MOHR impact
Pre-Day at the Capitol 2022
Quarantines not over for all
It’s been almost two years since Chelsea Lucas participated in a Twin Cities day program, as waiting lists exacerbated by COVID-19 and staff shortages have limited her options.

Dependent on others for many facets of life, she has a number of developmental disabilities, is nonverbal and deaf. “She doesn't get to socialize, she doesn't get to try new things, she doesn't get to do anything that challenges her mind or gives her pride and accomplishment,” said her sister and co-guardian, Nicole Lucas, who maintains close contact. Both are 39 years old and their mother is the other guardian.

When the COVID-19 quarantines rolled in early in 2020, Chelsea moved from her Brooklyn Park group home to Nicole’s home in Albertville. It was the only way they would be allowed to see each other, and neither could bear to be apart, Nicole explains. -more-
Lifelong testament, valued service
MSS in St. Paul recently said goodbye to one of its best and longest-term supporters, a person-served with 57 years of involvement, about 80 percent of the nonprofit’s 73-year history.

Joe Thompson was an extremely positive person and had an infectious smile that would light up a whole room, MSS reported in a Facebook post. He passed away on December 11, 2021 at the age of 82.

“I don’t know of any place I’d rather be than right here,” said Thompson in a 2019 Gala celebration video made at MSS.

Three years earlier, he tried to retire and stayed home to watch westerns. That lasted about eight months. He returned to MSS to see his friends two days a week and soon increased his attendance.

Check out Thompson in this 2019 MSS video:
Help for job developers
What are good ways to approach employers about Customized Employment? How can technology support a person's independence? What if the candidate has a criminal background?

These and more questions are answered through APSE's Lunch and Learn sessions, which are free and virtual each month on the third Thursday. See the schedule. -more-
Training, legislative conferences coming
Members, please mark your calendars for the MOHR Spring Training Conference in Duluth - May 19 to 20, and the Summer Legislative Retreat, August 31 to September 1 in Alexandria. More info to come.
Thanks for award submissions, think about employers for summer
MOHR appreciates the emails, phone calls and nominations for the Fifth Annual 2022 Life Enrichment Awards. Let the judging begin. If you were unable to submit a nomination this time around, could you plan to nominate an organization for an Outstanding Disability Employer Award this summer? See the 2021 winners and check for more info. Photo: WorkAbilities, Golden Valley.
State senators tout $322 million rescue package
State Senators Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) and Karin Housley (R-Stillwater) recently announced a $322 million rescue package to address the staffing crisis facing long-term care centers, group homes and home and direct care advisors.
Virtual Disability Services Day at the Capitol March 8
All Minnesotans with disabilities should have access to high-quality employment services and other day enrichment supports. With more than 3,500 people on waiting lists for services, state investment is needed to recruit and retain staff. Check out MOHR's Legislative Agenda, attend the March 8 event, schedule legislator meetings and be sure to support these bills in the House and Senate:

Day's events:

9:30 a.m. - Virtual Policy
10 to 10:30 - Virtual Rally
10:30 through afternoon-
meetings with legislators

Ideas for thank you letters coming soon. Members, please email summaries of your interactions with legislators. Find your legislators and more here.
View and share Legislative Agenda
KIMT - Cardinal to close 10 group homes soon
KIMT 3 Television News in Rochester reports 10 group homes are being closed in Olmsted and Winona counties.
'DD Awareness Month' recognized in March
Marking the 52nd Anniversary of the federal Developmental Disabilities and Bill of Rights Act, Governor Tim Walz proclaimed March 2022 as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The proclamation touches on human rights and choice, integration, opportunities, safety and the pursuit of meaning and productivity. Please read, save and share it! -more-

See related story in
Update on Minnesota task force on eliminating subminimum wages
The Task Force on Eliminating Subminimum wages had its first meeting on February 8. See this link for a background brief and the meeting presentation.

The February and March meetings were expected to focus on organizing and planning for the work to be done by the task force over the coming months. Andrea Zuber (The ARC MN) and Jillian Nelson (MCD, AUSM) were elected co-Chairs at this first meeting. 
“It was encouraging to hear nearly all representatives acknowledging those people with the most significant support needs and employment barriers who value their 14(c) work opportunities, and the priority to make sure that this group is not left behind in this process,” said Lori Schluttenhofer, VP of Day and Employment Services with Opportunity Partners.
The Task Force will meet next on March 8, 2022. More information, including meeting documents, can also be found at Task Force on Eliminating Subminimum Wages / Minnesota Department of Human Services. The group will submit a report to the Legislature in February 2023.
In the NEWS
Kids in crisis stuck in Minnesota hospitals KARE 11
Artist with developmental disabilities creates massive replica of MN State Fair Midway out of candy

Chrestomathy is on the move to new quarters- Access Press | Patch

Skiing program gives agency to people with disabilities - The Free Press

Amid labor shortage, Minnesota Chamber spearheads effort to find untapped talent - Star Tribune

Fridley Youth in Government student advocates for people with disabilities - ABC Newspapers

Tim Penny: Creating more equitable local economies - Fillmore County Journal

Bill would ban 'heartless discrimination against people with disabilities who need organs- Yahoo News
Minnesota group home capacity shrinks amid staffing shortages - Star Tribune

Olmsted County group homes closing due to staffing shortages - KAAL TV | KROC Radio | KTTC TV

Families scramble after group homes shut down due to lack of workers

Rochester disability advocate honored by presidents has died - KROC Radio

Group home closings put pressure on families - Yahoo - Post Bulletin

Our view: Overworked, underpaid and desperately necessary - Post Bulletin

How a two-minute speech encapsulated the dire state of home health care in Minnesota - MinnPost

Marriage at Work: PossAbilities

Issue Spotlight | MRCI - Access Press
ACR Homes: Services for People with Disabilities are on the Verge of Collapse - "We are the voice for people who do not have a voice."
Big Stone County commissioner, farmer and author reappointed to Minnesota Council on Disability - West Central Tribune

LEADing Change for Employees With Disabilities

Meet Bill Emery, volunteer at the Aging and Disability Resource Center -

'Our staff are like "Screw this"' How Minnesota's mental health sector is trying to avert a burgeoning employment crisis- MinnPost
Check out MOHR's strategic plan summary chart and contact MOHR President Julie Johnson for more information.
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The Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation - To Advocate and support members in providing meaningful services to persons with disabilities and communities served.