Skip to Full Menu

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.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The Council offers numerous educational materials and resources about employment and employment issues, and success stories that highlight what can be achieved when employers and delivery systems work together to increase the employment of individuals with developmental disabilities. Take advantage of the following items to review and/or refresh your knowledge and understanding about employment.

Nathan Barclay is a self taught pianist.  He doesn’t read music but has a repertoire of over 60 pieces that he plays as a “Master of the Keys.”  He secured a job at Menards in St. Paul to add a musical element for shoppers.  WCCO television carried his story on Friday, October 13, 2017 to help promote meaningful work for individuals with disabilities and as part of the national effort to increase awareness about employment during the month of October.

Governor Mark Dayton has issued a Proclamation for the month of October 2017 as Disability Employment Awareness Month in the State of Minnesota. The Proclamation makes note of the persistently high unemployment rate for people with disabilities and recognizes, at the same time, that we must value and include all people in our workforce in order to remain competitive in a global economy.

Partners in Employment – An online course designed to help people with developmental disabilities find meaningful jobs and plan a career.  Participants create a resume or portfolio, learn how to network, prepare for an interview, and understand the hiring process.

Meet the Future Face of Employment – The technology fields offer a broad range of jobs and careers for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Parents, educators, VR staff, and employers can take specific actions to facilitate the education, training, and employment processes.

It's My Choice – A NEW and REVISED edition is now available.   Navigation and usability of the guides and checklists have been greatly improved.  The concept and principles of person centered planning are interwoven throughout and one of the first checklists is the Person Centered Plan.  For anyone who needs and uses services and supports to meet their personal life goals, including employment and beginning with transition students, this tool encourages their involvement and active participation in planning meetings.

Project SEARCH - Student interns are provided work opportunities and practical learning experiences to enhance their academic preparation and expose them to the world of work. There are currently five Project SEARCH sites in Minnesota.

Employment Success Stories – The Discovery Process is an information gathering tool that involves seven stages of learning about a person's interests and skills that will lead to better matches with employment opportunities, or shape job possibilities that will be successful, productive, and rewarding for the individual. Here are examples of employment success stories that have resulted from the Discovery Process approach.

Moments in Disability History – The ADA Legacy Project preserved and promoted the history of the ADA and the disability rights movement. Monthly "Moments in Disability History" recognized the leaders in the movement and significant events that resulted in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Employment issues were addressed in "Moments" about Civil Rights, Section 504 Regulations, Stories of Discrimination (including US Representative Tony Coelho's story), and Stories from No Pity.

Disability Justice Resource Center – Created to help members of the legal community better understand complex disability justice issues for people with disabilities, and identify and eliminate biases against people with disabilities including in the area of employment.

The Jobs Challenge for People with Disabilities (2012) – Individuals with developmental disabilities are being directly employed in a broad range of business fields and a wide range of positions in both public and private sectors. In all instances, the experiences of employees and employers have been overwhelmingly positive.

1962/2012 Minnesota Survey of Attitudes about Developmental Disabilities (2012) – A 50-year survey of Minnesotans (general population and individuals with developmental disabilities) comparing perceptions and current attitudes that include employment. Over 90% believed that, with the right education or training, people with developmental disabilities could be very productive workers.   View Survey as Text Only

The 2017 Minnesota Racial & Ethnic Survey of Attitudes Towards People with Developmental Disabilities - This NEW and recently released survey shows strong public support for employment and the high level of respect for companies that employ people with developmental disabilities. Questions included the importance of vocational counseling to help people with developmental disabilities get a better paying job, internships, on the job assistance so people can work in regular businesses, as well as training services for employers. Insights revealed in this survey  can help inform policy decisions about employment, emphasizing the greater integration and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities in a broad range of businesses.   View Survey as Text Only

Connect 700 – This is a state employment option for individuals with disabilities.  The traditional approach to interviewing, testing, and selection and hiring for a broad range of positions in state government does not always accurately measure the abilities and skills of individuals with disabilities. The opportunity to demonstrate those personal skills and talents through on-the-job work experience of up to 700 hours can make a significant difference.  Success at the outset can open the door to additional work experiences in related or new fields and  career advancement.

Employer Survey (2005) – A customer-focused study of 600 Minnesota employers (businesses that employed individuals with disabilities and businesses that didn't) was conducted to identify and measure issues and perceptions that constitute barriers to employment for individual with disabilities.   View Survey as Text 

Innovative Employers in Minnesota (2008) – Through a nominations process, Minnesota businesses that are using innovative employment practices in hiring people with developmental disabilities and promoting an inclusive work environment were identified and recognized.   Text Only Version of Presentation

(October 2, 2017)


©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.