A Working Life Alliance (AWLA)

Eighteen disability advocacy organizations, Griffin-Hammis Associates, and the University of Minnesota, in concert with The Arc Minnesota, are leading a statewide employment training and capacity building initiative called A Working Life Alliance of Minnesota (AWLA). 
A Working Life Alliance Logo

AWLA will work jointly over the next two years to achieve its statewide vision of increasing the competitive integrated employment rate of Minnesotans with a wide array of disabilities and job barriers. The AWLA project will develop, field-test, and evaluate the use of a self-directed and/or family-assisted employment planning and development toolkit, along with customized training and support strategies, to assist job seekers and family members (where appropriate) in charting a person-centered journey to competitive integrated employment outcomes in the community labor force. 

Work is Possible

In the past, someone living with a disability had limited work options in their community. Now, recent changes in federal and state laws and in public service programs are opening the doors to a working life for people living with disabilities.

A Working Life Alliance (AWLA) believes it IS possible for people with disabilities to work in their own job and be paid competitive wages in their community. Working paves the way to a fulfilling life of purpose, dignity, and joy.

AWLA will give job seekers and family supporters up-to-date information and help them connect to people and resources so they can find and keep the job they want.

How Will We Put You in Charge?

A Working Life Alliance (AWLA) will hold Work is Possible (WIP) Summits statewide, informing job seekers, families, and supporters about changes in federal regulations, state laws, and public service programs. Knowing about changes can make integrated and competitive work possible in local communities.

Mini Employment Learning Communities (ELC) will bring job seekers, family and other supporters together, energizing everyone pursuing employment in their communities. An ELC is established around a cohort, a shared experience common amongst the job seekers. 

AWLA has developed a Toolkit for Job Seekers and Family members. It contains user-friendly information and strategies for self-directed and family assisted employment planning. It is rich with print and video materials, online training, resources, and instructional tools.

Community Resource Connectors (CRCs) assist ELC members by:
  • Engaging in discovery of the job seeker’s talents, interests, skills & abilities. 
  • Learning about using services resources beneficial to working. 
  • Tapping experts in customized employment other approaches that leading to being hired, creating a new job, or becoming a new business owner
For more information contact:

Melinda Shamp

Lead Community Resource Connector 


p: 651-604-8080
f: 651-523-0829

The project is funded by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services.