Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz orders review of troubled state disability hiring program amid reports of mismanagement


February 21, 2020

Richard Tsong-Taatarii - Star Tribune

Andrea Imhoff, data analyst and former Connect 700 participant who is on the autism spectrum, along with Kenneth Rodgers, coordinator of disability programs at the Minnesota Department of Transportation, testified about their struggles with the Connect 700 program at a legislative hearing last month.

Gov. Tim Walz has ordered a review of a troubled state hiring program for people with disabilities amid mounting reports that the program has foundered because of mismanagement, lack of training and poor leadership.

In a statement issued this week, the state agency that oversees hiring said it will launch an independent evaluation "to identify concrete strategies" to improve the administration of the Connect 700 program, a state program that gives people with disabilities early preference during the hiring process for hundreds of jobs across state government. Once hailed as innovative, the hiring program has fallen short of expectations and has come under criticism for being rolled out inconsistently across state agencies.



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