In October 2016, Governor Mark Dayton announced the Connect 700 Program (abbreviated C700). The C700 Program is a pre-probationary trial work program that allows eligible individuals with disabilities the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to perform a specific job through C700 for up to 700 hours. C700 employees will receive wages that fit the pay scale for their job but will not receive full benefits.
If the C700 employee is successful at their job, they can then enter the probationary status typical for all new state employees (including benefits).
If the hiring manager is impressed during the C700 employee's first 30 days then they can decide to advance the employee to probationary status any time after the employee’s first 30 days. (Hiring managers can work with Human Resources to advance the C700 employee earlier than 30 days if they are really impressed with the employee.)
If the C700 employee does not satisfactorily do their job, they might lose the job.
When the employee completes probation, he or she becomes an official state employee.
Connect 700 Eligibility
To be eligible for the Connect 700 program, individuals must:
- Meet the minimum qualifications for the job
- Have a disability that makes them unable to demonstrate their skills and abilities in the standard competitive selection process, as described in law
- Have a Proof of Eligibility Certificate, which is valid for 4 years.
Interested individuals can find the application form at the Minnesota Careers website.
Process for individuals with a Proof of Eligibility Certificate
If you are an individual with a disability and you have a Proof of Eligibility Certificate, the next step is to look for a job that matches your skills and interests. The application process is simple.
- Go to the Minnesota Careers website and apply for jobs in which you meet the minimum qualifications
- After you apply for the position, contact the individual listed in the job announcement. Tell them 2 things:
1. You have a Proof of Eligibility Certificate for Connect 700, and
2. You are interested in the position
- If you meet the minimum qualifications, you will then meet with the hiring manager to discuss job requirements and your skills.
- If selected, you will be given an on-the-job trial work experience up to 700 hours to demonstrate that you can perform the job satisfactorily.
Connect 700 is now 1 year old
Special thanks to the members of the advisory committee who have worked carefully together along with Minnesota Management & Budget staff to ensure the success of the Connect 700 program. They are:
- Mary Hartnett - Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing Minnesotans
- Ann Feaman - Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
- Steve Kuntz - Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
- Dacia VanAlstine - Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
- Vikki Getchell - Minnesota Department of Health
- Ken Rodgers - Minnesota Department of Transportation
- Kim Luchsinger - Minnesota Housing and Finance Authority
- Femina Ajayi-Hackworth - Minnesota Management and Budget (originally from the Minnesota Department of Corrections)
At the time of this video’s release, these are the numbers for individuals with disabilities who gain state employment through Connect 700.
- 799 individuals are certified through the program
- 190 have been appointed
- 80 have been converted to regular employment
Guide for state hiring managers
MNCDHH wants to see the numbers improve. We waited to promote the program until we were confident that there were systems in place that support people who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing. Most hiring managers haven’t had experience working with people with disabilities, including people who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing. MNCDHH led efforts to develop a guide for hiring managers that explains what they should do to make sure the work environment is accessible and welcoming. This guide has now been distributed to state hiring managers by Minnesota Management & Budget.
If you are interested in state employment, applying for a Proof of Eligibility Certificate, and participating in the Connect 700 program, visit MN Careers Connect 700 page.
View original story at the MNCDHH website: