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The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
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.


The Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities (the Council) 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 Council's business is to provide information, education, and training to increase knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will increase the independence, productivity, self-determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) of people with developmental disabilities and their families.

This Annual Report summarizes the results of the 5 Year Plan program goals. Additional information can be found at the Business Results report.

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Council Members as of October 1, 2017

Senator John Hoffman, Chair
Michelle Albeck
Ashley Bailey
Hanna Barr
Alex Bartolic
Emilie Breit
Lisa Emmert
Pamela Hoopes
David R. Johnson
Eric Kloos
Jim Lovold
Sarah Mapellentz
Mary Martin
Noah McCourt
Randean Miller
Jillian Nelson
Kate Onyeneho
Carolyn Perron
David Quilleash
Dan Reed
Jacqueline Rightler
Reid Scheller
Lee Shervheim
Heather Tidd
Alan Wilensky


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 Council received $1,047,120 from the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) for FFY 2017. Of that amount, 71% ($743,455) was allocated for grants and contracts to fulfill the goals of the Council's Five-Year State Plan approved by the federal government.


In FFY 2017, Class 34 of Partners in Policymaking (Partners) graduated 10 self-advocates and 18 parents. 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 (5 being highest), independence increased from 4.1 to 4.5; productivity increased from 3.7 to 4.4; self-determination increased from 3.6 to 4.4; and integration and inclusion increased from 3.5 to 4.1. Graduates rated knowledge gained at 4.5, usefulness of the presentations at 4.5, and quality of the training sessions at 4.7.

Graduates described the value of the Partners program in changing their own lives and helping to work for change that can benefit other people with disabilities. Following are comments:

“This program is invaluable! It was the best use of my time and taught me to be confident in my advocacy work for my son and all who live with disabilities."

“Partners in Policymaking® has made me aware of the services that are out there and I've learned ways to contact public officials while understanding how important it is that those leaders hear from the voices within the community. Hearing from past graduates has been inspiring to see how much they have accomplished. I personally haven't gone out and addressed issues related to people with disabilities. I did notice a parking ramp where I couldn't find the elevator, so I had to go down the stairs with someone. There is a lack of accessible spots at various businesses in my community. This program gives individuals the confidence and power to address certain disability rights. When people come together, it creates a strong support system where lots of information is shared to benefit the well-being of all people.”

“It was a great opportunity to learn about the socio-political obstacles in the disability community, and in my pursuit to find meaningful work and educational opportunities.”

 “It was a great learning experience. I met so many wonderful people and I think I am a better self-advocate for myself and others.”

“I have become more determined. When the bureaucracy is in the way, I will keep advocating because if I did not, people with disabilities like my kids will be treated differently.”

 “I have been appointed on an advisory panel which allows me the opportunity to be a voice of advocacy.”

 “The Partners program has been a game changer, for me. It has given me the knowledge to better advocate for my son who has Down syndrome. I feel much more confident in my abilities to fight for what he needs and deserves.”

“I learned that I can't wait for someone else to make the changes my kids need, I need to get working and do it myself.”

Partners Facebook Groups

Partners in Policymaking graduates are taking advantage of social media to stay in touch with each other, and share updates on policy issues during the program year and after graduation. Several of the past Minnesota Partners classes have started their own Facebook pages and information is disseminated through liaisons for each graduating class.

"Telling Your Story" App

The "Telling Your Story" app teaches the steps for writing one's personal story as it relates to a specific public policy issue, and then emailing to elected officials and other policy makers. The app is available for iPhone, iPod Touch, and Kindle Fire; and Android versions for tablet and phone. Downloads for FFY 2017 equaled 3,379 while total downloads since first release date equal 7,771.

The Arc Minnesota marketed and promoted the "Telling Your Story" app by including it in newsletters and Public Policy updates. In FFY 2017, a total of 1,925 unique visits were made to the Public Policy page, and 4,896 Facebook users were active during the past year. Presentations and town meetings throughout the state, conferences, and Tuesdays at the Capitol during the 2017 legislative session reached 832 individuals.

Partners Online Courses

The Partners in Policymaking classroom program is connected to the online courses in several ways. The Partners faculty are encouraged to refer to the online courses during their presentations.  Participants are encouraged to review the courses to supplement and reinforce their classroom learning. The courses are also used by participants who have missed all or part of a weekend session. Service providers, college students, direct care workers, and other individuals who are unable to attend the classroom training program can complete the courses online. The online courses are available at no cost 24/7/365.

In FFY 2017, a total of 8,002 visits and 20,426 page views were made to the online courses.

A total of 357 compliments were received about the online courses and 282 feedback forms were completed. with ratings for IPSII, a measure of impact—independence was rated 4.2, productivity was rated 4.0, self-determination was rated 4.2, and integration and inclusion were rated 4.1 (5-point scale).

Longitudinal Studies

During FFY 2017, Dr. Nancy Miller, Metropolitan State University, surveyed Partners graduates from Years XXVI through XXVIII (Classes 30 through 32). The study was available on Survey Monkey. Based on averages across four classes, results indicated that 100% of the respondents have the advocacy skills necessary to get needed services and supports some or most of the time, and 94% rated their leadership skills as good to excellent. In terms of federal outcomes and impact, 85% have increased independence, 74% have increased productivity, 95% have increased self-determination, and 71% have increased integration and inclusion that they attribute to their Partners experience.

Government Training Services/GTS Educational Events
2233 University Ave. W, Suite 150
Saint Paul, MN 55114


The Council has funded a cultural outreach program in minority communities since 1992. In FFY 2017, a total of 17 individuals (seven self-advocates and 10 parents) graduated from On Eagles Wings, an outreach program for African Americans.

Training sessions focused on a history of disabilities, inclusive education, county-based services, and systems change—the state legislative process and how to work effectively with legislators to create or improve public policies.

The impact of this training program can be measured by the graduates' evaluation of themselves in terms of IPSII prior to starting the training program and at the end of the program year. In FFY 2017, their independence increased from 2.8 to 4.8, productivity increased from 2.8 to 4.8, self-determination increased from 3.1 to 4.9, and integration/inclusion increased from 2.6 to 4.8 (5-point scale, 5 being highest). In terms of the personal leadership skills they acquired and best practices information they received, participants rated the program as 4.8 for knowledge gained, 4.9 for usefulness, and 4.9 for quality of training.

Online learning courses were integrated into the classroom learning. The "Telling Your Story" app was presented as a communication tool for creating a personal story and connecting with public officials about specific public policy issues.

IPSII, Inc. continues to offer a half-day emergency planning and preparedness session; a total of nine On Eagles Wings graduates attended this additional training in FFY 2017. They discussed strategies for keeping themselves, their neighbors, and the community safe in weather and related emergencies—tornadoes, floods, winter storms; and personal health issues during influenza season. Information about the purpose and benefits of the Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT) training offered by the City of Minneapolis was provided, and a CERT Go Kit and Red Cross Go Kit were available for review. The session was rated as 5.0 for knowledge gained, 5.0 for usefulness, and 5.0 for quality of training.

The Council's "Feeling Safe, Being Safe" emergency planning set (booklet and magnet) were provided to the attendees.

Impact Statements

"I was happy for this training; I'm feeling safe already."

"I enjoyed learning about emergency preparedness and how to be safe."


6611 Lynnwood Boulevard
Richfield, Minnesota 55423


During FFY 2017, the direct employment of individuals with developmental disabilities included nine transition students and nine adults with developmental disabilities. The Discovery Process, an information-gathering strategy that involves seven stages of learning about interest areas and skills, was used to identify individual vocational themes to better match or shape employment opportunities that would be successful and productive, and help individuals prepare for informational interviews with potential employers.

Four students completed IPSII self-evaluations with the following scores -  independence = 4.2; productivity = 4.0; self-determination = 4.2; and integration and inclusion = 4.4. Four adults completed IPSII self-evaluations with the following scores – independence = 5.0; productivity = 4.8; self-determination = 5.0; and integration and inclusion = 4.5.

Through the Discovery Process, 210 businesses were contacted in FFY 2017 to match with job seekers based on their vocational themes. The impact of this approach can be seen with both transition students and adults with developmental disabilities. They have found jobs of their choosing, increased their hours or wages, retained jobs, or changed jobs to expand their skills and work in other fields of interest.

Kaposia, Inc.
223 Little Canada Road, Suite 100
Little Canada, Minnesota 55117


Self-Advocates of Minnesota (SAM), the statewide self-advocacy network, operates in six regions in the state. Through local self-advocacy groups and a leadership circle comprised of region representatives, SAM strengthens the personal empowerment of self-advocates, increases disability awareness through public education, and works towards systems change. Self-advocates have been actively involved in the implementation of the Olmstead Plan that is a cross-disability effort. During FFY 2017, a total of $100,000 in federal funds supported the SAM Central and Northwest regions.

A total of 41 training sessions were attended by 749 self-advocates (duplicated count) in the Central and Northwest regions on topics including: leadership, rights, assertiveness, and Minnesota's Olmstead Plan.

Self-advocates evaluated training sessions; across both regions and on average, knowledge gained = 4.4, usefulness = 4.2, and quality of presentations = 4.6 (5-point scale, 5 being highest).

The impact of self-advocacy can be measured by IPSII. A total of 55 self-advocates (duplicated count) served as teachers for many training sessions. They evaluated themselves in terms of IPSII by responding yes. The results indicated greater independence = 95%, productivity = 76%, self-determination = 99%, integration/inclusion = 98%.

Self-advocates attended the 2017 State Self Advocacy Conference. The Conference was held May 12-13, 2017, in Bloomington, Minnesota. "Celebrating Life" was the theme.

Olmstead Academy

Advocating Change Together created an Olmstead Academy in FFY 2014 and has continued offering the Academy on an annual basis. The Academy includes training sessions on disability rights, leadership skills, and the Olmstead decision and Minnesota's Olmstead Plan. Field work consists of community projects that promote full community integration. Participants are selected through an application process; four self-advocates from the Central Region participated in the 2017 Academy.

The 2017 Academy projects are summarized below:

  • The SAM Northeast Team decided to focus on social integration for individuals who are working in the community. The interviews revealed satisfaction with the level of work friendships and dissatisfaction with job coaches who inhibited social integration in community jobs.\
  • The SAM Northwest Team decided to help six people bust barriers such as privacy, job coaches, or family contact. The initial discussion always occurs over a root beer float and not in a big meeting.
  • The SAM Southwest Team decided to invite “pillars of the community” to dinner in hopes of establishing relationships in the community. There were two dinners and eight community leaders such as a pastor, city council member, and police officer. As a result, individuals with disabilities are getting assistance to pass the driver’s test or receive transportation assistance, volunteering, or receiving invitations to go to coffee. The biggest barrier was guardians and staff who opposed community integration.
  • Owakihi Team from Inver Grove Heights helped 24 people take tours of housing options of people living independently. People wanted to live on their own and had never thought about it. However, funding continues to be the primary barrier and so a roommate is a necessity.
    Mains’l team from Monticello also offered a tour of housing options but their turnout was lower and the biggest barrier was guardians who refused to give permission.
  • Lutheran Social Service Team from Crosby and Baxter launched the “Leave Me Alone, I’ll Be Fine” initiative for individuals who believe they don’t need overnight staff. One of the four individuals who lived in the home refused to install security cameras and so the alternative was to provide four hours of time alone without staff.
  • The Meridian Team from Anoka and New Brighton hosted two dinners to build connections with next door neighbors. This team received assistance from Hamline University’s Making Waves Theatre Troupe which led the members through role playing exercises on how to greet guests, and how to keep conversations going. The neighbors were happy for the invitations and now there are more connections with neighbors.

Advocating Change Together, Inc.
1821 University Ave., Suite 306-South
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104

Anti-bullying Campaign and Ambassadors for Respect

Merrick, a supported employment program and Ticket to Work Employer, has promoted self-advocacy and self-determination since 1997. The anti-bullying campaign was identified by self-advocates themselves and initiated in three elementary schools in the Northeast Metro area, St. Paul School District, in 2013.

Fourth grade students are the target audience for the campaign. By 2015, 10 elementary schools were participating, and 596 students and 32 teachers were reached through 24 training sessions. In 2017, a total of 12 schools participated; and 1,010 students. 45 teachers, and a school principal were reached through 38 training sessions. A total of $20,000 supported the anti-bullying campaign carried out by the Ambassadors for Respect.

The impact of the anti-bullying campaign can be measured by IPSII. In FFY 2017, six self-advocates, Ambassadors for Respect, were teachers/trainers who planned and presented the training sessions, and evaluated themselves according to IPSII: increased independence = 5.0, increased productivity = 5.0, increased self-determination = 5.0, and increased integration and inclusion = 5.0 (5-point scale, 5 being highest). The impact on the Ambassadors for Respect themselves as a result of their teaching/training experiences in the classroom is also reflected in their personal comments:

“I feel my self advocacy has increased.  I’m able to say what I want and what is important to me.”

“I love going to this school because it makes me feel good about myself as an Ambassador.”

“It was so wonderful to see the teachers get so involved in the activities with the kids.”

“I felt really confident today in front of the group.”

“I talked to a boy in the class who has ADHD and he was happy that we came.

“The teachers must have reviewed the information with the students prior to us coming and you could tell that they were getting into the presentations – they have lots of great ideas.”

“Great group of kids and enjoyed them asking questions.  I feel I had the right answers.”

“The large audience went well  and we pulled it off with one less presenter.”

“The kids in the first class were a little rowdy but we were able to get them focused.”

“I feel I am making a difference.”

Merrick, Inc.
3210 Labore Road
Vadnais Heights, Minnesota 55110


The Council co-sponsored 10 training conferences during FFY 2017. The total number of attendees was 1,499, overall rating was 8.9 (10-point scale), and 99% of participants rated the conferences as useful/helpful. The co-sponsorship funding level ranged from $450 to $ 2,000; funds are used primarily for scholarships to offset the cost of registration fees that might prevent participants from attending, and/or speaker costs.

A majority of the conferences offered several breakout sessions for participants to focus their learning as well as gain new knowledge and skills in more than one topic area. These training events are also opportunities for organizations that are awarded co-sponsorship funds to promote and help recruit applicants for the Partners in Policymaking program.

Advocacy and inclusion Matter (AIM) of West Central Minnesota
Advocating Change Together
All Star Academy
Community Involvement Programs
Cow Tipping Press
Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota
Minnesota Organization of Habilitation and Rehabilitation (MOHR)
The Arc Greater Twin Cities
The Autism Society of Minnesota
The Resource Center Program of West Central Industries


The Council has built a solid reputation by providing information, education and training through this goal. The Council administers several websites including its main one, the Partners in Policymaking® website; Minnesota Project SEARCH website; Disability Justice Resource Center; and the one-stop website. The Council also provides free online courses through the Partners website to increase the knowledge, skills, and abilities of visitors who take advantage of this learning experience; and supplement and reinforce the learning of Partners participants in


The Council has digitized all of its historical publications and placed them online. The Council also tracks the number of publications downloaded from the websites; the most popular items centered on positive behavior supports.

Print Publications

A total of 1,783 publications were disseminated to individuals; a total of ­­­1,688 publications and resource materials were disseminated to conference attendees and at presentations; 75 individual orders were filled with 100% on-time delivery. Evaluation results showed 100% found the publications useful and rated them 10.0 (10-point scale, 10 being highest).

Council Website Additions

In FFY 2017, Council website visitors totaled 424,162, and 83,747 visits were made via mobile devices. A total of 461,699 items were downloaded; an additional 56,042 video files were viewed. The Project SEARCH website had 1,794 visits and 4,093 views during the past year.

Online Training Courses

The five basic courses were reviewed and content was updated in FFY 2017; a Spanish translation of Partners in Living was also completed.  In FFY 2017, a total of 8,002 visits and 20,426 page views were made to the online courses.


This site continues to be an outstanding resource as a one-stop website for all state disability programs and services. In FFY 2017, website visits totaled 64,391. This website is maintained in cooperation with the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans.

Disability Justice Resource Center

The Resource Center is an online collection of statutes, regulations, case law, and commentaries intended to help the legal community better understand the many complex justice issues related to people with disabilities, particularly individuals with developmental disabilities. The Resource Center was made possible with the cy pres fund from the Jensen Settlement Agreement.


A total of 171 postings were made to the Council Facebook page. A total of 173,141 users made 274,197 visits, and 13,191 likes were recorded.

Postings included updates on Council grant activities, publications, customer research studies, online courses, Governor Proclamations, Olmstead Plan announcements, webinars, career fairs, awards, historical interviews, employment resources, voting, the 45th anniversary of the Council, and state resources. These postings spanned all federal priority areas and helped promote all Five Year State Plan goals.

YouTube Channel and Pinterest

The Council created a YouTube channel for existing historical videos and new videos with historical significance. A Pinterest link was created to Access Press, the Minnesota disability community newspaper, for access to disability history items. In FFY 2017, a total of 15,159 videos were viewed on the YouTube channel.


The Council has invested in SiteImprove, a web governance tool that scans webpages on an ongoing basis to find misspellings and broken links, and provides a complete overview of website accessibility issues along with specific recommendations to meet WCAG 2.0 standards. Reports are provided to the Council every three days so problems can be addressed immediately.


The Council has used GovDelivery for over ten years. Subscribers can create personal profiles and designate which of 14 web pages they want to receive automatic email notice about additions or changes that are made. In FFY 2017, there were 13,862 subscribers.


8707 Broadway Street NW, Suite 210
Minneapolis, MN 55418


An original attitudinal survey regarding people with developmental disabilities was conducted by the state of Minnesota in 1962.

The survey was repeated in 2007 and then again in 2012, 50 years after the original benchmark study. Some of the original questions were retained in each survey; new questions were added for the 2017 study to reflect 21st Century issues and concerns.

The Five Year State Plan for FFYs 2017-2021 is clear in stating that all goals must be aligned with the Olmstead Plan; delivery systems must work towards offering services in “the most integrated setting” – where individuals with disabilities live, work, are educated, receive health care services and participate in community life.

In March of 2017, the survey was repeated, with the Olmstead Plan as the driving force. The survey included questions designed to capture the perspectives of Minnesota’s general population regarding equality, equity, diversity and inclusion of people with developmental disabilities.

Prior to launching this survey, MarketResponse conducted 11 qualitative in-depth interviews among six industry experts who work in state government or advocacy groups, and 5 Partners in Policymaking® graduates. The purpose of these interviews was to uncover relevant issues of today in order to update the survey instrument, as well as gain qualitative insights which will be summarized in a separate report.

There were 1001 respondents in total in the 2017 survey. The geographic dispersion of respondents of the survey closely matched that of the general population of Minnesota (suburban 43%; Minneapolis/St Paul 20%; small city 13%; small town 13%; and rural 11%).

There were more female respondents than male respondents; the age range was from 18 years to over 75 years and representation from racial/ethnic communities matched the Census parameters for Minnesota.

While seven out of ten respondents said they knew someone with a developmental disability, only one out of four believed that they were very familiar with developmental disabilities.

More than six out of 10 Minnesotans expressed strong favorable opinions with three statements about people with developmental disabilities -  living happy, fulfilling lives; society is better off when people with developmental disabilities can live to their highest potential; there is high respect for companies that employ people with developmental disabilities. Minnesotans rejected the Not in My Backyard Syndrome and also were opposed to the concept of survival of the fittest. Nine out of 10 Minnesotans agreed with statements supporting integration, inclusion and productivity of people with developmental disabilities; and  72% disagreed that too much taxpayer money is spent on people with developmental disabilities.

In reviewing the results from 1962, 2007, 2012 and 2017, there is a softening of support compared to 2007 and 2012. Minnesotans expressed strongest support (greater than 70%) for early childhood special education services, special education, and transition; employment services; health care; prevention of abuse; self-advocacy and research.

With legislative funding designated for the Olmstead Plan activities, the same research company sampled an additional 163 individuals from five groups—African American; Hispanic; American Indian; East African; and Southeast Asian. The survey results were then grouped by proximity to the DD Act outcomes of independence, productivity, self-determination, integration and inclusion. The American Indian segment was most closely aligned to IPSII. These results were shared with the Olmstead Implementation Office.

MarketResponse International
1304 University Ave. NE, Suite 304
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55413


Since 1998, the Council has adopted the federally supported Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence as a systematic framework for improvement of performance and in accordance with the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010. By learning and adopting these principles, the annual Business Results provide trend lines, and reflect changes and improvements for Council operations.

Annual Business Results

These results are based on the Council's annual work plan that is aligned with the Baldrige Criteria. Increases or improvements and trend data in customer results, financial and market results, and supplier results are tracked over several years and represented on charts and graphs for easy reading and comparison.

Data results most recently added include Facebook/social media, video files, and website visits via mobile browsers. Trend lines are showing significant increases in these changing technologies and reflect how customers seek and exchange information in the 21st century.

This work enables the Council to show results in all three quadrants of Results-Based Accountability—outputs, efficiencies, and outcomes.

Supplier: Quality Culture Institute
1204 Woodridge Place
Owatonna, Minnesota 55060



Partners in Policymaking $210,000
Cultural Outreach Programs $50,000
Employment $80,000
Self-Advocacy $120,000
Training Conferences $20,000
EGS, Online Learning, Publications $193,455
Customer Research $50,000
Quality Improvement $20,000
TOTAL $743,455

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©2020 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   Fax: 651.297.7200 
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.