Minnesota’s providers of training and employment services for people with disabilities put more people in jobs than any other source of work while offering the greatest range of choices, according to a recent survey.

The Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation (MOHR) represents more than 100 providers in the state and almost all provide employment services.

The just-completed survey revealed that 77 percent of people served by responding MOHR member organizations were employed, with a majority of those working in the community.

“MOHR providers play a crucial role in the employment of Minnesotans with disabilities,” said MOHR President Mike Burke, who is the executive director of the Alexandria Opportunities Center. “We have produced more employment opportunities than any other means.”

Citing the fact that the jobless rate among people with disabilities who want to work is at least twice that of the general population, Burke said, “It is hard to imagine how dire a situation we would have if the services member organizations provide were not available.”

The survey, conducted by MarketResponse International of Minneapolis, indicated that among the 9,396 day program participants working, 43 percent were in jobs in-center, while 57 percent were employed in the community.

Approximately a third of those in the community were individual job placements and two-thirds were part of work crews or enclaves.

“Our nonprofit members strongly believe that people with disabilities should have the opportunity to pursue their living, life enrichment and work goals, and that they should have the ability to make their own choices,” said Burke. “Some wish to be hired directly by the employer, others want to be part of a work crew, while some prefer center-based programs. These are choices that should be available, and honored.”

In the survey, 70 of the organization’s 110 provider members responded, and they were drawn from all areas of the state, with the highest numbers of programs represented in MOHR’s metropolitan and southwest regions.

Overall, the number of clients served varies widely, with the majority serving between 30 and 300 individuals. The number of clients supported by the 70 responding organizations totals 12,154.

Overall, MOHR member organizations serve some 26,000 individuals with disabilities in Minnesota at any given time, and residents in all of the state’s 87 counties have access to the services.

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