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Executive Order aims to increase hiring of Minnesotans with disabilities

August 13th, 2014  |  Deborah Hammonds

Last week, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton issued an executive order directing all state government agencies increase their employment of Minnesotans with disabilities. Over the last 15 years, there has been a steady decline in the proportion of Minnesotans with disabilities employed by the state – from 10.1 percent of the state’s workforce in 1999, to just 3.2 percent in 2013. Executive Order 14-14 directs state agencies to increase that level to 7 percent by 2018. 

Issued on August 4, the Governor’s Executive Order instructs Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) and the State Director for Equal Opportunity to develop a model for recruitment and hiring strategies to increase the employment of people with disabilities. In addition, all state agencies are required to develop plans for promoting employment opportunities for Minnesotans with disabilities, and to begin reporting their progress on a quarterly basis. The Order also directs MMB to develop ways to help employees to more easily update their disability status with their employer. 

In recent years, Minnesota has fallen behind neighboring states and the federal government in the hiring of individuals with disabilities, according to the Governor’s office. Currently, the states of Wisconsin and Iowa have achieved 5.8 percent, and 4.4 percent levels, respectively. The most recent figures for the federal government show that 5 percent of federal workers are individuals with disabilities. Developed in consultation with disability advocates, Minnesota’s new target of 7 percent will make the state a leader in the region for hiring people with disabilities. 

Executive Order 14-14 is the latest initiative enacted by Dayton’s Administration to demonstrate its commitment to help Minnesotans with disabilities live more independently and improve the quality of their lives.  Other initiatives include:

  • Creating Equitable Policies – The Department of Transportation updated its policies and implemented new trainings to help ensure that all employees with disabilities receive proper accommodations. 
  • Improving Life and Work Opportunities – Governor Dayton and the Department of Human Services launched Reform 2020, which will make it easier for people to understand and access services and support for Minnesotans with disabilities, while also redesigning and improving services and increasing service coordination and integration. 
  • Increasing Options and Independence – The Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Vocational Rehabilitation program helps those with disabilities prepare for, find and keep a job, and live as independently as possible. In 2013, the program assisted more than 19,500 people with disabilities. 
  • Supporting Stable Employment – The Department of Human Services began funding a new initiative to help individuals with disabilities find and maintain employment – helping Minnesotans with disabilities live more independently, and decreasing their need for other state aid.   
  • Encouraging Diverse Hiring – The Department of Human Rights held a statewide video conference in December to highlight the strategic advantages of hiring people with disabilities. 
  • Increasing Access to Work Opportunities – The budget signed by Governor Dayton increased funding for State Services for the Blind to help people with disabilities secure and maintain meaningful employment. 

More information about Executive Order 14-14 is available on the Governor’s website.