Metro Quality Improvement Work


The Metro Regional Quality Council (MRQC) conducted 240 Person-Centered Quality Reviews between November 2017 and January 2020.

Quality Reviews are interviews with people about their quality of life. The reviews asked about choice and control in different topic areas such as housing, daily routine, community involvement, employment, relationships, support staff, safety, transportation, case management, future life planning, services and supports, and hopes, dreams and goals. 

The MRQC reviewed the results of the Quality Reviews and voted to focus efforts on two priority areas: employment and the direct support staff shortage.   The council has been working on employment efforts since January 2019 and started working on the support staffing shortage efforts in April 2020.  To complete this work, the council has devoted workgroups to focus on each area.

Are you interested in the results of the Quality Reviews? 


Equity and Social Justice Framework:

The Metro Regional Quality Council operates under an equity and justice framework. In order to be intentional in this work, we have identified 3 main outcomes that we are working towards:

  1. Improving quality of services and supports for all people with disabilities
  2. All stakeholders know about equity, intersectionality, and Disability Justice Principles
  3. Principles of Disability Justice are applied within internal MRQC and Arc Minnesota services and systems

Learn about the 10 Principles of Disability Justice and how the MRQC is using these principles to guide our work in this Disability Justice Framework document.

To support this effort, the MRQC staff developed an Equity Glossary.  This resource is intended to be a guide to common terms used in community engagement, quality improvement, and equity work. You can find the fluid document here:

Metro Regional Quality Council staff also developed a two-part Cultural Responsiveness training for MRQC Staff, interns, and members as well as The Arc MN staff and interns.  These trainings can help anyone who wants to learn more about the significance of culture within our work and the best practices for navigating cultural diversity. It is vital to note that this cultural responsive training provides tools and knowledge to help participants represent the values of the Metro Regional Quality Council and The Arc Minnesota, but it is not an exhaustive resource and should only be viewed as a basic framework.

The Metro Regional Quality Council acknowledges and honors that many people with disabilities have intersecting identities.  The council utilizes a social justice framework and is committed to intentionally reaching and equitably supporting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who have disabilities.



Background and Introduction

As of 2018, more than 600,000 Minnesota residents reported having at least one disability, comprising 11 percent of the state’s population. When examining Minnesota’s overall workforce, residents with disabilities have lower levels of labor market participation, lower employment-to-population ratios, and substantially higher unemployment rates. This leads to higher poverty levels for people with disabilities than those without disabilities.

The Metro Regional Quality Council gathered employment-related information through listening sessions, focus groups, informational interviews, and Person-Centered Quality Reviews.  This information guided the employment work completed by the MRQC.


We Work! Employment Campaign

This campaign will be a journey through employment experiences, emphasizing capability and power while also bringing to light current unfair but legal practices.

The We Work! Campaign will be a series of short videos from different stakeholder groups such as self-advocates/people with disabilities, family members of people with disabilities, employers, providers, and council members. The purpose of this campaign is to educate the public and employers on the benefits and best practices of employing people with disabilities. 

We Work Introduction Video

Tayler introduces the We Work! campaign and discusses the important employment protections provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ACA). This campaign will be a progression through employment experiences for people with disabilities. The series will emphasize capability and power while bringing to light current unfair but legal practices. 

A Job Katie Loves

Katie is the Advocate Associate at The Arc Minnesota.  In this video, she shares what she is passionate about and what advice she has for job seekers and employers. She wants everyone to know that people with disabilities want to work hard, strive, and do their best.

Supporting Higher Education for People With Disabilities

Paris is a parent of an adult with disabilities. Her son is a senior in college and ready to begin his career. Paris wants everyone to know that it is important for people with disabilities to have the opportunity and choice to pursue higher education. Access to education impacts people’s employment and career outcomes, and overall quality of life.

A Job Allie Loves

Allie works with children at an early childhood center. In this video, Allie shares her story and offers advice for people with disabilities looking for their dream job. She also has advice for employers hiring people with disabilities. Her motto is, “You never know until you try it!”


Tips for Inclusive Employment

Matt and his family own and operate a few metro area Culver’s. Earlier this year, they shared with us how Culver’s works to make Minnesota’s workforce better for everyone, including people with disabilities. To Matt and his family, a great guest experience starts with a great employee experience. In this video, our partners at Culver’s share their best practices for inclusive employment!


Poppy’s Career in Education

After working 20 years as an educator, Poppy is a leader in the field of education. While she has dedicated her career to supporting and advocating for her students and their families, she has also had to advocate for herself as an employee with a disability. Learn more about Poppy’s career and how to advocate for yourself at work by watching this video!

Customized Employment

Have you heard of customized employment?

Customized employment is personalizing the employment relationship between a candidate and an employer in order to meet the needs of both.

Josh Dean is the Customized Employment Specialist at Vocational Rehabilitation Services. He is committed to improving the employment outcomes for people with disabilities through customized employment. Learn more about customized employment and why you might use this best practice to find meaningful employment by checking out this video!

Why Volunteering is Important to Nicole

Volunteering helps job seekers build skills and relationships that can lead to employment. It can also help form friendships and support networks. Learn about why volunteering is important to Nicole in this video!

Follow us on Facebook to keep up with the videos!


Employment Data and Information

Are you interested in the findings of the Metro Regional Quality Council?  Check out the employment report, summary, or handout: 

Employment Resources

The Metro Regional Quality Council developed the following resources to support employment for people with disabilities.  All resources are free to share:


Staffing Shortage

Background and Introduction

The direct care workforce is large and is one of the highest-demand and anticipated growth sectors in the U.S. and Minnesota. Over the last two decades, the service sector for people with IDD has grown 290%.  Looking ahead, from 2018 to 2028, the long-term care sector is expected to add a further 1.3 million direct care jobs, primarily personal care aide positions — more new jobs than any other occupation in the U.S. economy.

 The Metro Regional Quality Council recognizes the importance of quality direct care staff in every facet of life for people with disabilities and their families.  The MRQC is gathering information to determine where we fit in the fight for high quality support staff.


Support Staff Best practices and Resources

The Metro Regional Quality Council has started to develop a fluid best practices and resources document related to the support staff shortage:

Support Staff Best Practices and Resources 


Support Staff Data and Information

The MRQC analyzed the Support Staff section of 240 Quality Reviews.  The results can be found below:


Support Staff Quality Improvement Report

Support Staff Quality Improvement Report 


Other Quality Improvement Work

Though the council has devoted efforts to employment and the support staff shortage, the MRQC staff have participated in quality improvement work in other areas.


The MRQC staff have been involved in various efforts to change the systems around safety, abuse, and neglect for people with disabilities.

  • A Culture of Safety Data Action Group in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health (DHS). This group will review systemic influences that contribute to critical incidents and make recommendations to prevent harm in the future.
  • Policy work legislating robust abuse prevention training during orientation for direct care staff
  • Provided input to the Vulnerable Adult Act (VAA) Redesign
    • Conducted focus groups with community stakeholders
    • Attended stakeholder summit
    • Provided public comment on recommended changes to the VAA
  • Tracking Monthly Maltreatment Reports


Self-Advocacy Efforts

The MRQC staff have been closely involved in self-advocacy efforts at The Arc Minnesota by providing support, guidance, and technical assistance in the following areas:

Self-Advocate Events

MRQC staff provided guidance and supervision to various self-advocacy meetings and events such as the monthly Self-Advocate Advisory Committee Meetings, Calling All Self-Advocates statewide meetings, the Parent Panel, and weekly self-advocate happy hours.

Self-Advocate Page

MRQC staff worked closely with the self-advocacy initiative where we created a dedicated space on The Arc Minnesota’s website for resources to help keep people with disabilities advocating, engaged, and learning during COVID-19. 

Virtual Self-Advocate Conference

Participating in the development of the “Become a Self-Advocacy Superhero”: A virtual conference geared towards youth and young adults with disabilities. More information to come.

Zoom 101 Webinar

Developed and offered a Zoom 101 Webinar and tailored classes to support self-advocates, people with disabilities, and allies navigate and feel comfortable using Zoom.

Voting Resources

Developed Plain Language Voting Resources to help people with disabilities know their rights, understand accessibility requirements of voting, and how to seek help with voting if needed. Access the voting resources here

Connecting and Advocating During the time of COVID-19

In partnership with self-advocates and Arc MN staff, MRQC staff developed and presented “Connecting and Advocating during the Time of COVID-19” at a virtual self-advocate conference.


Resources for information on this page:

Employment Background and Information:

Support Staff Shortage Background and Information:

Direct Support Worker Survey 2019 Final Report. Retrieved from:

IMPACT winter/spring 2018, Volume 31, Number 1. Retrieved from: