The Stimulus Effects of Employment Programs for Minnesota's Disabled Citizens: A Case Study of Merrick, Inc.

C. Ford Runge


Keywords: human services; disabled adults; social dividends; economic benefit

State budget negotiations around the country have focused on cuts to human services programs for people with disabilities. These include Long-Term Care (LTC) programs for disabled adults. Using an LTC day program in Vadnais Heights, Minnesota as a case study, this article provides an alternative perspective. It describes the social dividends of employment in LTC programs. These extend well beyond the services provided to clients. Other dividends include wages to program staff; avoided costs of residential supervision; taxes paid by clients and staff; state revenue from charitable gambling and grants supplementing state taxpayer dollars. Companies that employ people with disabilities through contracts with such programs do so because it makes good business sense. In sum, public investments in day service programs for people with developmental disabilities at this facility produce nearly $3.00 of economic benefit for every $1.00 spent. Apart from humanitarian concerns, government cuts to such programs are penny-wise and dollar-foolish.


human services; disabled adults; social dividends; economic benefit

Full Text:



Copyright (c) 2012 C. Ford Runge

Beginning with Volume 36, Issue No. 4 (2016), Disability Studies Quarterly is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license unless otherwise indicated. 

Disability Studies Quarterly is published by The Ohio State University Libraries in partnership with the Society for Disability Studies.

If you encounter problems with the site or have comments to offer, including any access difficulty due to incompatibility with adaptive technology, please contact the web manager, Maureen Walsh.

ISSN: 2159-8371 (Online); 1041-5718 (Print)