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With An Eye to the Future

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2015: Diversity & Inclusion Council is Established and Includes Disability Diversity

On January 20, 2015, Governor Mark Dayton signed Executive Order 15-02, which established the Diversity and Inclusion (DI) Council. The DI Council works to improve the recruitment and retention of state employees from diverse backgrounds, expand contracting opportunities for businesses owned by Minnesotans from diverse backgrounds, and increase civic engagement with traditionally underrepresented communities in the State of Minnesota.

The DI Council is focused on racial and ethnic diversity, as well as disability diversity, which aligns with the goals of Minnesota's Olmstead Plan. Leaders of the following 7 state agencies serve on the Council, with James Burroughs serving as Diversity and Inclusion Chief Officer.

  1. Commissioner of Administration;
  2. Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development;
  3. Commissioner of Education;
  4. Commissioner of Management and Budget;
  5. Chair of the Metropolitan Council;
  6. Commissioner of Transportation; and
  7. Commissioner of Health.
James C. Burroughs II is Chief Inclusion Officer

The council is comprised of three committees:

  1. Employment Practices;
  2. Contracting Practices; and
  3. Civic Engagement Practices. governors-diversity-and-inclusion-council-seeks-new-membership-for-its-civic-engagement-steering-committe/

One legislative change has been to allow professional and technical contracts with targeted group vendors, including businesses owned by people with disabilities. The contracts can be awarded up to $25,000 without bidding. This legislative change should increase the amount of business conducted with targeted vendors. For more information on Professional Technical Contracts (P/T Contracts), see

DI Council Chair gave a presentation about what inclusion looks like.

For more information on how Minnesota can employ more people with disabilities, see the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (or EARN) report from October 2013 called "States as Model Employers of People with Disabilities: A Comprehensive Review of Policies, Practices, and Strategies"