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Minnesota companies, nonprofits announce coalition to help advance employment opportunities

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October 16, 2019
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – In honor of October’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month, MDI along with Medtronic and Special Olympics of Minnesota today announced the creation of the Unified Work Coalition. This group of like-minded Twin Cities organizations, from Fortune 500 companies to nonprofits entities, intend to advance employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
“People with disabilities are continually left out of the diversity and inclusion conversation in the business community, and we aim to change that,” said Peter McDermott, president and CEO of MDI. “We know that our differences make us stronger – but it takes inclusion to make them matter. The formation of the Unified Work Coalition brings us one step closer to realizing true inclusion.”
In Minnesota, people with disabilities are nearly three times more likely to be unemployed than the general population among people ages 18 to 64, according to a 2017 report from the Minnesota State Demographic Center. Organizations such as MDI are already doing work in this space, with 45% of its employees being people with disabilities. The formation of this coalition is in response to the need for organizational leaders to share sustainable best practices for hiring and supporting employees with disabilities.
Founded by Medtronic, Special Olympics Minnesota and MDI, the coalition includes other organizations such as 3M, Andersen Windows and Doors, The ARC Minnesota, DPI Staffing and Opportunity Partners. The group will meet regularly and host roundtable discussions to work toward achieving the shared long-term goals of creating sustainable employment models based on real-life, working examples, and assisting businesses with hiring and supporting people with disabilities.
“The Special Olympics movement is all about inclusion, and we have seen that our athletes make tremendous employees when given the chance,” said Dave Dorn, president & CEO of Special Olympics Minnesota. “By partnering with entities like MDI, Medtronic and other companies that believe in a unified work environment, we can build models and training to make it easier for others to follow suit.”
To learn more about the Unified Work Coalition visit
About MDI
MDI is a leader in manufacturing corrugated standard and custom plastic packaging solutions, production assembly, and environmental services. As a nonprofit through a Social Enterprise model, MDI creates self-sufficiency by providing meaningful work in an inclusive environment, with nearly half of the workforce comprised of people with disabilities. Headquartered in Minneapolis, with additional locations in Hibbing, Grand Rapids and Cohasset, MDI offers an unparalleled customer experience, while providing high-quality products and services to businesses and organizations.

About Special Olympics Minnesota
Special Olympics Minnesota offers athletic, health and leadership programs for people with and without intellectual disabilities. Through the inclusive programming individuals transform themselves, their communities and the world.