The latest blog from The Arc Minnesota's CEO, Andrea Zuber, covers the current Direct Support Professional shortage, how we can support and build communities, and The Arc Minnesota's role in this solution.
The Direct Support Workforce Shortage has been a long time coming. It has been predicted for decades but as many things, it is now exacerbated by the global pandemic. Across the state, group homes are closing because they do not have enough staff and people are being asked to move back in with family, or into larger, more institutional settings.
For many years, state demographers have been telling us the impending workforce shortage will not be a problem of pay, job satisfaction, or other “typical” recruitment and retention issues alone. Rather, the dilemma is that we do not have enough working age adults in the workforce to fill all of the existing jobs we have in Minnesota, and that includes the direct care positions that Minnesota relies so heavily on...
...There are things that are working. Let us look to those. All of this is possible and happening now. It needs to be shared so people can understand the options available. We need storytelling, mentoring, and a bold vision. We can prioritize our way out of this dilemma if we address the root causes and call on community in new ways.
From the Association of University Centers on Disabilities:
The Senate returned to D.C. on January 3 and the House of Representatives on January 10, 2022. With movement on the Build Back Better Act stalled at the end of 2021, the Senate turned to working to address voting rights. On Thursday January 13, the House passed a bill that combined the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. The Senate had promised to pass both pieces of legislation by Martin Luther King Day. Both pieces of legislation stalled with opposition to changing the filibuster rules. Discussions continued today on how to move voting rights legislation forward in the Senate. Also, discussions continue how to possibly move forward the Build Back Better Act.
In addition, work continues in the House and Senate to finalize appropriations for Fiscal Year 2022. Congress has passed short-term continuing resolutions (CR) continuing the prior year’s funding at the same levels. The current CR continues through February 18, 2022. CR’s continue annual program funding that is separate from the emergency funding provided to address the COVID-19 pandemic and the funding provided in the bi-partisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Public Law 117-58). Funding for AUCD programs and most programs that impact people with disabilities is included in the Labor, Health, Human Services and Related Agencies (LHHS) bill (HR. 4502). The House passed the LHHS bill on July 29, 2021. The Senate LHHS bill (S. 3062) is still in draft form and the Senate is working to come to agreement on numbers to finish the bills.
Call and educate members of Congress about the importance of voting and of services and support for people with disabilities, including the importance of Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) that allows people with disabilities to live in their communities.
Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act
Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced the Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act (S.3238). to phase out subminimum wages for workers with disabilities and to provide states and employers with the resources to transition workers with disabilities into competitive integrated employment. Currently, employers can apply for Section 14(c) waivers under the Fair Labor Standards Act to pay workers with disabilities less than federal wage. Introduction of this legislation follows the release of President Biden's American Jobs Plan, which calls for ending 14(c) waivers and supporting competitive integrated employment for people with disabilities. Representatives Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA) previously introduced the House version (H.R.2737). AUCD supports this legislation.
Learn more about the Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act:
Walz unveils record $2.7 billion capital investment proposal
Gov. Tim Walz has a simple message for legislators wanting to put together a capital investment package this year: Go big. To preserve the past, meet current needs and build a stronger future, Walz unveiled his $2.73 billion Local Jobs and Projects Plan Tuesday. It includes $2 billion in general obligation bonds, $276 million in General Fund spending and $250 million in appropriation bonds.
“In 2020, we passed the largest jobs bill in state history, investing in the projects that local communities told us matter most to them. Now, with Minnesota’s strong economic outlook, we have an opportunity to make even more progress,” Walz said in a statement. “With a focus on projects like roads, bridges, fire stations, and veterans' homes, our plan will repair and replace critical infrastructure and improve the lives of Minnesotans in every corner of the state.”
The 2020 law totaled $1.9 billion. No traditional capital investment package received legislative support in 2021; however, a law was passed to amend prior appropriations of general obligation bonds and authorize a conveyance of state-bond financed property.
Nearly $5.5 billion in requests were received for 2022: $4 billion from state agencies and approximately $1.5 billion from local units of government.
In advance of the 2022 Legislative Session, join the MHP Investors Council as lawmakers discuss prospects for housing in the 2022 legislative session. Hear directly from lawmakers about their caucus, committee, and personal priorities and how housing fits into their overall session goals.
In 2009, as a cost savings measure, the Minnesota legislature implemented a moratorium on increases in licensed group homes. Since then, The Arc Minnesota has worked on providing services that assist adults with disabilities with finding independent and affordable housing and moving into homes of their own.
In this webinar, The Arc Minnesota will present a summary of the following two programs:
Housing Access Services began in 2009 as a partnership between The Arc Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Human Services to free up capacity for those with the most significant needs and to demonstrate ways to bolster the state’s ability to support people with disabilities in their own homes. To date, these services have helped over 2,700 adults with disabilities move into homes of their own.
Housing Stabilization Services is a new program approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), administered by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, and funded by Medicaid. This is a billable housing navigation and housing sustaining service; and Minnesota was the first state in the nation to implement it.
2022 Minnesota Precinct Caucuses
Tuesday, February 1, 2022 7:00 pm
Read more about the 2022 Minnesota Precinct Caucuses below in the Noteworthy News & Resources section of the Capitol Connector.
This event is part of the Learning Community series. The event is geared towards students and families and is an introduction to inclusive higher education in our country and state. Your spheres of influence and contacts are vital to improving and growing Minnesota college options for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Join us for Disability Advocacy Day on Tuesday, February 22nd! The event will be online again this year. But even though we can’t go to the Capitol, it is still critical for disability advocates to show that we are better together by fighting for equity, access, and belonging in community.
A virtual poster gallery will be from 10:00 am-11:00 am. The virtual rally will be from 11:00 am-11:45 am. Then we will have an in-depth policy “Lunch & Learn” from 12:00 am-1:30 pm.
Keep the email that you get after you register. You will need that to log-in to the event.
We’re getting excited for this year’s Disability Policy Seminar (DPS)! DPS is a three-day event, where passionate advocates, self-advocates, experts, and professionals in the field come together and learn about key issues that affect them. This year, there are options to participate either virtually or in-person in Washington, D.C. Registration costs will be the same for both options.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Virtual Conference
Wednesday, May 18, 2022 All day
Presented by: AHRC Nassau & The Arc of the United States
AHRC Nassau, in conjunction with The Arc of the United States, is proud to present a conference focused on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within the intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) community.
The DEI Virtual Conference, “Beyond the Comfort Zone: Understanding and Eradicating Injustice, Racism and Inequality in the Field of Developmental Disabilities,” will be held May 18, 2022. Exploring the intersection of disability and race, the DEI Virtual Conference seeks to increase fluency and understanding of the history, challenges and opportunities impacting people with IDD and the staff who work with them. This conference will connect attendees with leaders from the private and public sector ready to share research, case studies, best practices, and feedback on topics including:
Setting and defining goals for improving DEI in your organization.
The impact of systemic and historical racism and other barriers on the IDD sector.
The intersection of health care disparities for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and those with IDD.
Creating a pathway for equity and inclusion of BIPOC at all levels of IDD organizations, including the boards of directors.
The challenges and rewards of employing a neuro-diverse workforce.
Noteworthy News & Resources
From The Arc Minnesota:
Precinct Caucuses are on Tuesday, February 1 at 7:00 pm!
By Tim Schnell, Grassroots Organizing & Engagement Intern
The Precinct Caucuses are great opportunities for neighbors to get together and elect delegates to party conventions, hear from candidates, and consider Resolutions on various issues. Caucuses are part of a grassroots tradition in Minnesota going back decades.
Attending caucuses is important because candidates for local, state and federal offices will be seeking endorsements. Having the chance to speak one-to-one with those candidates about disability issues can be important in making your decision about who to support. There are also opportunities to discuss issues important to the disability community and pass Resolutions. These Resolutions can become part of the public commitments of the parties and candidates.
How does the pandemic affect the Precinct Caucuses? It depends on the political party. The recognized parties eligible to have caucuses include the DFL Party, the Republican Party, the Legal Marijuana Now Party and the Grassroots – Legalize Cannabis Party.
Please continue to check the political party’s websites and alerts from the news media, because the pandemic could still change plans for the caucuses before February 1.
Here is information on how each political party will be participating this year:
Attending in-person is optional, but if you want to participate and do not want to attend, you can download and print a PDF version of the Non-Attendee Form and deliver it to your caucus location from 6:30 – 9: 00 pm on February 1, or email it to a local party leader.
If you have questions about participating in Precinct Caucuses, please contact Tim Schnell, Grassroots Organizing & Engagement Intern at firstname.lastname@example.org
From League of Women Voters of Minnesota:
Say “Thank You” to Local Election Officials
Elections are managed locally in Minnesota and around the country. County and city employees and precinct Election Judges help to ensure that elections are properly conducted and the votes are counted legally. The Election Judges often put in over thirteen hours on Election Day, and live in their local communities. Without the support of county and city staff and Election Judges, it would be impossible to hold elections in each precinct.
It is vitally important to appreciate the work of local election officials. That is why the League of Women Voters Minnesota has started a “Say Thank You to Local Election Officials” campaign. The campaign aims to send letters of appreciation to local election officials, have Letters to the Editor published, and increase knowledge about the critical role these election workers play in our democracy. Followthis link to participate.