Robin Harkonen, executive director of the East Range DAC, is the new president of the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation (MOHR). She takes office just as the organization is preparing for the 2024 session of the Minnesota Legislature.
In her new role, Harkonen is responsible for supporting the almost 100 non-profit day and employment-service providers that make up MOHR’s membership. She will be with disability advocates throughout the state, and supporting MOHR’s legislative agenda.
Harkonen previously served as a regional representative and as vice president of MOHR, advocating for disability services in meetings with state agencies including the Minnesota Department of Human Services and Minnesota Department of Health.
She met extensively with legislators and legislative committees.
“I’m honored to serve as president of MOHR,” Harkonen said. “I firmly believe the biggest strength of MOHR is the varied experiences and expertise of all our members and supporters. I intend to foster a strong network of employment and enrichment services for people with disabilities throughout the state.”
The East Range DAC is a nonprofit that provides employment training and work programs for individuals with disabilities across the Iron Range. Harkonen has worked with the organization for more than 35 years.
East Range DAC was founded in 1966. It provides job training and work opportunities for more than 90 employees with disabilities from the Iron Range. It serves the communities of Virginia, Eveleth, Mountain Iron, Gilbert, Biwabik, Aurora, Hoyt Lakes, Babbitt, Embarrass, Hibbing, Chisholm and Buhl, and their surrounding areas. Its work is done at its Eveleth center and in community settings.
Harkonen succeeds Julie Johnson of MSS, who has wrapped up a five-year term. During Johnson’s tenure, she guided the organization through COVID, several legislative sessions, and a severe workforce shortage. She will now become co-chair of MOHR’s Government Relations Committee.
“I firmly believe MOHR provides a great connection for advocacy, education, and collaboration,” said Johnson. “Together, we ensure people with disabilities can thrive, find employment, and be deeply engaged in their communities. Our communities are stronger when everyone is included. I look forward to my new role in MOHR, allowing me the opportunity to continue to work with such a strong group of service providers.”
Thousands of Minnesotans with disabilities have a better, more meaningful quality of life through access to employment and enrichment opportunities offered by hundreds of local non-profits. These mission-driven, independently operated organizations offer distinct approaches and resources in their local communities. MOHR supports members with training, awareness building and legislative advocacy. Learn more at MOHR.