Like cream, Minnesota always rises to the top in quality-of-life rankings. Our virtues were validated again when the U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Minnesota second in the nation for opportunity. Yes, opportunity. In the case of U.S. News, it’s
a catchall term for indicators of upward mobility.
For people with disabilities, opportunity affords hope. It’s a big, buoyant word that promises dignity, self-reliance and independence. And for nearly 600,000 Minnesotans with disabilities, that means a lot.
Yet opportunity remains an airy aspiration for too many Minnesota employers who resist hiring workers with disabilities. Their attitudes about the limitations and requirements of workers with disabilities are often unfounded. But the barrier is real: About twice as many people with disabilities are unemployed.
As we observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October, we have an objective way to measure employer progress toward inclusive hiring practices: the Disability Equality Index (DEI). This year, some of our state’s leading businesses earned scores of 100 percent.