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With An Eye to the Future

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2016: Quality of Life Survey says "Jobs!"

The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities (MN GCDD) conducted a quality assessment in 2000, to determine how people with developmental disabilities evaluated the quality of services they received from the array of service providers, and what obstacles they faced in their day to day living.

This survey became known as The Quality of Life Assessment Survey and it has been repeated by the GCDD every five years since 2000, with changes and updates included as new issues arise. In the survey, people with developmental disabilities are asked about the degree to which they believe they are:

  • Independent,
  • Productive,
  • Self-determinative,
  • Integrated, and
  • Included in the community.
Vocational Rehabilitation
Photo by Ann Marsden

This is known as the IPSII. The IPSII findings are instrumental in setting priorities for the next MN GCDD 5-Year State Plan.

Individual Survey Results (IPSII) indicate that over the past 15 years, there has been no improvement overall in satisfaction with IPSII. It is worth noting, however that satisfaction with productivity has consistently been higher than satisfaction with other outcomes.

  • For adults with developmental disabilities, ages 19 and older, having a job outside of the home appears to be highly correlated with satisfaction with all elements of IPSII. Yet, this youngest adult age group (19-34) had the highest unemployment rate, with 51% without a paying job.

There is little question that improving real employment opportunities (i.e., a paying job, 20 hours a week or more) among the 19-34 age group, would result in improved IPSII satisfaction levels, and as a result, a higher quality of life. 2015 Survey findings include:

  • About two-thirds of all respondents (66%) believe their community is a good place for people with developmental disabilities, which is down from 73% in 2005.
  • In addition to better employment opportunities, other important issues for people with developmental disabilities over the next five years include:
    • Access to services and support,
    • Adequate housing, and
    • Better inclusion in public education.

For providers, too, the most important priority by far was in the creation of jobs. Providers would like to see state agencies working with businesses on job creation, job coaching and funding programs that increase awareness and education of potential employers on the benefits of hiring individuals with developmental disabilities.