Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

New tool supports employment for people with disabilities

Humphrey School recognizes Human Services innovation


August 12, 2019

On hand to accept the 2019 State Government Innovation Award on Thursday, Aug. 8, at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs were, from left: Lesli Kerkhoff and Ryan Merz, Disability Services Division; Janene Cowan, Fiscal Analysis and Performance Management Division; and Stacy Twite, Assistant Commissioner for the Community Supports Administration, all from the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

A new online resource that allows people with disabilities and those who support them to make informed decisions about employment services has won a 2019 State Government Innovation Award from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Minnesota has embraced a philosophy as part of a national movement that calls for "Employment First" – that is, an expectation that working-age people with disabilities can and want to work and achieve competitive employment alongside people without disabilities.

Many people with disabilities want an opportunity to be part of the general workforce, but don't see how it's possible or aren't given resources they need to work. The Minnesota Department of Human Services and its partners help people with disabilities find competitive, integrated employment.

The Employment First dashboards, developed by DHS staff, show employment outcomes for people with disabilities at the state, county, and service provider levels. Comparing these outcomes can provide useful information for individuals making decisions about services to help them find work or be successful in a job.

"It's exciting to have this work recognized by the Humphrey School," said Stacy Twite, interim DHS assistant commissioner for community supports. "The Employment First dashboards will help us to continuously improve efforts to support employment of people with disabilities and identify best practices."

The DHS Employment First dashboards were among 10 winners of the 2019 innovation awards. More information on the awards program, including a list of the 2019 award winners, is available on the Humphrey School of Public Affairs website.


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