States, along with local government, play a vital role in building a strong American workforce, one prepared to meet their employers' needs in an increasingly global economy. In that spirit, it is critical for state policymakers to create accessible and inclusive environments that promote greater workforce participation and employment success for all citizens, including people with disabilities.
Launched by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, the State Exchange on Employment & Disability (SEED) is a unique state-federal collaboration that promotes the adoption of disability-inclusive state policy through an innovative partnership model.
Current SEED partners include:
- Board of Hispanic Caucus Chairs (BHCC)
- Council of State Governments (CSG)
- Council of State Governments West (CSG West)
- National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
- National Governors Association (NGA)
- U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM)
- Western Governors' Association (WGA)
- Women In Government (WIG)
Through collaboration with these partners, SEED helps state and local governments develop and implement meaningful policies and best practices that lead to increased employment opportunities for people with disabilities, and, by extension, a stronger, more inclusive workforce and economy.
Help Highlight Disability-Inclusive Employment Policies
- In honor of the 29th Anniversary celebration of the ADA, governors were encouraged/commended to collect data on state employees with disabilities in an effort to promote strategies for states as model employers. Learn more here: www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/odep/odep20190731.
- October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Ideas for state governors, legislators and other policymakers can be found here: www.dol.gov/agencies/odep/initiatives/ndeam/state-agencies.
Harness the Right Talent, Right Now: Disability Inclusion in Your State's Workforce Policy
Work Matters: A Framework for States on Workforce Development for People with Disabilities offers state policymakers 13 broad policy options, as well as more than 200 real-life examples of innovative programs and policies that states have successfully implemented to build strong, inclusive workforces.
Work Matters is a culmination of intensive deliberation and research conducted by the National Task Force on Workforce Development for People with Disabilities, a SEED collaboration convened by CSG and NCSL. The report features bi-partisan and state-driven policy options that are actionable and have broad appeal to a wide number of stakeholders, all with an exceptional degree of customizability.
Among the state policy options, Work Matters identified stay-at-work/return-to-work (SAW/RTW) as a critical priority area. In response, SEED and CSG launched the Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work State Policy Toolkit in a continued effort to support state-level SAW/RTW policy. This supplemental resource provides states with policy options, best practices, and implementation strategies to increase the retention of employees who become ill or injured while in the workforce.
Contact the SEED Team
The SEED team is here to help. Reach out to ODEP or one of its SEED partners for more information, including policy assistance and options to consider in addressing state workforce development for people with disabilities:
- ODEP: Nadia Mossburg email@example.com
- BHCC: Gabriel Sepúlveda firstname.lastname@example.org
- CSG: Dina Klimkina email@example.com
- CSG West: Martha Castaneda firstname.lastname@example.org
- NCSL: Josh Cunningham email@example.com
- NGA: Rachael Stephens firstname.lastname@example.org
- USCM/WDC: Kathy Amoroso email@example.com
Micah Kyler firstname.lastname@example.org
- WGA: Lauren DeNinno email@example.com
- WIG: Maura LaGue firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional Resources to Develop a Sustainable Disability-Inclusive Workforce
Policy Briefs & Other Resources
- CSG's Work Matters website highlights details about the joint CSG and NCSL National Task Force on Workforce Development for People with Disabilities and houses an interactive map that links to bills and other relevant state mentions in the Work Matters report.
- Kentucky Work Matters Task Force Recommendations Report looks at issues and options specific to the state of Kentucky, but with potential for replication or adaptation by other states. CSG's Kentucky Work Matters Task Force Lessons Learned highlights best practices gleaned from the Task Force's process and results.
- CSG’s Future of the Workforce: Approaches to Increasing Access & Inclusion Report highlights preliminary findings of state strategies and policy options to increase access and inclusion for people with disabilities among three emerging topic areas: advances in automation and technology; the rise of the gig economy; and the changing nature of apprenticeship.
- NCSL's Disability Employment Database provides current information on legislative efforts in the states and territories targeting disability employment issues and related disability issues, as well as a webinar and a legislative brief highlighting what state policymakers need to know about disability employment.
- NCSL's report, "Workers' Compensation: Keeping Injured and Ill Workers in the Workforce," explores how states can utilize workers' compensation programs and benefits to keep workers who are injured on the job engaged in the workforce during and after their recovery.
- NCSL's report, "A Path to Employment for Veterans with Disabilities," details 12 policy options states can adopt to facilitate the transition into the civilian workforce.
- NGA's Issue Brief, "States Expand Employment and Training Opportunities for People with Disabilities Issue," outlines opportunities for governors to help people with disabilities overcome barriers to employment and successfully enter and remain in the workforce.
- WIG's "Companion Toolkit: State Strategies to Assist Employees with Mental Health and Substance Use Issues Stay At Work/Return To Work" provides policy examples, legislative strategies, as well as employer perspectives on ways to strengthen employment options for those with mental health and/or substance use disorders.
Webinars & Podcasts
- WIG Increasing Access & Opportunity - 30 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act
- WGA Reimagining Disability Employment Policy in the Rural West Webinar
- CSG Stay-At-Work/ Return-to-Work (SAW/RTW) Webinar
- WIG Unseen But Heard: State Solutions for Non-Visible Disabilities in the Workplace Podcast
- WIG Employability of People with Disabilities Podcast
- WIG Career Planning and Credentialing for People with Disabilities Podcast
- WIG Employer Perspectives for Improving Employment Outcomes for People with Disabilities Podcast
- NCSL "Our American States" Podcast: Ride Hailing Services: Wheelchairs and Seniors Waiting at the Curb
- Work Matters Online Dialogue Series
- Laying The Groundwork For States As Model Employers Online Dialogue, February 1–22, 2018
- Readying A Skilled Workforce Online Dialogue, March 6–16, 2018
- Harnessing Innovation to Advance Workforce Opportunities, April 10–May 4, 2018
- Retaining & Reemploying Ill, Injured & Displaced Workers Online Dialogue, June 18–September 30, 2018
- Supporting Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship Online Dialogue, October 1–November 9, 2018
Blog Posts & Articles
- CSG Policy Brief, "COVID-19 Federal Disability-Specific and Other Related Guidance"
- NCSL Blog, "Americans With Disabilities Act: Celebrating 30 Years"
- NCSL LegisBrief, "Crafting Inclusive Autonomous Vehicle Policies"
- CSG Blog, "COVID-19 and Impacts on Individuals with Disabilities"
- NCSL LegisBrief, "Addressing the Data Gap in Disability Employment"
- NCSL Blog, "Disability Employment Webpages Hit NCSL.org"
- NCSL Blog, "How Autonomous Vehicles Can Affect People With Disabilities"
- NCSL/CSG Blog, "SEED Initiative Recognized During National Disability Employment Awareness Month"
- NCSL State Legislatures Magazine, "Staying in the Game: With Record Low Unemployment, Lawmakers Want to Help Injured and Ill Workers Get Back on the Job Quickly"
- CSG's The Current State, "Looking to the Future of Disability Employment"
- CSG Blog, "State Medicaid Buy-In Programs for Workers with Disabilities"
- NCSL Blog, "New NCSL Report: A Path to Employment for Veterans With Disabilities"
- NCSL Blog, "States Weigh Options on Subminimum Wages for Workers With Disabilities"
- CSG Blog, "Oregon Workgroup Aims to Improve Employment Outcomes for People with Disabilities"
- NCSL Blog, "NCSL Meets With Federal Leaders on Employment for People With Disabilities"
- CSG Press Release, "CSG Launches Stay-At-Work/Return-to Work Toolkit"
- NCSL Blog, "Lawmakers, Staff Discuss Workforce Development for People with Disabilities"
- NCSL Blog, "States Celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month and Workforce Diversity"
- NGA Economic Opportunity (via Medium), "An Untapped Talent Pool: The Opportunity in Employing People with Disabilities"
- CSG's The Current State, "Hiring Workers with Disabilities Drives Innovation in the Workplace"
- NCSL LegisBrief, "Learning on the Job for People with Disabilities"
- NCSL Blog, "States Aim to Be ‘Model Employer' for Workers with Disabilities"
- NGA Press Release, "States Expand Opportunities for People with Disabilities"
- NCSL Blog, "Kentucky Says Work Matters, Moves to Expand Labor Participation"