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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Oct. 28: Disability-Focused Employment Dialogue

General public encouraged to attend community discussion, which will follow showing of public TV show on this topic.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 10-21-2015

Mankato, Minn. – Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Department of Social Work will host a community discussion Wednesday, Oct. 28 between 1-2 p.m. in Centennial Student Union’s Ostrander Auditorium on ways south central Minnesota can advance employment opportunities for people with disabilities, to include recruiting, hiring, promoting and retaining employees with disabilities.

The short, informal discussion on the Minnesota State Mankato campus, free and open to the public, is part of a statewide employment dialogue organized by the Minnesota State Council on Disability that celebrates “The ADA at 25: Minnesota Moving Forward.”

The community dialogue is intended to be a candid discussion about (but not limited to) hiring practices, benefits of hiring and working with people with disabilities, and dispelling some of the misconceptions that surround people who have a disability.

Prior to the 1 p.m. community discussion, a live broadcast of Twin Cities Public Television’s “Brown Bag Lunch” will be shown from 12-1 p.m. in Ostrander Auditorium.

Attendees are invited to gather in Ostrander Auditorium at 11:30 a.m. and are welcome to bring their own lunch or purchase a lunch in the Centennial Student Union food court. Parking is available in the visitor’s parking lot (lot #4), located across from Centennial Student Union on South Road.

The live public TV show will feature former U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, the Senate sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Lex Frieden, professor of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and director of the Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) Program at TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston. Frieden has been called a “chief architect of the ADA.”

Following the broadcast, the 1-2 p.m. informal discussion of the unemployment crisis faced by people with disabilities in the Greater Mankato area will be co-facilitated by Nancy Fitzsimons, professor in Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Social Work, and Brigid Riley, principal of B.E. Riley Consulting, a Minneapolis company.

For more information, or to request accommodations, please contact Nancy Fitzsimons by phone at 507-389-1287 or by email at, or contact Brigid Riley at

As part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the Minnesota State Council on Disability, along with its partners, the Minnesota Business Leadership Network, the Minnesota Spinal Cord Injury Association and Twin Cities Public Television, is holding “The ADA at 25: Minnesota Moving Forward” on Oct. 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Included are a conference, career fair and resource fair that will be held in St. Paul, Minn., at the Ramsey County Conference Center, Metro Square Building (121 East 7th Place). Mankato and Duluth, Minn., are satellite locations for the day’s events.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, as designated by the U.S. Congress in 1988.

Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Social Work is part of the University’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,193 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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