Skip to Full Menu

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.

Download PDF Version

Council Members as of October 1, 2018

Senator John Hoffman, Chair
Michelle Albeck
Ashley Bailey
Hanna Barr
Alex Bartolic
Wendy Berghorst
Lisa Emmert
Pamela Hoopes
David R. Johnson
Eric Kloos
Jim Lovold
Mary Martin
Noah McCourt
Randean Miller
Jillian Nelson
Stacey Nelson
Kate Onyeneho
Carolyn Perron
David Quilleash
Dan Reed
Jacqueline Rightler
Reid Scheller
Lee Shervheim
Bonnie Jean Smith
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 $1,028,414.00 from the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) for FFY 2018. Of that amount, 71% ($730,174) 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 2018, Class 35 of Partners in Policymaking (Partners) graduated 12 self-advocates and 15 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 (5 being highest), independence increased from 4.5 to 4.6; productivity increased from 4.0 to 4.6; self-determination increased from 4.1 to 4.4; and integration and inclusion increased from 3.6 to 4.0. Graduates rated knowledge gained at 4.5, usefulness of the presentations at 4.5, and quality of the training sessions at 4.6.

A graduate workshop was held in February 2018 to address Medicaid issues. Allan Bergman presented an all-day session and the evaluation results were knowledge gained at 4.86, usefulness of the presentation at 4.81 and quality of the training session at 4.81. At the same workshop, individuals with disabilities and family members gave taped interviews about the importance of Medicaid in their lives.


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.


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. They 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 can complete the courses. The online courses are available at no cost 24/7/365.

In FFY 2018, a total of 8,219 visits and 21,654 page views were made to the online courses.

A total of 460 compliments were received about the online courses and 365 feedback forms were completed. with ratings for IPSII, a measure of impact—independence was rated 4.3, productivity was rated 4.2, self-determination was rated 4.2, and integration and inclusion were rated 4.2 (5-point scale).


During FFY 2018, Dr. Nancy Miller, Metropolitan State University, surveyed Partners graduates from Years XXVII through XXIX (Classes 31 through 33). The study was available on Survey Monkey. Based on averages across three classes, 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 91% rate their advocacy skills as good to excellent. In terms of federal outcomes and impact, 81% have increased independence, 64% have increased productivity, 88% have increased self-determination, and 76% have increased integration and inclusion that they attribute to their Partners experience. All the respondents (100%) indicated that they have more knowledge about their rights.

The Odyssey Group
300 33rd Avenue South, Suite 101
Waite Park, MN 56387


The Council has funded a cultural outreach program in minority communities since 1992. In FFY 2018, a total of 18 individuals (self-advocates and family members) graduated from an outreach program for the Somali community.

Six training sessions totaling 36 hours of face to face training 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 2018, IPSII increased from an average of 1.10 to 3.54 (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 5.0 for knowledge gained, 5.0 for usefulness, and 5.0 for quality of training. The participants rated the program with 100% satisfaction.

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.

HAARAN (Horn of Africa Aid and Rehabilitation Network),  
424 ½ South Minnesota Avenue
Suite B
St. Peter, MN 56082


During FFY 2018, this customized employment project assisted ten transition students and twelve 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, better match or shape employment opportunities that would be successful and productive and help them prepare for informational interviews with potential employers. Four students pursued post-secondary education and six students were placed in jobs or in paid work experiences. They worked from 10 -25 hours per week with wages ranging from $9.65-$10.00 per hour. The twelve adults who were employed worked from 8-25 hours per week and their wages ranged from $9.65 -$15.00 per hour.

Through the Discovery Process, 216 businesses were contacted in FFY 2018 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.
The customer surveys revealed 100% satisfaction with the project.

Kaposia, inc.
223 Little Canada Road East #100
St Paul, MN 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 2018, a total of $100,000 in federal funds supported the SAM Central and Northwest regions.
Training sessions were attended by 286 self-advocates (unduplicated count) in the Central and Northwest regions on topics including: disability equality training and the Olmstead Academy.

Self-advocates evaluated training sessions; across both regions and on average, knowledge gained = 4.47, usefulness = 4.38, and quality of presentations = 4.58 (5-point scale, 5 being highest).

There were 452 respondents in assessing customer satisfaction. The highest rating was 99.8% in terms of being treated with respect; and overall satisfaction was rated at 96.2%.

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.

Advocating Change Together, Inc.
1821 University Avenue, Suite 306 South
St Paul, MN 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.

During FFY 2018, Merrick worked with PeaceMaker Minnesota in developing a plan to replicate the Ambassadors for Respect program. The Ambassadors for Respect Handbook was disseminated in 2018 and an evaluation study was completed. On a ten-point scale, the Handbook received a rating of 8.2.

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


The Council co-sponsored nine training conferences during FFY 2018. The total number of attendees was over 2,100, overall rating was 9.1 (10-point scale), and 99% of participants rated the conferences as helpful in learning rights and increasing choice and control over their lives. The co-sponsorship funding was used primarily for scholarships, to offset the cost of registration fees that might prevent participants from attending, and for 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.

Advocating Change Together (Olmstead Academy)
All Star Academy
Arc Southeast Minnesota
Autism Society of Minnesota
Community Involvement Programs
Down Syndrome Association
Family Voices
Highland Friendship Club
Minnesota Association for Children's Mental Health


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. Highlights of work completed during FFY 2018:


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 3,923 publications were disseminated to individuals; 121 individual orders were filled with 100% on-time delivery. Evaluation results showed 100% rated the publications as useful and scored 10.0 (10-point scale, 10 being highest).

Council Website Additions

In FFY 2018, Council website visitors totaled 454,557 and 112,604 visits were made via mobile devices. The sites were visited 650,866 times with 2,154,715 pages viewed.  A total of 1,024,203 items were downloaded; an additional 20,607 video files were viewed. Part of the growth came from release of a new feature funded by a Legacy Grant entitled, With an Eye to the Future. That accounted for 50K downloads within 5 months.
Additionally, the Project SEARCH website had 3,147 visits and 7,278 views during the past year.

Online Training Courses

The five basic courses were reviewed, and content was updated in FFY 2018.  In FFY 2018, a total of 359 completed courses were achieved. There were 8219 visits and a total of 21,654 page views.


This site continues to be an outstanding resource as a one-stop website for all state disability programs and services. In FFY 2018, website visits totaled 29,683 with 121,349 views and 24,220 visitors. 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. There were 73,002 visits and 108,620 views in FFY 2018.


The Council continues to post information on a regular basis. There were 1379 users with a reach of 88,514 and views totaling 148,711.

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 "Telling Your Story" app teaches the steps for writing one's personal story as it relates to a specific public policy issue, then emailing elected officials and other policy makers. The app is available for iPhone, iPod Touch, and Kindle Fire; Android versions for tablet and phone. Downloads for FFY 2018 equaled 742. Since its release, this app has been downloaded 8,522 times.

The Arc Minnesota marketed and promoted the "Telling Your Story" app by including it in newsletters, Facebook and in person at Tuesdays at the Capitol or at Legislative Meetings with members. It is estimated that the Telling Your Story app was distributed to over 5,873 people in FFY 2018.
During FFY 2018, the Autism Help App was downloaded 38,895 times and since release it has been downloaded over 113,145 times.

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 2018, a total of 20,607 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 when additions or changes are made. In FFY 2018, the number of subscribers totaled 15,588.


8707 Broadway Street NW, Suite 210
Minneapolis, MN 55418


Public views on health care

The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) conducted the first survey of Minnesotans' views on health care services and costs in 2004. Fourteen years later, in April 2018, the GCDD replicated the survey with an updated questionnaire that also included questions on the Affordable Care Act. Topics in both surveys included:

  • Satisfaction with health care quality and costs, in general for the U.S. and specifically for Minnesotans based on respondents' personal experiences.
  • Level and types of health care insurance coverage, and related attitudes and satisfaction levels.
  • Perceptions regarding changes in health care costs and payment responsibilities.
  • Attitudes and values regarding a range of health care coverage, costs, and social responsibility issues.
  • Preferences for universal health care versus private health care insurance, and related tradeoffs and opinions.

Key findings from the health care surveys

  • Both the 2004 and 2018 surveys found that over nine out of 10 Minnesotans have some form of health insurance.
  • The number of respondents indicating they have Medical Assistance (MA)/Medicaid more than doubled between 2004 and 2018. This is at least partly a result of the expansion of Medicaid eligibility under the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA).
  • Medicare recipients are generally more satisfied than respondents with private health insurance on all aspects of their health care experiences.
  • Regardless of differences between respondents, most agree that:
    • Health care should be available to all citizens regardless of their income or employment status.
    • People should not be turned away from necessary medical treatment, even if they are uninsured and cannot afford the treatment.
    • Everyone should pay something for their health care, with people paying varying amounts depending on what they can afford.
    • People who need more services than others, such as the elderly and people with disabilities, should get them without paying more.
  • Households with a person with a developmental disability are more likely to have a pessimistic near-future outlook regarding health care quality and affordability, especially federal cuts to MA/Medicaid and health care access in general.
  • In both 2004 and 2018, respondents were fairly evenly split in terms of preference for a government-run health care system versus a system based mostly on private health insurance.

The "2018 Minnesota Racial & Ethnic Populations Survey of Attitudes and Outlook regarding Healthcare Service and Costs" considers the views and concerns of several racial and ethnic communities and are contained in this supplemental report.  Key findings from this August 2018 report include the following:

  • Rates of health insurance coverage ranged from 81% in the East African community to 92% in the American Indian and Southeast Asian communities.
  • Members of the American Indian and East African communities were least likely to believe that health insurance premiums have been increasing over the past couple of years, 37% and 38% respectively, compared with 60% to 77% in the other communities.
  • Survey respondents gave Minnesota a rating of 6.1 to 6.7 out of a possible 9 for overall health coverage and cost, compared with a 6.4 rating for the General Population Survey.
  • Members of the African American and Hispanic communities were more likely than members of the other communities to have delayed medical treatments due to cost, and over 50% delayed treatments for serious health conditions. 
  • The majority of respondents believe that government is responsible for ensuring that all Americans have health care coverage and all communities prefer a government-run health care system versus a system based mostly on private health insurance.
  • Regarding the future of health care, 47% of African American respondents, and 32% of American Indian and Hispanic respondents believe they will be worse off in three years regarding their access to good quality and affordable health care.

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 or 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 $17,500
EGS, Online Learning, Publications $182,674
Customer Research $50,000
Quality Improvement $20,000
TOTAL $730,174

Download PDF Version
To Top

©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.