Providing Benchmarks for Inclusive State-Level Policy

Work Matters Framework

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 240 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.


Disability-Inclusive Policymaking Checklist

To assist policymakers in developing and implementing disability-inclusive policies, the SEED team has developed a simplified checklist [PDF] that includes an overview of the guiding principles, themes and policy options detailed in the Work Matters framework.


Framework Topics

SEED’s Work Matters framework serves as the foundation of its state and local policy assistance, and expands upon the following themes and topic areas:

Laying the Groundwork: Policies that communicate state-level commitment to supporting workforce development, and employment access and opportunity for people with disabilities, including the concept of state as a model employer.

Preparing for Work: Policies related to providing education and vocational training opportunities for youth and young adults with disabilities, including work-based learning opportunities.

Getting to & Accessing Work Opportunities: Policies ensuring that spaces, services, and technologies facilitate equal access to work opportunities, particularly related to transportation, technology, and the built environment.

Staying at Work: Policies providing employers with tools to retain and advance workers when injury, illness, or a change in disability status occurs.

Supporting Self-Employment & Entrepreneurship: Policies supporting access and opportunity for new and existing business owners with disabilities.

In July 2020, NCSL released an update to Work Matters, highlighting key legislative enactments and executive orders, as well as success stories around recent disability-inclusive policy efforts and actions in the states.


Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work Toolkit

In Work Matters, stay-at-work/return-to-work (SAW/RTW) was identified 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.
View the Toolkit


State Engagement Snapshot 2019: 120 Work matters-aligned bills enacted across 39 states, 30,141,644 people with disabilities impacted