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Dayton Relaunches 2 Programs To Increase Disability Worker Hiring

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Governor Mark Dayton announced two state programs will be re-launching to help people with disabilities. The goal is to increase employment for disabled Minnesotans.

Dayton said the timing of these programs comes during National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month. The two programs he is bringing back are part of a goal to improve state agency employment for people with disabilities by at least 7 percent by August 2018.

Speaking at a press conference Thursday morning, Dayton said the programs, Connect 700 and Supported Worker, will be coming back.

Connect 700 gives people with disabilities up to 700 hours in job trials so hiring managers can better match them based on their skills.

The Supported Worker program offers up to 50 full-time positions in state agencies that can be shared by more than one person with disabilities.

Following Dayton's announcement, state leaders within the disabled community talked about the impact creating jobs has on disabled workers but also on the state agencies as well.

"I believe inclusion leads to innovation and that by fostering work place respectful of cultural differences, including disabilities, organization benefit from varied perspectives on how to achieve success," Joan Willshire, the executive director of the Minnesota State Council, said.

Dayton's announcement comes two years after he signed an executive order requiring all of the state's executive agencies to take steps to increase their employment of people with disabilities to reach that 7 percent employment goal by August of 2018.

Dayton said, right now, about 6 percent of the employees in state government have disabilities. That's around 2,000 Minnesotans. To reach the 7 percent goal, about another 350 jobs would need to be added.

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