MTI Success Stories: Getting Buy-in from Stakeholders with PHASE Industries



PHASE-Industries is a day and employment provider serving people with disabilities in rural Minnesota. In 2024, PHASE-Industries ended its center-based, subminimum wage service model and is replacing it with a competitive, integrated employment and community life engagement model that supports the individuals they serve. This shift is transforming the organization, but CEO Tim Schmutzer realized it constantly needed to seek buy-in and input from all stakeholder groups: staff, managers, board members, the people being served, and their families, guardians, and loved ones. Some people resisted change, but the CEO understood that their input and engagement were still needed and considered. At every opportunity, PHASE communicated the message that the transformation was part of the organization's mission—to empower people to live, work, and thrive by discovering and developing their abilities. People learned what the changes would mean for them. Eventually, success became the best persuader. When people served felt the sense of accomplishment of getting their first competitive job, their pride and satisfaction spread to others who, in turn, championed PHASE's transformation.


Minnesota Transformation Initiative Technical Assistant Center (MTI)
Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota


  • Employment and postsecondary education
    • Employment and workforce development