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

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Copyright (c) 2012 C. Ford Runge

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