Minnesota governor orders increase in disability hiring

Shape of Minnesota with the state seal
Employment Opportunities Increase in Minnesota

Last month, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton (D) signed an executive order, requiring all of the state’s executive agencies to take steps to increase their employment of people with disabilities to at least 7 percent by August 2018.

In 2013, a mere 3.2 percent of the state’s employees had disabilities. This figure has been declining since 1999, when more than 10 percent of the state’s workforce consisted of people with disabilities.

“We applaud Gov. Mark Dayton’s recent executive order to increase the percentage of people with disabilities employed at state agencies, as well as the additional steps he asks the state to take in order to achieve this goal,” Don Lavin, executive director of The Arc Minnesota, wrote in a columnn for the Star Tribune, dated August 15. “The governor rightly recognizes the importance of the state government being a model employer, and the state is showing the necessary leadership as it encourages private industry to hire more job seekers with disabilities as well.”

Within 120 days of the Order, signed August 4, the Commissioner of the Minnesota Management Budget, Assistant Commissioner of Enterprise and Human Resources, and the State Director for Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion must design a “model for recruitment and hiring strategies to increase employment of people with disabilities.”

Each executive agency must create its own plan for promoting disability employment, including specific recruitment and training programs.

The Commissioner of the MMB must then make quarterly reports to the Governor on the executive agencies’ progress toward their goals.

At the federal level, an estimated 11.89 percent of employees have disabilities. In 2010, President Obama signed an executive order, calling on the federal government to hire 100,000 new employees with disabilities over 5 years.

Federal contractors and subcontractors are also required to take steps to ensure their workforces are a minimum of 7 percent people with disabilities, under new regulations that went into effect in April 2014.

Governors in California, Delaware, Florida, Ohio, Oregon and Washington state, among others, have signed similar executive orders, according to the Star Tribune.