIII through XXI (Classes 22 through 25).

Based on averages across these four classes, the results indicated that 97% of the respondents have the advocacy skills necessary to get needed services and supports some or most of the time; and 96% rate their leadership skills as good to excellent. In terms of federal outcomes, 94% have increased independence, 75% have increased productivity, 84% have increased self determination, and 88% have increased integration and inclusion that they attribute to their Partners experience.

Nancy Miller, Ph.D.
Metropolitan State University
700 East Seventh Street, Room SJ 210
St. Paul, Minnesota 55106

5. Digital Imaging/Employment: Since 1981, the GCDD has worked with employers and promoted the direct employment of people with developmental disabilities. During FFY 2010 –

A total of 791 people with developmental disabilities were employed in document imaging or other jobs in Minnesota, a 130% increase over FFY 2009. Individuals are employed in full time, part time, intermittent, temporary, or project focused positions. A total of 61 individuals are at business locations, including 20 transition students who are employed at Independent School District ISD 916 and 4 students in the Perham School District learning document imaging skills, acquiring job experience, and paid minimum wage; 48 individuals are employed at the Midway Training Services (MTS) storefront business; and the remaining 75 individuals are working in day program settings.

Transition students at Independent School Districts (ISD) 916 have scanned more than 500,000 school records. The design and development of a certificate in document preparation/document imaging is being pursued by ISDs 916 and 287 in partnership with the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM).

A graduate of ISD 916 is finishing IT coursework for an AA degree at Century College; he completed an internship at the University of Minnesota working with their supercomputer during the Summer of 2010.

A total of 18 individuals with developmental disabilities have been consistently working at the Midway Training Services (MTS) Store Front document imaging business in St. Paul; seven individuals have started employment within the past year at the Business Solutions location. Thirty additional individuals are new to digital imaging and working in document prep, scanning, file naming/indexing, quality assurance, database management, and document destruction at other MTS locations.

In the past year, a total of 2,290,400 pages were scanned for MTS completed projects with law firms, three state agencies, St. Paul Public Schools, Health East, and the City of St. Paul. Six of these projects were the result of the state contract for scanning/document imaging services and accounted for 710,800 of the more than 2 million total pages scanned.

Five individuals with developmental disabilities were on site at the Federal District Court in Minneapolis for a three-week project scanning documents related to an environmental litigation case.

The scanning project that began with 16 workers with developmental disabilities at the Department of Human Services (DHS) in 2005, and was triggered by a move to a new building that wouldn't accommodate 20% of floor space devoted to records, has taken over the entire scanning operation for DHS. Expansion to other state agencies is anticipated.

Document imaging marketing efforts are being refocused on business and day programs in Greater Minnesota. Workshops have been held in Duluth, Willmar, Marshall, Rochester, Brainerd, St. Cloud, and Owatonna. School Districts in Hutchinson, Willmar, and Perham have also participated.

A series of web based training modules about the "how to's" of document imaging, based on the GCDD's eight years of experience, were developed to replicate the concept and promote the hiring of people with developmental disabilities in scanning/document imaging positions as independent placements.

The GCDD was awarded a $200,000 ARRA grant from the Department of Employment and Economic Development, Vocational Rehabilitation Services to increase and expand employment opportunities in the digital fields for young adults on the autism spectrum. The results of interviews conducted with individuals with autism spectrum disorder and families, businesses, secondary and post secondary education programs, and Vocational Rehabilitation Services representatives; and a review/analysis of a collection of materials about a new digital economy provided the foundation for the design and development of a new web section "Meet the Future Face of Employment, Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Technology Fields." This web section includes five success stories and related employer hiring processes, information and resources about 21st Century skills, and education and reform topics.

Digital imaging services and increasing employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities in the technology field were promoted at conferences/ exhibits sponsored by the League of Minnesota Cities, Autism Society of Minnesota, UpSwing Business Expo, Minnesota Bankers Association, MSBA Leadership Conference, Minnesota Health Information Management Association, Minnesota Department of Transportation, and Association of Minnesota Counties.

The Wallace Group
3750 Pilot Knob Road
Eagan, Minnesota  55121

6. Self Advocacy: The statewide self advocacy network, Self Advocates of Minnesota (SAM), covers all six regions in the state. The mission of SAM is to promote the human and civil rights of people with developmental disabilities, working with groups to strengthen personal empowerment, increase disability awareness, and achieve systems change.

During FFY 2010, federal funds supported the Central and Northwest regions ($100,000), and a state appropriation to the Department of Human Services, in an effort to secure federal matching funds under the Medicaid program, supported the Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest regions ($127,000). The Twin Cities region is financially supported with a variety of other funding sources.

In FFY 2010, a total of 1,211 self advocates attended 63 training sessions in the Central and Northwest regions on self advocacy concepts; starting a self advocacy group; personal empowerment; leadership development; systems change (human/civil rights issues); individual rights in housing, employment, and transportation; voting and civic engagement; public policy and the policymaking process; and disability awareness. Two new local self advocacy groups were established, one in each of the regions. Training session evaluation results: new knowledge = 4.4, useful = 4.3, quality = 4.3.

A total of 43 self advocates served as teachers/trainers on privacy and human rights issues, self advocacy concepts and principle; personal empowerment, assertiveness, communication, and presentation skills; disability awareness; values, power, and a common vision; language and terminology; self determination; and collaboration and working together. Self evaluation results: greater independence – 86%, productivity – 71%, self determination – 93%, integration/inclusion – 88%.

Skills acquired by self advocates during this past year include meeting facilitation skills, communication and presentation skills, preparing and presenting testimony, and self confidence and Eight self advocates participated in a week long retreat that focused on the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. A petition was drafted and signatures were collected at the National Self Advocacy Conference, and then directed to Congressional members who chair the Foreign Relations Committee.

A total of 18 self advocates attended the National Self Advocacy Conference and presented at several workshop sessions. The Council provided an additional $5,000 to help defray travel costs.


"It was nice seeing teachers wanting our advice."

"The book We Have Human Rights is easy to follow and people like talking about rights."

"I think all self advocates are teachers. They teach their legislators about what's important to self advocates and what affects their lives. I like working on this issue."

"We can get a lot done when we work together."

Advocating Change Together, Inc.
1821 University Avenue, Suite 306-
South St. Paul, Minnesota 55104

7. Training Conferences:  The GCDD cosponsored 12 training conferences during FFY 2010; the total number of attendees was 1,915. The overall rating was 8.9 (10 point scale) and 98% of the participants rated the conferences as useful/helpful.


"Very good information. I am interested in earning a certificate in customized employment, how to write a business plan, and the Social Security side of it."

"Liked the role playing exercise about communication skills."

"Incredibly useful advice to 'rally the troops' in any social organization" (regarding community organizing and personal networking skills)."

Suppliers: Arc Greater Twin Cities, Arc Southeastern Minnesota, Arc United, Autism Society of Minnesota, Brain Injury Association of Minnesota, Center for Inclusive Child Care, Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota, Fraser Child & Family Center, Lifeworks Services, Inc., Minnesota Habilitation Coalition, Partnership Resources, Inc., and Reach for Resources, Inc.

8. Publications: In FFY 2010, the GCDD disseminated 8,874 print publications to 130 individuals as well as conference attendees. The evaluation scores averaged 9.0 on a 10 point scale and 100% of the respondents indicated the publications were useful. A total of 642,006 items were downloaded from the GCDD and Partners web sites.


"The TAP teacher that dedicated a class to the emergency planning project was thrilled to have the copies of the refrigerator magnet and booklet."

9. E-Government Services: In FFY 2010, a total of 89 items were converted to electronic formats. A total of 302,564 unique visits were made to the GCDD and Partners websites. A total of 38,268 visits were made to, the one stop website for all state disability programs, products, and services.
A Gallery of Images of over 400 separate captioned photos was created to accompany Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger's video presentation, A History of Human Services, Universal Lessons and Future Implications; both are features on the GCDD website.

A half day lecture by Dr. Burton Blatt was converted to an online production for the GCDD website; a biography, a link to his book Christmas in Purgatory, and personal statements from former students are included.

More than 2,000 pages of historical documents on community living, education, employment, definitions, and legal rights and existing legislation; an archive of PCMR publications; the history of Regional Centers in California; and the Gaskin Panel Final Report on "least restrictive environment" were added to Parallels in Time, Part 2.

A series of HEW newsletters and additional historical documents (1,841 pages), and a video interview with Allan Bergman on the evolution of the DD Act were added to the DD Act section at the GCDD website.

The Index of Documents for With An Eye to the Past was reorganized and greatly expanded, and documents reclassified with introductions created for sections of the Index. Additions included Welsch documents, speeches by Governor Luther Youngdahl and a video interview of Governor Al Quie about the beginnings of special education in Minnesota, and a series of newspaper articles by Sam Newlund on the history of deinstitutionalization in Minnesota were added.

A New Way of Thinking: More Than Twenty Years Later, an update to the original A New Way of Thinking published in 1987, was created as a web based publication and posted on the Council website.

A web page was created to highlight the importance of the 2010 Census; Census; Questions and Answers about data collected and how Census data is used were included.

Monthly "History Note" articles written by Luther Granquist about Minnesota's institutional history and published in Access Press were added to With An Eye to the Past.

An interview with US Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun (1908-1999) about his impressions of state institutions dating back to the Pennhurst case was added to Parallels in Time, Part 2.

The Feedback Form for the Partners in Time online course was modified and is being used by Millersville University students who are required to review this course in conjunction with an undergraduate degree program.

Annual Business Results for FFY 2010 were posted on the Council website.


"Love what you're doing with A New Way of Thinking…"

"THANK YOU, THANK YOU for this site (Council website)!!! What an awesome resource! After I found it, I had to stand up and cheer! I am currently enrolled in a transition education course and this site has been an excellent resource. It has all of the information I needed to take my assignment to the next level."

"Our website is a total train wreck compared to this one! I absolutely love the Parallels in Time and will require my staff to work through it and take the quiz. This site should serve as an example to other states. WELL DONE!"

Master Communications Group
3410 Winnetka Ave N, Suite 107
New Hope, Minnesota 55427

10. Customer Focused Research: Minnesota businesses (500) were surveyed to determine their awareness of the ADA and its impact on their business; 58% reported a positive impact. A total of 25% of businesses have incurred costs but 2/3 of those businesses believe the benefits have outweighed or equaled the costs. Another 30% said that enhancements will be made within the next 5 yrs to improve accessibility.

The results of the survey, Awareness, Attitudes and Impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act Among Minnesota Businesses, can be found at

MarketResponse International
1304 University Ave Northeast, Suite 304
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55413

11. Quality Improvement: A review and analysis of state agency performance, legislative, and other reports; review of quality data collected by current grantees; and a review of websites of state Developmental Disabilities Councils for comparison data were completed. A summary of the most critical issues was prepared in preparation for the next Five Year State Plan for FFYs 2012 – 2016.

GCDD staff/members received a total of 562 person hours of training – 401 person hours of core learning on DD issues and 161 person hours of training on quality principles/Baldrige Framework.

Quality Culture Institute
2603 Institute Road
Rochester, Minnesota 55902

12. Technical Assistance: During FFY 2010, the GCDD had 3,605 unique customer contacts about individual problems and 84 unique contacts about the Partners in Policymaking program. Considering repeat customers and including the online courses, a total of 13,648 contacts were made. A total of 821 compliments were received regarding personal assistance and support, timeliness and responsiveness, and specific products or services.


"Thank you so much for the letter of support for tenure and promotion. I also appreciate the opportunity to attend meetings, learn so much from the Council and materials, and make new friends who are passionate about the field of disabilities."

"Thanks for your help in locating resources for my academic research paper concerning the ADA and its impact on Human Resources. My paper was very well received."

"Thank you so much for all the information people have sent about the restraints issue. It has been wonderful and just goes to show how Partners can help people all across the US."

"I really appreciate your kind and immediate reply. Though I am not good at English, your detailed explanation is easy to understand."

13. Presentations: During FFY 2010, a total of 19 presentations reached 1,260 people.


"What a fabulous presentation. How motivating! I am so fired up to make a difference after seeing the way things were and the way they still are. Thank you for not only taking the time to educate us at Partners but for making a difference every day."

"Thank you so much for speaking at my first session of North Carolina Partners in Policymaking Class of 2010. I thought I knew some history on people with disabilities. I know so much more now."


The following public policy issues were addressed at the state level during FFY 2010:

Self advocacy funding

METO – Issues regarding restraints, active treatment, best practices regarding positive behavioral approaches resulting in a lawsuit.

Accessibility/usability of state hardware, software, and online applications; and adoption of Section 508 standards.

Personal Care Assistance program - budget cuts and changes in eligibility criteria.

Emergency preparedness materials.

Governor's Workforce Advisory Council subgroup on employment policies.

ARRA funded employment project with DEED/Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

2010 Census and census reports.

ECT legislation.

State Operated Services redesign and updated policies regarding controlled (seclusion and restraints) procedures.

ADA 20th Anniversary.

The following public policy issues were addressed at the federal level during FFY 2010:

DD Act funding.

DD Act 40th Anniversary.

Reauthorization of the DD Act and Rehabilitation Act.

ADA Amendments Act.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding.

Keeping All Students Safe Act (restraints and seclusion in schools).

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.


During FFY 2010, our collaborative activities with the Minnesota Disability Law Center (P&A Agency) and the Institute on Community Integration (UCE) included:

Information and referral services

Partners in Policymaking

Self advocacy funding

Outreach targeted to individuals in the African American Community, especially emergency planning

Abuse, neglect, and exploitation (in connection with the METO lawsuit and settlement negotiations)

Employment/employment policy recommendations regarding people with disabilities through a work group of the Governor's Workforce Development Council

20th Anniversary ADA celebration

ADA Workshop, "Americans with Disabilities Act: Have We Made Any Progress?"

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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.