About the Study

In 2015, the Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) partnered with Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) to fund contractors Coffey Consulting, LLC and American Institutes for Research to conduct the State Exchange on Employment and Disability (SEED) Evaluation. The formative evaluation aims to better understand the efficiency and practicality of SEED, a program that supports state and local governments in implementing inclusive policies and best practices to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities. SEED engages policymaker organizations (such as the Council of State Governments) as intermediaries to help ODEP understand the needs and perspectives of state/local policymakers and, to meet identified needs, offers research support and technical assistance.

The formative evaluation covered the first three years of program operation (2015-2018) and relied on data from four main sources: interviews with the eight intermediaries conducted prior to and during SEED implementation; a survey fielded after the initial implementation of in-state programs; an intermediary’s online database for state-level policy tracking; and observations of SEED conferences and partner meetings.

This Department of Labor-funded study was a result of the annual process to determine the Department’s research priorities for the upcoming year. It contributes to the labor evidence-base to inform worker protection and disability and employment programs and policies and addresses Departmental strategic goals and priorities.

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The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) sponsors independent evaluations and research, primarily conducted by external, third-party contractors in accordance with the Department of Labor Evaluation Policy. CEO’s research development process includes extensive technical review at the design, data collection and analysis stage, including: external contractor review and OMB review and approval of data collection methods and instruments per the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), Institutional Review Board (IRB) review to ensure studies adhere to the highest ethical standards, review by academic peers (e.g., Technical Working Groups), and inputs from relevant DOL agency and program officials and CEO technical staff. Final reports undergo an additional independent expert technical review and a review for Section 508 compliance prior to publication. The resulting reports represent findings from this independent research and do not represent DOL positions or policies.