Columnist Neal St. Anthony recently shed light on a critical issue for Minnesota-based manufacturers — finding long-term workers (“Manufacturers seek future workforce,” Dec. 10). There are incredible programs across the state that are working to help close the skills gap and build a strong manufacturing workforce. At MDI, we’ve thrived on a slightly different model.

MDI is a nonprofit corrugated plastic manufacturer and production services solutions provider, and nearly half our employees are people with disabilities. When individuals are considered for jobs at MDI, it is based on their ability rather than their limitations. Taking this approach has benefited us as an organization and has provided opportunities for people who are passed over for jobs on a regular basis. While the general population is experiencing low unemployment rates, people with disabilities are twice as likely to be unemployed.