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An announcement promoting the Reinventing Quality conference in Baltimore in September 2024. The announcement shows the date and place of the conference, and a blurred image of an audience in a lecture hall.

Reinventing Quality: Hard Questions for Tough Times

Many of the nation's leading organizations supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities will gather in Baltimore in September. At the 2024 Reinventing Quality conference, they will share strategies for tackling the field's most pressing challenges, from the shortage of support workers to new federal reporting rules and the transformation of employment services as sheltered workshops close their doors.

Read about the conference.

A factory worker with a disability stencils a board. He is at a bench in a workshop, focused on the task and leaning over his work. Other workbenches and people are in the background.

Let’s End 14c

As we debate what constitutes a livable wage in Minnesota – with the current $15.57 an hour minimum wage in Minneapolis and St. Paul considered by many to be inadequate to cover living costs here – be aware that there is a group of workers earning far, far less.

Section 14c of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 allows employers to pay workers with disabilities less than minimum wage. Originally created to boost employment for people with disabilities, it now keeps many in poverty without opportunities for advancement. It is time to phase out the 14c Special Wage certificate. We don't need this relic of the past.

Read about ending subminimum wages.

Nao, an artificial intelligence robot, with Renáta Tichá.

Here and Nao: Better Support

ICI's Renáta Tichá (pictured with Nao) is on a University of Minnesota team testing an artificial intelligence robot to address the shortage of support workers and fight loneliness among older people and those with disabilities. Team members brought Nao to an intergenerational senior living community for a pilot study. They watched residents interact with the robot for several weeks.

“Some were amazed by it and got quite attached… and some just found it odd and said they’d rather have a cat.”

Read more about Nao.